December 22, 2010: Luke 1:46-55 Devotion Sharing

Submitted by Pastor Timothy Rhee, Gracepoint Minneapolis

Luke 1:46-49

  • Given the practical implications for Mary of bearing a child out of wedlock, it’s surprising that she rejoices in praise.  What does this show about what Mary regarded as the greatest privilege?  What do I most aspire to?

This time I was struck by Mary’s other-centeredness. She doesn’t display one iota of looking at her situation through the lens of her own life. And this is not from a veteran, aged, godly woman who has lived her entire life with God. No this is amazingly from a teenage girl!

This was great news that God was sending His son into the world as a Savior to die for our sins.  But not necessarily for her. For her, it was going to be very disturbing and threatening.  Her life was going to get messy (to say the least) in a hurry. At worst, she could have been executed for adultery. The way that this was going to devastate her life seems to not be such a relevant factor for Mary as she is able to rejoice in what God is doing for all of mankind. And she is able to somehow see herself as blessed “Mighty One has done great things for me.”  She even says “From now on all generations will call me blessed.”  She displays a sense that she is the most privileged and most blessed person for her God given role, even though it would come at a great personal cost. Far greater than she could have realized at this moment.

For me , I do see what a privilege it is that I can used by God to carry his gospel.  But at the same time, I am so challenged by Mary’s level of complete other-centeredness.  Because for me, I am aware of what personal cost it will entail for me to obey God’s calling.  And I need to battle through those voices of self-preservation and self-interest. And during those times, it’s by remembering people like Mary from the Scriptures, as well as other believers today who are paying much higher cost than me (cf. 1 Peter 5:8-9) that gives me the proper context for my life and reminds me what a privilege it is give of myself for sake of God’s kingdom.

Scholars have observed that Mary’s praise song “echoes language from the Old Testament” (for examples see Ps. 138:6; Ps. 71:19; Ps. 111:9; Ex. 20:6;  Jer. 13:9; Ps. 107:9; 1 Sam. 2:1-10). [1]

Luke 1:46-55

  • What impact might Mary’s thorough familiarity with Scriptures have had in shaping her character? How can I apply this to my life?

It’s clear that Mary’s character had been thoroughly forged by Scriptures growing up. It’s not like she had reached this stage of spiritual maturity after many decades of walking with God. She was just a teenager yet somehow she has been able to reach this level of maturity, trust in the Lord, and deep familiarity with the Scriptures. It’s a testament to how much she must have steeped herself in Scriptures.  This is all the more remarkable given the fact that no one had a personal copy of the bible back then. So she must have listened attentively at the synagogue then treasured it in her heart throughout her everyday life, allowing God’s Word to soak into her heart during the course of her everyday life.

I can do lot better in this area. I need to think about Scriptures not just during DT or during message prep but also just throughout the course of everyday life.  As I go through the different events and interactions with people during the day, I can tie it back to that day’s DT or the text we covered in the past weekend’s messages/Bible study.

  • Consider the parallel between Mary, whom God used to bring Jesus into the world, and the mission of every Christian.  Do I share in Mary’s sense of joy over the privilege of bringing Jesus into people’s lives?

During this Christmas season, I see the parallel between Mary and what our church plant have been called to do in Minneapolis. Like Mary, our live trajectories have definitely been altered by God’s calling. Everyone one our team moved 2000 miles, switched jobs with couple of our members finally got jobs after months of looking, are coping with missing friends back home and are learning to adjust to life in Minnesota . And like Mary, we have been given the amazing privilege of bringing Jesus into people’s lives.  We see the great need for non-Christians who need to hear the gospel as well as for Christians who need to be raised up and discipled in their faith. Through it all, what has carried us through the homesickness and discouraging times is the huge sense of privilege that we feel in bringing Jesus into people’s lives. And that makes whatever adjustments in our lives that we had to make well worth it. What a privilege it is that we get to be used by God in this way!

[1] Darrell L. Bock, Luke, The NIV Application Commentary Series (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1996) 65.

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