What Mary Did Know…
A sermon based on Luke 1:46-55
Sunday, December 13, 2015
One of the things I love about the Christmas season is all the Christmas music. Even as our nation seems to be getting more secular and more politically correct, I love that I still hear songs about my Savior being played at Safeway, Walmart, and Fred Meyer.
How about you? Do you like the Christmas music? Do you have a favorite Christmas song? One where it just wouldn't be Christmas without hearing it? Many people like the song "Mary Did You Know?" It will be sung for us by a soloist in a minute. In that song the author speculated, "How much did Mary understand about what her Son would do?" Did she know he would walk on water? Did she know that he would heal the sick and raise the dead?"
I don't know all that Mary knew, I do know a few things that she knew for sure. I know because she tells us in another Christmas song.
And in Mary's song, sung before her cousin, Elizabeth, who was pregnant with John the Baptist, while Jesus was in her own womb, Mary sang of God's great grace to her and to everyone in sending a Savior from sin.
It's been called the Magnificat from the first word of the song when it's translated in Latin. She most likely sang it in Aramaic or Greek, which is how it's recorded for us. Here it is translated in English from Luke 1:46-55…
46 And Mary said: "My soul glorifies the Lord 47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 48 for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, 49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me—holy is his name. 50 His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. 51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. 52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. 53 He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. 54 He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful 55 to Abraham and his descendants forever, even as he said to our fathers."
I. Mary Knew She Needed A Savior
What did Mary know as she stood before her cousin? What did she know as Jesus—true God in fetus form—kicked insider her? Well, one thing I know for sure, is that Mary knew she needed a Savior. Her opening line of her song was "My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior."
She humbly recognized her need for forgiveness from God. She knew that those who were proud in their inmost thoughts—who thought they deserved God's love and favor because of all the "wonderful" things they'd done for God—well those were the ones God would scatter. She knew that those were haughty in their rule of others, always thinking themselves better, those were the ones God brought down. She knew that those who considered themselves rich in this life as if they needed nothing from God—well, those were the ones were sent away empty.
Mary knew this had to be the case because God is holy—"holy is his name." And Mary knew that a holy God could not stand to have sinners in his presence.
So Mary was humble. Recognizing her own sin, Mary was humble in genuine repentance before God. She was humble in recognizing her need for mercy from God, for help from him. What Mary knew was that she desperately needed a Savior if she were to stand before a holy God.
How about you? Are you as wise as Mary? Do you recognize that nothing you could ever do could ever earn God's favor—because even if you were perfect and selfless, always putting the needs of others above your own every single day of your life, you would still only be doing what God expects and demands of you?
Do you recognize that in your selfishness you have sinned against God and stand before him empty handed, spiritually poor, with nothing to offer him? Are you humble in genuine repentance over your sin, in recognizing your need for mercy? Be as wise as Mary and know how much you need a Savior.
II. Mary Knew She Had A Savior
But that's not all Mary knew. Mary knew she needed a Savior. But she also knew that she had a Savior—in the very Son that was inside her. "My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant."
Mary knew that God would lift up those who humbled themselves in repentance by giving them forgiveness—a forgiveness won by the coming Messiah, her own Son. Mary knew this because Mary knew that God always keeps his promises and so he would remember the promise he made to Abraham and to his descendants—the promise to send a Savior from sin. Mary knew God had kept his promise in sending her son whom the angel said should be named Jesus because he would save his people from their sins.
Mary knew that God had sent a Savior to Mary through Mary—that she was the mother of her Savior from sin. And Mary knew that her Son would be, not just her Savior, but the Savior of all people of all time, that, "[God's] mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation." Mary knew that Jesus would be our Savior.
So let's be as wise as Mary and humble ourselves in genuine repentance, recognizing our need for a Savior, but also in recognizing how God has sent a Savior to us in Jesus.
Jesus came to this earth, not to rule nations or give earthly peace and prosperity, but he became a fetus, then a baby, then a man to rescue us, to live a perfect life in our place, to die an innocent death, to endure the hell that we deserve on that cross for us, to rise from the dead to prove to us that we are forgiven.
Mary said that her soul rejoiced in God her Savior. Well, we too can echo her words and say,
"My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of [my] humble state… From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me… His mercy [still] extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation."
III. Mary Knew She Wanted to Glorify Her Savior
Mary knew she needed a Savior. Mary knew she had a Savior. And for that reason, Mary also knew that she wanted to praise him and thank him and serve him and obey him for all that he had done for her.
"My soul glorifies the Lord," she said. And she called herself, "his servant," because Mary knew that it wasn't about Mary. So her song wasn't really about her. It was about God and his grace. And she was eager to glorify him, to sing his praise, to tell everyone of her God's faithful love! She was eager to serve him, by carrying him, by birthing him, by feeding him, by raising him, by doing whatever she could to show her thanks to God, her Savior. That's what Mary knew.
So too, we who know our great need for a Savior, we who know that God has given us a Savior, we know that what we want most in life is to glorify the Lord and live to thank our Savior! We are eager to glorify him, to sing his praise, to tell everyone of our God's faithful love. And in a sense then, God sends a Savior to us, and also through us as we share the good news of what he has done.
Who do you know who needs to hear about their Savior? Who do you know who's struggling this Christmas season? Take them a copy of the video, "My Son, My Savior." They're free for you to take tonight. Invite them to join you at church on Christmas Eve. Share with them the hope that you have—that you know that you need a Savior, that you know that you have a Savior, that you know that they have one too. And together we will glorify the Lord! In his name, dear friends, amen.