series: The Narrative of Grace
title: a family narrative
teacher: Jacob Bender
date: November 22, 2015
scriptures: Luke 1:46-56, Matthew 1, Genesis 15:1-6, Genesis 18:1-8, Matthew 25, Hebrews 13:2, Galatians 3:28, Genesis 18:9-15, Deuteronomy 31:6, Revelation 3:20, Genesis 12, Genesis 20, Genesis 21:1, Genesis 21:6
Mary’s Song of Praise: The Magnificat
“46 And Mary said,
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49 for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
50 And his mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
52 he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
and exalted those of humble estate;
53 he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
55 as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”
56 And Mary remained with her about three months and returned to her home.”
We are in a series called “The Narrative of Grace” and the entire series is a look through the genealogy of Jesus Christ as recorded in the gospel of Matthew.
The reason that we started a message in a series based on Matthew 1, by looking at Luke 1, with Mary’s song, “The Magnificat,” is because it is an incredibly important, often overlooked part of the Christmas story. One of the first things that she says, essentially, and its so powerful, is that God is doing something, and it is going to bring injustice to its knees. I love how it says “He will fill those we are hungry with good things, but the rich he will send away empty.” This is not because it is bad to be wealthy… It is just like we talked about last week, Jesus has come for the ones who are hungry. They know that they need him and so he feeds them. It is the ones who think that they have everything figured out all on their own, because of what they have gained in their own lives, and in their own strength, that God is literally unable to work through. But Mary’s song is saying that no matter what you think you have or don’t have, God is going to level the playing field. If you hold what you have, you will lose it. Because He is God. and he hates injustice.
We will look at this song a little more in depth later in this series, but the part we are going to focus on today is the last part of the song.
what Mary was saying was this: The promise that was passed down from generation to generation is finally coming to pass.
and that promise was made to Abraham, for the first time in Genesis 12 and affirmed through the next several chapters in Genesis. That promise said that from Abraham’s seed, all of the families of the earth will be blessed. He promised a man with no children that he would be the Father of a great nation.
But Jesus’ genealogy in Matthew recorded 42 generations between that promise and Jesus birth. That is a lot of waiting. A lot of stories from Father’s being passed down to their sons for generation after generation. A lot of people thinking that the savior would come in their generation, only to watch their fathers who believed the same thing, pass away, and realize that their time was coming next.
It was 42 generations of disappointment.
It probably was beginning to feel more like a fairy tale than a reality.
But what Mary’s song says is essentially that grace is about to break through the broken genealogy, and the promise to Abraham will finally be fulfilled.
But at the beginning of the genealogy, God had another promise to fulfill.
Because Abraham could never be the Father of a great nation if he wasn’t a Father at all.