December 24, 2010

Mary Sings

Mary’s Song adorns the latter portion of Luke 1. We also learn of the divine kindred connection between Mary and Elizabeth in this chapter due to the fact that John will be the "Messenger of the Covenant" in Malachi 3:1. This first messenger will also prepare the way for God or in this context/case Jesus Christ and as suddenly as this messenger will come, the Lord they are seeking will come to His temple. He will be born of Mary.

Knowing this makes the identity of the One that will usher in the New Covenant and the One who will abrogate the Old Covenant obvious. It is Jesus Christ or the One who will prove He is God by purifying His people like a “refiners fire” and punishing sinners. He will fulfill the ceremonial law once and for all. He will up the ante on the moral laws as these laws were not abrogated but further elaborated upon and the true implications are brought to the surface by Christ in places like the Sermon on the Mount. "You have heard it said...but I say to you..."

But before any of this we have a loving human mother, Mary. She loves God and she loves her unborn child. What is it about the Magnificat, The Song of Mary or Mary's prayer that should draw our attention in this most sentimental of times? If you look real close you will realize something fascinating about Mary and her song. Someone had taken the time to teach her about the abundant prophecies of the Old Testament. Although this was not an uncommon occurance for a 1st century Jew, it was kind of odd for a 1st century Jewish female. This was most likely transfered to her via the aural/oral tradition from one educated in the synogogues. A male (most likely her father) had taught her to be knowledgable in the plan laid forth for her people. What is even more interesting is her knowledge was intrincate. Please observe Mary's prayer/song and note the Old Testament references. I guess I should preface right off the bat by saying the whole idea of singing a song over the pregnancy and birth of a long awaited child finds a comparison with Hannah's Song and some of the prayer even resembles Hannah's. The first seven verse of Mary's hymn are nearly identical to 1 Samuel 2:1-7. So let us see some of the other Old Testament parallels. I will note the direct corrolations but your knowledge of the Old Testament will allow you to make even more extensive connections to other passages.

Mary's Song

(46) And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord, (47) and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, Psalms 103:1
 (48) for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed,  1 Samuel 1:11; Psalms 25:18

(v46-48) Mary praises God for what He has done her, a woman of lowly birth. Although she is not lifted out of her human earthly condition, in a spiritual level she is, as Elizabeth is quite aware: Blessed among women...

(49) for the Mighty One has done great things for me-holy is his name. Psalms 22:3, 71:22, 89:18, 99:3, 103:1, etc
(50) His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. Psalms 103:17

(v49-50) Mary gives thanksgiving and praise. She contemplates not only the earthly things but also God's lovingkindness in the "generation to generation" comment.

(51) He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. Psalms 44:3, 98:1, Isaiah 53:1, Psalms 89:10, Job 12:19, 2 Samuel 22:28
(52) He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. 2 Samuel 22:18, Job 5:11
(53) He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. Psalms 103:5, 107:9

(v51-53) Mary mentions God's mercy in contrast to the severity towards those who do not revere Him.

(54) He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful Psalms 25:6, 98:3, 136 (2nd part of each verse) 147:2, 19
(55) to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.” Genesis 12:2,3; 17:7; 22:15-18, Exodus 2:24, 2 Samuel 22:51, Psalms 105:6-10, Micah 7:20

(v54-55) Mary exalts the mercy of God and the covenant promise God made to humanity through Abraham. A fact that is even of value to Christian believers today (Galations 3:9, 29)

A smart, biblically educated and godly woman that would be the human mother of Christ. Not surprising, not surprising at all.

Art: 1-eisbacher

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