Pastor Jonathan Falwell
Luke 1:49 (NKJV)
For He who is mighty has done great things for me, And holy is His name.
For the past few weeks, we have been looking at Luke 1. We started with a discussion of the Angel’s appearing to Zacharias about the gift of a son, John the Baptist. Last week, we talked about another appearing. This one from the Angel Gabriel to Mary about the gift of THE SON, JESUS. Over these couple of weeks, we’ve seen the promise of God in the gift of Christmas. Today, I’d like to talk about a response to that gift.
Luke 1:46 (NLT)
Mary responded, “Oh, how my soul praises the Lord. 47 How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior! 48 For he took notice of his lowly servant girl, and from now on all generations will call me blessed. 49 For the Mighty One is holy, and he has done great things for me. 50 He shows mercy from generation to generation to all who fear him. 51 His mighty arm has done tremendous things! He has scattered the proud and haughty ones. 52 He has brought down princes from their thrones and exalted the humble. 53 He has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away with empty hands. 54 He has helped his servant Israel and remembered to be merciful. 55 For he made this promise to our ancestors, to Abraham and his children forever.”
In order to “empty ourselves of ourselves,” – – to put ourselves on the shelf – – it requires worship. Mary responded to all the angel had told her and all that Elizabeth said to her through worship and praise. The kind of worship that had nothing to do with a show, nothing to do with a church service, nothing to do with performance, but had everything to do with the condition of the heart.
1. Worship comes from within
v46 Mary responded, “Oh, how my soul praises the Lord. 47 How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!”
– Many look at worship as what we are led to when a church service begins, Mary saw worship as a response to what welled up inside her, from her very soul.
– This is a lesson for all of us. She took time to reflect on what the Angel had told her, what God was doing for her, and it changed her from within.
2. A life of worship results in a response from God
v48 For he took notice of his lowly servant girl, and from now on all generations will call me blessed. 49 For the Mighty One is holy, and he has done great things for me.
– The key word in this passage is “LOWLY”
– Her humility and love of Him caused Him to bypass all others in His choice
– Proverbs 16:18 Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall.
3. This response is needed in our daily struggle
v50 He shows mercy from generation to generation to all who fear him. 51 His mighty arm has done tremendous things! He has scattered the proud and haughty ones.
– Mary recognized His mighty power and knew that it was necessary for life
– This is true of our journey as well..His mercy overcomes anything we might face
4. This response is all that is needed
v52 He has brought down princes from their thrones and exalted the humble. 53 He has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away with empty hands. 54 He has helped his servant Israel and remembered to be merciful.
– Many fear retribution or criticism from the world, Mary understood that everyone is subject to His power
– She recognized that those who truly love and worship Him will be taken care of, those who depend only on themselves and their own abilities will come to ruin
– God’s response to our worship, to our love for Him, is not only promised, not only needed, it’s a promise
5. This response is permanent
v55 “For he made this promise to our ancestors, to Abraham and his children forever.”
– Mary recalled her study of Old Testament promises of God and His faithfulness to all that had come since, and all that will ever live. His promises are forever.
– She was about to return home, three months into a pregnancy as a single young girl
– She worshipped God because she knew she needed His promise, protection and provision for the days ahead
– Her worship was in advance of what she knew God would do, not simply in thankfulness for what He had already done.
“My soul doth magnify the Lord.” Here is an occupation for all of us who know the Lord, and have been born into His family. It is an occupation which may be followed by all sorts of people. This humble woman speaks of her low estate, and yet she could magnify the Lord. All believers, of every rank and condition, can attend to this work. This is an occupation which can be followed in all places. You need not go up to the meeting-house to magnify the Lord, you can do it at home. You may be tossed about upon the sea in a storm, but you may trust His name, and be calm, and so magnify Him. Or, you may be no traveller, and never go a hundred yards out of the village in which you were born, but you may magnify the Lord just as well for all that. This is not an occupation which requires a crowded congregation, it can be fitly performed in solitude. I suppose this sonnet of the Virgin was sung with only one to hear it, her cousin Elisabeth. There is quorum for God’s praise even where there is only one; but, where there are two that agree to praise God, then is the praise exceeding sweet.
(C. H. Spurgeon.)