Summary: The birth of Jesus brought a transition in religion.
December 21, 2008
Text: Luke 1:46-55
Subject: Mary’s Song
Title: The Changing of the Guard
I want to wish everyone a blessed Christmas. I hope you have family time planned and that you enjoy every minute of it. How many of you stop at this time of the year and reflect on the real meaning of Christmas? I know that family is important. I know that this church family is important to all of us. But we know that the real meaning of Christmas goes beyond family. If I asked you what the real meaning of Christmas was I suppose every one of you would say it is about the birth of Jesus. Some of you would take it thirty-three years into the future and add the cross and resurrection to it.
I want to tell you what Christmas is to me. It is a time of change or transition. It is a time to look back and see where I have come from and to make necessary changes for something better. It is a time to begin looking at things a little differently – to open my spiritual eyes to something fresh and new that will take me through to another revelation.
It is a time of transition.
I want to look at Luke 1:46-55 and I want to see how there was a transition that was beginning to take place as Mary sang this song to the Lord.
As we prepare to celebrate His birth would you listen to the Words of Mary recorded by Luke?
CONFLICTNG FORCES AT WORK. 46And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord 47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior… I want to concentrate on two words – soul and spirit. Mary said, My soul glorifies the Lord… The word “soul” is the Greek “psuche”. Everybody say “Psuche”. This is the very being of a person – the non-physical man. It can also mean breath referring to the breath of life that is in all living creatures. – a puff of air – it is self!. It is talking about you intellect and your emotions – everything that is deep inside of you that determines who you are. So Mary says, “My psuche (mind and emotions, self) glorifies the Lord. Is there anything wrong with that? NO! As a matter of fact that is the way it should be. Now, let’s expand on that thought a little further. For fourteen hundred years the nation of Israel had been worshipping the Great I AM under the conditions set forth by the Law of Moses. At no time during those hundreds of years did God ever intend for the Law to become what it had become for Israel – something to be followed by the psuche or mind of man. The Law was always intended to be something spiritual. Paul wrote in Romans, “14We know that the law is spiritual…” However, during that fourteen hundred year period Israel had missed the whole point of the Law. Instead of seeing the Law as a document that would point them to their need for a Savior (which would be spiritual in nature), they saw it as a list of rules and regulations by which they could, in their psuche, or in their own understanding, earn God’s approval. Now, I’m glad that Mary was a Christian. She followed Jesus. She was there when He was crucified. She went to His grave. She saw the resurrected Jesus. She was in the upper room on the day of Pentecost and was baptized in the Holy Spirit. Her life (psuche) glorified God. That’s the way it should be. Now look at verse 47, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior… Let’s focus on the word “spirit”. The Greek word here is “pneuma”. Everybody say “pneuma”. It is where we get the English word “Pneumatic” referring to something that is operated by air pressure. In various passages the word pneuma is translated as spirit, Holy Spirit, breath, or wind. Its literal meaning is, “a blast of air” as opposed to “a puff of air” or psuche. For the Spirit Filled Christian psuche is derived from self and pneuma is from God. So when Mary says, “My soul glorifies the Lord… who is the source? Mary! It’s not wrong. When we worship our emotions and intellect should be involved. But when Mary says, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior… Who is the source now? It is God speaking to Mary in her spirit. How did that happen? Mary had already experienced the person of the Holy Spirit in her life. Back in verse 35, 35The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. The word translated “overshadow” means to have supernatural influence upon…” When Mary said, “My soul glorifies the Lord… That is something good, but when she said, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior…That is better because it is spiritual. Jesus would say early in His ministry, a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.” Now I want to go back to the idea that there are two opposing forces at work. Look at the two words – psuche – man induced and pnuema – God induced. The Jews at the time of Jesus birth were practicing a psuche religion. They believed in God but they were trying to please God and accomplish His will for their lives through their own efforts. Not all of them, but the large majority of Jews fit into that category. Now Jesus comes along and changes everything. There is a transition of power taking place – a changing of the guard. Now the pneuma – man is intended to be the primary force in the lives of believers. End of the story right? Wrong! The battle between psuche and pneuma continues. Let’s look at the rest of Mary’s song.