“A MESSAGE LIKE NO OTHER” Luke 1:46-56
INTRO – Last Sunday, we focused on the announcement like no other that came to Mary through the angel Gabriel. What an astounding announcement, capped off by the truth that “nothing is impossible w/ God!” I hope that truth is still ringing in your hearts & affecting everything in your life.
Listen to this song as we continue to focus on Mary’s response to all that’s happening in her young life. The words are in your worship communicator – “Almost There.”
Today, we are focusing on “A message like no other” – the message of “The Magnificat” – Most people know this song of praise from Mary in these verses as “The Magnificat.” That’s a Latin word derived from the first words of the song – “My soul glorifies” or as other translations say, “My soul magnifies.” That’s an awesome Greek word that means, “to make large, expand; to make or declare great; to hold in high esteem, to exalt.” Mary sets a great example for us to follow in this beautiful hymn of praise as she magnifies God & God alone. To go back to the Greek definitions of what the word “magnifies” means, she certainly can’t literally make him larger or expand Him more b/c He’s already so huge & expansive as the God of all the universe. But she can certainly make His presence & His praise larger in her life w/ her words & her actions. She can & does declare Him to be the great God that He truly is. Long before Chris Tomlin was ever born, Mary was singing, “How Great is Our God” as she exalted Him for all He is & all He is doing & going to do. John Piper said, “The only people whose soul can truly magnify the Lord are people like Elizabeth and Mary—people who acknowledge their lowly estate and are overwhelmed by the condescension of the magnificent God [or overwhelmed by God’s voluntarily putting aside His superiority & coming to us in the Christ-child].” (http://www.desiringgod.org/messages/meditation-on-the-magnificat)
Mary was simply blown away by God – PERIOD! She was blown away by what He had done in Elizabeth’s life (v. 39-45); she was blown away by what He was doing in her life; & she was blown away by what He was going to do in the day, months, years, & centuries to come. Her entire life – every corner of it – had been impacted in a life-changing, life-altering way by the Most High God. The magnificence of God took over her thoughts, which led to these wonderful words of adoration spilling out of her mouth.
That’s what happens when you are blown away by your God! You just have to praise Him! The bigger your God gets, then the bigger your praise gets! Our BIG God deserves BIG praise from His people! Let’s do that right now. Everybody turn in your Bibles to the book of Psalms. When you find a verse that is a verse of praise to God, stand up & read it out loud.
COME ON, CHURCH! PRAISE YOUR AWESOME GOD!
As Mary points to God in The Magnificat, we can magnify God w/ her b/c He is:
The Mindful God – v. 46-48a – One big reason to rejoice in our God is b/c we are on His mind. He’s thinking about us & paying special attention to us, especially when we have a humble heart.
What was it about Mary that caused God to be mindful of her? It was the “humble state of His servant.” It was her humility. Inside this teenage girl was a heart of humility. She realized that, out of all the women in the world whom God could have chosen for this job, He chose HER! She knew that she didn’t deserve it, hadn’t earned it, wasn’t worthy of it.
- He could have chosen a queen w/ a royal pedigree.
- He could have chosen a wealthy aristocratic woman w/ a huge bank account.
- He could have chosen a more mature woman w/ years of experience as a mother.
But, He chose her & used her, just like He will always choose & use those whose hearts are humble. God will always respond & pay close attention to one whose heart is filled w/ humility. James 4:6 – “He gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: ‘God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’” Prov. 3:34 – “The Lord mocks the mockers, but gives grace to the humble.”
If you want God to pay special attention to you, then you need to make sure that you are living a life of humility. “So, Jon, what does that mean, & how do I do that?”
To live in humility means to have a heart that completely acknowledges our total spiritual bankruptcy apart from Christ. It means that we come to Christ totally empty & devoid of anything of any worth, unable to offer Him anything except for our sin & our desperate need for salvation from Him alone. We die to ourselves & live for Him alone. As Paul said in Gal. 2:20, the life we now live, we live by faith in Him alone who loved us & gave Himself for us.
And then, after Jesus has saved us, we continue to cultivate a humble spirit by continually resisting the sin that is at the root of every other sin – the sin of pride. Having a humble spirit doesn’t mean that we tear ourselves down & resist the gifts & abilities that God has given to us. It means that we refuse to look down on others, or compare ourselves to others b/c we can always find some who is less gifted that we are. Instead, we should compare ourselves to God, which will always lead to humility.
The Mighty God – v. 48b-49, 51-52 – Only a mighty God could do this thing that has happened. Correction: Only THE Mighty God could do this thing that has happened! Mary said it so perfectly: “…the mighty One has done great things for us; holy is His name!” We’re not talking about some god that somebody made up or conjured up in their mind. We’re not talking about Zeus or Hercules or some other manmade deity. We are talking about THE MIGHTY GOD, El Shaddai – God Almighty! We are talking about:
- Jehovah Jireh – The Lord our Provider
- Jehovah Mekoddishkem – The Lord who Sanctifies You
- Jehovah Nissi – the Lord our Banner
- Jehovah Rapha – The Lord our Healer
- Jehovah Rohi – The Lord our Shepherd
- Jehovah Sabaoth – The Lord of Hosts
- Jehovah Shalom – The Lord our Peace
- Jehovah Shammah – The Lord who is There
- Jehovah Tsidkenu – The Lord our Righteousness
- “There is no God like Jehovah!”
- He’s the Alpha & the Omega
- He’s Immanuel
- He’s the King of glory, the LORD, strong & mighty, the LORD, mighty in battle (Ps. 24:8)
- He’s the Mighty God – invincible, incredible, immovable, immutable
- He’s the Mighty God – absolutely pure, absolutely holy, absolutely loving, absolutely just, absolutely right, absolutely merciful, absolutely absolute!
The Merciful God – v. 50, 53 – A mother once approached Napoleon seeking a pardon for her son. The emperor replied that the young man had committed a certain offense twice and justice demanded death. “But I don’t ask for justice,” the mother explained. “I plead for mercy.” “But your son does not deserve mercy,” Napoleon replied. “Sir,” the woman cried, “it would not be mercy if he deserved it, and mercy is all I ask for.”
“Well, then,” the emperor said, “I will have mercy.” And he spared the woman’s son.
What a beautiful truth to conclude this sermon! This God who is mindful of us, who pays special attention to us, His children; this God, who is a mighty, mighty God; this God is also full of mercy, & extends it to those in every generation who fear Him, to those who are in awe of Him, who worship Him in deep reverence. His mercy is one of His most essential qualities. It is that quality that causes Him to continue to love us & keep all of His promises to us in spite of our continual waywardness & our complete unworthiness.
And young Mary was carrying within her womb the complete embodiment of God’s mercy, the perfect display of God’s mercy toward us, the unbelievable gift of God’s mercy given to those who place their faith in Him. Eph. 2:4-5 – “But b/c of His great love for us, God, who is RICH in mercy [He has an abundance of it; He is wealthy in the area of mercy], made us alive with Christ, EVEN when we were dead in our transgressions…”