Sunday Service 5-24-20 - Luke 1:39-56 - me, He, we
Luke 1 Sermon E – Me, He, We 39 In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, 40 and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. 41 And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, 42 and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.” From this episode, we see already/not yet in action – one prophecy has already begun its fulfillment (V41), and another awaits the near future (45) The simple fellowship and dialogue followed by doxology/worship increases the amplitude of the whole introduction and everything that has already happened, making it all grow in significance, also allowing the reader to understand more fully the grandness of it all. V39-40: (belief/obedience/community): Mary gets community – something women naturally do better than men usually – (my wife) – Let me call this person, let me run to speak with this person because this thing has happened – I must talk about it, I must share this with _____. God uses people as instruments to encourage others. Luke/Acts does this often – God’s acts in someone else is used to encourage others in His community. The generation gap here would be substantial and insignificant. V41: the baby leaped: as in earlier Biblical narrative, the actions of the babies in the womb are used to foretell their destinies (Rebecca’s infants jostling in the womb, wrestling, Jacob/Esau). John will be the epitome of greatness before God precisely because he recognizes and proclaims the greatness of God, the greatness of Christ, and does not exalt himself but exalts Christ. John filled with the Holy Spirit from birth – “The baby within my womb leaped for joy.” The fact that, in a manner mysterious beyond all explanation, the Holy Spirit can be actively present in the heart and life of a babe in the womb cannot be questioned. Cf. Luke 1:15. Elizabeth filled with the Holy Spirit – knowledge, humility, gratitude, love. V42-45: Mary’s song is because of what Elizabeth says to her here – this makes it click for her more than before. Before, she was reverent/obedient and a little lost/naïve. Elizabeth has great, nuanced theology – this is one of her gifts/strengths as an older, mature Christian woman, the wife of a priest, but it’s also because she’s filled with the Holy Spirit in saying these things – notice the Trinitarian language – “the mother of my Lord (V43)” and “what was spoken to her from the Lord (V45)” – which is it, did the Lord speak to her, is this the Lord’s plan and doing (ie is the Lord referring to God) or is “the Lord” the baby in her womb? Yes. Mary is the most blessed of all women because of Jesus. Elizabeth displays humility, a foil to Zechariah and in connection to Mary’s humility, foreshadowing the humility of her own son, John in deference to Mary/Christ/God. This is in contrast to Satan and to the fall of man when man tried to rise up to God’s level. But, make sure we know that this is all passive – blessed is a passive verb, not an active verb. The message is that God is the blessor and Mary the blessee. Mary says this – all generations will call me blessed, not will call upon my blessing. They are to call not upon Mary, but upon the God who blessed Mary, the Lord she carries. Note also, the qualification of Mary’s blessedness – “among women”. Note the unqualified nature of the blessedness of her child. ________________________________________________ The Magnificat: “Magnify” – steeped in OT style, themes. Hannah’s song in 1 Samuel, Psalms, even Proverbs, Hebrew poetic structure and parallelisms. Charles Spurgeon on John Bunyan “Pilgrim’s Progress” – “Prick him anywhere; and you will find that his blood is Bibline, the very essence of the Bible flows from him. He cannot speak without quoting a text, for his soul is full of the Word of God.” How did Mary’s blook run Bibline? She was poor and had no Bible text in her home – she was part of a Godly heritage, she went to synagogue and treasured what she heard. Structure: From me: “My soul” “My spirit”, “his servant” “me blessed” (true religion is personal, intimate relationship with God) To He: He has looked, he has done, his name, his mercy, he has shown strength, he has brouth down, he has exalted, he has filled, he has sent away, he has helped, To we: “for those who fear him from generation to generation”, “those of humble estate”, “the hungry”, “His servant Israel”, “our fathers”, “Abraham’s offspring forever”. (true religion is also a family matter, As a rule, God’s covenant is perpetuated from generation to generation) Prayer can/should often be a growing circle from me to he to we, perhaps back to me. Life experience (wisdom) can be this way as well: Mary … Mary and Elizabeth … Mary, Elizabeth, John, Jesus, Holy Spirit … Corporate and Personal worship … prolonged fellowship … Return. Personal testimony (salvation, reversal of circumstances, blessing of God). (46-49) General testimony/predication/witness/application to all: God’s faithfulness to one encourages all. (50) Supporting evidence: God’s acts of the past prove Him, His character. (51-54) (The headlines focus on secondary causes – the Magnificat focuses us on the primary cause.) Bring it forward: Link with the past – Promise - Fulfillment. (54-55) Things said about the Christ are said about God: called the Lord, my Savior, holy. Lukan/Christological/Soteriological/Ecclesiological/Eschatological Themes: Exalting the humble, Humbling the exalted. The downward movement – to the earth/cross/grave – scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts, brought down the mighty from their thrones, the rich he has sent away empty. The upward movement – the resurrection/ascension – exalted those of humble estate, filled the hungry with good things, helped his servant Israel. 46 And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, 47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 48 for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; 49 for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. 50 And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. 51 He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; 52 he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; 53 he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. 54 He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, 55 as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever.” Note the connection between Mary’s opening of her prayer and the Westminster Shorter Catechism’s first question: What is the chief end of man – Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever. “Magnificat” to magnify, exalt, glorify, make much of, make larger. 56 And Mary remained with her about three months and returned to her home. The unspoken value of fellowship. To strengthen, to help us to do what we need to do. From He, to we, to me.