Sermon: Mary’s Song of Redemption (Luke 1:46-56)

Mary’s Song of Redemption

Luke 1:46-56 (ESV)

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 empty away.

[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.”

[56] And Mary remained with her about three months and returned to her home.

Introduction

There are really two main themes running through this short text of Scripture.

The first theme is God’s great reversal.  This is the truth that God changes our worldview.  In other words, things are not always the way we think they should be when God is involved.  For example, God looks on the humble…God scatters the proud…God brings down the mighty…He fills the hungry and sends the rich away empty.  Those are important points to consider as we begin looking to this text.

The second important theme is God fulfills prophecy.  His promises that were made way back in the early days of biblical history are coming to pass in the life of Mary and will be fulfilled in Christ.  We should understand that most all of Old Testament prophecy has been fulfilled in Jesus Christ.

These two main ideas are what we should take away this morning.  When God is involved things are not always what they seem and He can be trusted to deliver what He says He will deliver.

Mary sings…

1. Grace and Mercy Abound to Generations (Luke 1:46-50)

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.

Mary begins a very good pattern of explaining that salvation comes to all of God’s people.  She begins by magnifying the grace and mercy of God that she has experienced herself.  She calls God her Savior. Her praise to God comes chiefly because in her lowly humble state God has taken notice of her.  In other words, she was no doubt used to being overlooked.  The proud and wealthy were the ones noticed not the meek and lowly.  But for God, He notices the state of the heart not the outside of a person.

1 Samuel 16:7 (ESV)

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

Mary is blown away by the fact that of all the women in the world God could have chosen to be the mother of Jesus she was selected.

Another thing that became very clear to me as I worked this week on the sermon was that everything recorded in this song of Mary is Scripture.  In other words, Mary’s song is a long string of Old Testament Bible verses.  When she became overwhelmed with praise for God she produced what was in her heart…the Bible.  Mary knew her Bible.

I was challenged by this thought.  How well do I know my Bible?  How well do you know your Bible?  No doubt Mary was trained and brought up from a baby hear God’s Word expounded in the synagogues and hearing it from her parents.  She was probably a lot like Timothy.

2 Tim. 3:15 (ESV)

and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

Mary had put many texts of Scripture to memory because when the time came to say something and she was overwhelmed with praise, she praised God with the words of the Bible.

We learn something of God’s character here.

[49] for he who is mighty has done great things for me,

Mary already sings of her lowly state and now she sings of God’s might and power.  One who is mighty and powerful usually makes a practice of stepping on the weak and powerless.  Not our God.  He sees and takes notice of the weak and cares for them.

Isaiah 66:2 (ESV)

All these things my hand has made,

and so all these things came to be,

declares the Lord.

But this is the one to whom I will look:

he who is humble and contrite in spirit

and trembles at my word.

This verse in Isaiah is a good description of Mary.

Like God, she cares about others.  Here joy is for herself, but it’s not a selfish joy.  She realizes that this blessing she has been given, namely, to bear the Savior of the world, would be blessing to others as well.  Generations to come would share in her blessing.

[50] And his mercy is for those who fear him

from generation to generation.

Jesus Christ is for the generations and He’s for us today.  Our generation is reaping the blessing Mary spoke of.  We too are recipients of mercy through the Gospel of Christ.

Has God noticed you?  Has He taken notice of you?  Are you one who is humble and contrite and trembles at His Word?  These are the people God looks upon with mercy.  Have you praised Him today for the great things He has done for you?

One thing we must remember is that the blessings we enjoy are not to be hoarded but are meant to be shared.  The salvation we have must not stop with us, but is meant to continue to the next generation.  The next generation will be blessed as we live in fear of God and as we proclaim the Gospel to others.

There is a connection between Mary and us because we are one of the generations she sang about.

2.  The Great Reversal in Christ (Luke 1:51-53)

[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 empty away.

Salvation through Jesus Christ is the great reversal.  Sinners who deserve eternal punishment receive eternal blessing through the work of Christ.  Jesus, the righteous is punished for the sin of the guilty and the guilty are ushered into God’s kingdom.

To show this great reversal, Mary begins by explaining it on different levels.

God in His great strength scatters the proud…brings down the mighty…sends the rich away empty.  At the same time, He exalts the humble…and fills the hungry.

Mary declares that this will happen through the Messiah.  Later, Paul would declare that it has happened in the lives of the called of God.  It is still happening today.

1 Cor. 1:26-29 (ESV)

For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.  [27] But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong;  [28] God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are,  [29] so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.

Jesus would declare this same truth during His ministry.

Matthew 5:1-12 (ESV)

Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.

[2] And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:

[3] “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

[4] “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

[5] “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

[6] “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

[7] “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

[8] “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

[9] “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

[10] “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

[11] “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.  [12] Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

As God’s people, we must seek after the riches He has for us.  We must hunger for righteousness.  We must show mercy.

God is about reversing the effects of the curse.  He’s about taking the pagan worldview and turning it upside down.

God is also about keeping His promises…

3. God’s Promises are Kept in Christ (Luke 1:54-55)

[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.”

What Mary is basically getting at is that in the past God has come to the help of Israel in remembrance of His mercy.  He does so again through the coming Messiah.

The covenant God made with Abraham is:

Genesis 12:3 (ESV)

I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

Genesis 22:18 (ESV)

and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.”

This blessing that God promised through Abraham has now been realized in Jesus Christ.  Mary states this fact.  Mary’s Biblical theology is accurate as she interprets what is happening to her as the fulfillment of the Abrahamic covenant.

God’s promise…I will be your God and you will be My people continued down through the centuries from Genesis to the birth of Jesus and is continuing today.  We are recipients of the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham.  We are the generations to come and we are included in the all the nations of the earth will be blessed.

Mary’s declaration connects to us.  We’ll see in the coming weeks that Mary’s Song for the Nations is a song of prophecy and her song is an echo of the song God our Savior has been singing throughout history.

The song is the same, but the singers change…

***Lord’s Supper…

Ask the elders to come forward and pray…

David knew the song very well and when his heart was overwhelmed with praise, notice what he said, or should we say, what he sang:

Psalm 103:1-22 (ESV)

Of David.

Bless the Lord, O my soul,

and all that is within me,

bless his holy name!

[2] Bless the Lord, O my soul,

and forget not all his benefits,

[3] who forgives all your iniquity,

who heals all your diseases,

[4] who redeems your life from the pit,

who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,

[5] who satisfies you with good

so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

[6] The Lord works righteousness

and justice for all who are oppressed.

[7] He made known his ways to Moses,

his acts to the people of Israel.

[8] The Lord is merciful and gracious,

slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.

[9] He will not always chide,

nor will he keep his anger forever.

[10] He does not deal with us according to our sins,

nor repay us according to our iniquities.

[11] For as high as the heavens are above the earth,

so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;

[12] as far as the east is from the west,

so far does he remove our transgressions from us.

[13] As a father shows compassion to his children,

so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.

[14] For he knows our frame;

he remembers that we are dust.

[15] As for man, his days are like grass;

he flourishes like a flower of the field;

[16] for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,

and its place knows it no more.

[17] But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who    fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children,

[18] to those who keep his covenant

and remember to do his commandments.

[19] The Lord has established his throne in the heavens,

and his kingdom rules over all.

[20] Bless the Lord, O you his angels,

you mighty ones who do his word,

obeying the voice of his word!

[21] Bless the Lord, all his hosts,

his ministers, who do his will!

[22] Bless the Lord, all his works,

in all places of his dominion.

Bless the Lord, O my soul!

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