WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday December 25, 2011
CELEBRATING PROMISES FULFILLED
(GOD’s promises are fulfilled in JESUS)
Luke 1:46-55 is a passage that, over the years, has become one of the great hymns of the Christian Church as a whole. This passage is known world-wide as the “Magnificat”. Magnificat is a term taken from the “Latin Vulgate”, the first Latin translation of the bible, written by Jerome at the end of the fourth century A.D., and it means, “My soul doth magnify the LORD”.
This song, composed by Mary, mother of JESUS, praises GOD’s favor on her and her people (Vs. 51-55). Some scholars tend to doubt that a young uneducated country girl, such as Mary, could have composed such a wonderful and prophetic poem, however, common sense dictates that she, or anyone else, who was in a close personal relationship with GOD, and were fairly familiar with the Old Testament passages which are alluded to in this song, is capable of expressing these thoughts of praise that we find here.
Apparently, Mary saw herself as a part of the GODly remnant that had served her LORD with all diligence. We see in verse 47, for instance, where she calls GOD, “my Savior”, shows she had a deep intimate knowledge of HIM. She also speaks of GOD’s faithfulness, power, holiness, and mercy in verses 48-50, showing that her relationship with GOD was an experiential one.
This timeless stretch of biblical literature, has, contained within it, four distinct parts which should be noted by every reader. First, there is “great personal adoration and thanks to GOD” (Vs. 46-48). In the biblical Greek, the word “makarizo” (mak-ar-id-zo) is used in verse 46 for “blessed”, and it actually means “supremely blest”, or, “beatified”. It describes, in this passage, what it is like to be “indwelt by GOD, and thereby, fully satisfied”. Mary was completely satisfied and honored by the wonderful, and unexpected way, in which GOD chose to use her body for HIS purpose.
Then secondly, there is “a celebration of GOD’s attributes” (Vs. 49-50). Mary celebrated GOD’s goodness and she cherished all that HE had done for her, and she also appreciated the fact that HIS mercy extended throughout all generations, for all times.
Thirdly, we see her “acclaim GOD for correcting pride, social injustice, and economic disparities” (Vs. 51-53). In these three verses we see “GOD’s three great moral revolutions”. These moral rebellions can also be found in the make-up of Christianity. We see, first of all, “GOD’s revolution against pride (v.51), where Mary notes that, “GOD scatters the proud and haughty ones” (NLT). When Christianity is practiced properly, it automatically means death to pride. A person cannot possibly set their life beside the life of CHRIST without, first, tearing every ounce of pride from him, or herself.
Next we see “GOD’s revolution against social injustice” (v.52) “HE has taken the princes from their thrones and exalted the lowly” (NLT). When Christianity is practiced properly, it means death to social injustice. It puts an end to race, labels, and prestige, because what CHRIST did for one, HE intended for all. No man is favored in the eyes of GOD, but also, we can call no man worthless, or common, for whom JESUS CHRIST has died. HE died for all men in general, and all Christians, in particular.
And then, there is “GOD’s revolution against economic disparity” (v.53) “HE has satisfied the hungry with good things and sent the rich away with empty hands” (NLT). When Christianity is practiced properly, it means death to economic disparity and greed. A Christian society is a community of believers who dares to have too much, while others don’t even have enough. The attitude of a believer in CHRIST JESUS, is one that desires to have more, in order that they may have more to give away.
In the fourth and final part (Vs. 54-55), we see “Mary giving GOD praise for the mercy shown to Israel”. There she cites that, “How GOD has helped HIS servant Israel! HE has not forgotten HIS promise to be merciful. HE promised our ancestors, Abraham and his children, to be merciful to them forever” (NLT).
Even at her young age we can clearly see that Mary knew for sure that her blessing and charge of giving birth to the SON of GOD was not all about her, but rather, it was about a covenant promise that was established with Abraham and her fore-fathers, long before she was ever thought about.
It was William Barclay who wrote, concerning this wonderful passage of scripture, that, “There is loveliness in the Magnificat, but within that loveliness, there is also, dynamite”. And he was right. And so Mary went on to birth our LORD and SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST, and JESUS CHRIST birthed Christianity into the world, and Christianity birthed a revolution in mankind against pride, social injustice, and economic disparity, and mankind must now take up that fight, and continue that revolution throughout the world.
A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander
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