Reader: “Oh, how my soul praises the Lord.”
Response: “How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!”
Scripture: Luke 1:46b-55
Mary responded, [following her visit with Elizabeth]
“Oh, how my soul praises the Lord.
How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!
For he took notice of his lowly servant girl,
and from now on all generations will call me blessed.
For the Mighty One is holy,
and he has done great things for me.
He shows mercy from generation to generation
to all who fear him.
His mighty arm has done tremendous things!
He has scattered the proud and haughty ones.
He has brought down princes from their thrones
and exalted the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
and sent the rich away with empty hands.
He has helped his servant Israel
and remembered to be merciful.
For he made this promise to our ancestors,
to Abraham and his children forever.”
Reader: “The glorious word of the Lord.”
Response: “Thanks be to God.”
And here we have what is known as the Magnificat, meaning “magnified,” named such for the first word of the Latin text in the Vulgate, as translated by Jerome in the early fifth century. Mary is a most significant person in Scripture and one who has at the same time been controversial as to her position and role in Christendom. In Roman Catholicism she is seen as sinless, the Eastern Orthodox has a slightly different perspective, whereas Protestant theology has yet a different viewpoint. A discussion of the differences is beyond the scope and purpose of these devotionals.
What I would like to do is for us to note Mary’s involvement in Jesus’ life her entire life and then look at her role in relation to Eve at creation. We saw how Mary, as a young girl, humbly accepted her role to be the bearer of God’s Son. She followed the Jewish law in his circumcision and the redemption of the first born on the fortieth day. She bore at least six other children. She was most concerned when he was lost at the Temple at the age of twelve, but didn’t understand his response. She was present for his first miracle at the wedding in Cana. Later she went with her other sons to “bring Jesus home” fearing maybe he had “lost it.” He assured that those who were his disciples were his “real family.” I’m guessing she was wondering what that meant. When he was crucified, she was among those that were present at the cross, as Jesus commended John to take care of her. Following his death and resurrection, she was apparently among the believing community and was named as being part of the praying community at Pentecost.
The first line of her song proved true “How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!” There is a second theological aspect of Mary I would like to touch on. We have read in the Scriptures that Jesus was the second Adam (I Cor. 15:45-48). Paul writes the first Adam became a life-giving being, the second Adam a life-giving spirit. With the first Adam’s fall, sin entered, and his spirit died. The second Adam resisted the devil, remained sinless, and conquered death making possible the renewing of the spirit in man. Likewise, the first Eve was created perfect but fell in sin which led to an entire fallen human race. In effect, she was the mother of death for the human race. Mary, the second Eve, though a sinner from birth, bore the Son of God, the Savior of the world, who brought life to the fallen human race. Thus in a sense, since Jesus was the second Adam, Mary could be viewed as the second Eve, a most significant role in the master plan of God’s redemption and recreation.
Music: “Magnificat” JS Bach GLORIOUS!!! At the end of every piece Bach wrote S.D.G. Soli Deo Gloria, “to God alone be glory.”
My soul magnifies the Lord,
And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
For he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden:
for behold, henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
You can watch and listen to the entire piece about 35 minutes long at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YHf3CtEi8E
Lord of all creation, we have erred and gone our own way from the beginning. We were born in sin and it didn’t take us long to confirm that truth! Our lives have been a long battle to humble ourselves and walk in your path. Discipline continues to be a challenge for us. We are continually guided by what we think, what we want, and how we feel rather than how you think, what you want, and how you feel. We live all too often by our fallen dead spirit rather than by your transforming Holy Spirit. We have doubted your word like our human mother Eve rather than believe you. Give to us grace and strength to walk in obedience as did your earthly mother, Mary. This we pray through Jesus Christ who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen. ―Daniel Sharp