by Amy Flattery
While visiting New Life Church in Springfield, Pastor Ryan Goeden brought up some very good points from Luke 1:46-56. They reminded me of many of the teachings we cover while touring in Israel.
These verses in Luke are prior to the birth of Jesus, and are attributed to Mary, and known to us today as the Magnificat.
My soul exalts the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For he has had regard for the humble state of his bondslave; for behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed. For the Mighty One has done great things for me; and holy is his name. And his mercy is upon generation after generation toward those who fear him. He has done mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their heart. He has brought down rulers from their thrones, and has exalted those who were humble. He has filled the hungry with good things and sent away the rich empty handed. He has given help to Israel his servant, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and his offspring forever.
I want to focus on a few of these verses:
"He has scattered those who were proud"
"He brought down rulers from their thrones (he removed their power)"
"He sent away the rich empty handed."
Throughout the Bible it is apparent that destruction occurs by means of 1) power, 2) pride, and 3) money. These are the downfall of man.
Interestingly, after some reflection, we find that these were the very reasons for the death of Jesus.
During the time surrounding the death of Jesus, we know that he was a direct threat to the power of the chief priests and their scribes. Through Jesus’ words and actions, he threatened their power, their pride, and their wealth. He spoke against their wrongdoing – and the people were listening. These are the reasons they wanted to be rid of Jesus. They did it at night, in secret, to hide it from the people who loved and followed Jesus.
Acts 5:28 later attests to this, saying:
We (the chief priests) strictly charged you not to teach in this name (Jesus), yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.
The very things Jesus spoke against, were the very things that ended his life.
However, we know the story does not end there!
Through the example of Jesus' life, we now know how to become what God wants us to be.
Through his birth and life among us, we learned the importance of how we are to treat one another – because we are all made in the image of God.
We learned the value of the human being to God – that He would allow His son to suffer on our behalf so that we may have eternal life.
He has done mighty things with His arms. Though He scattered the proud and the rich, he exalted those who were humble!
Though He sent the rich away empty-handed, He filled the hungry with good things!
There is no greater gift. This season, whether with family or alone, whether suffering or filled with life, I can tell you that there is no greater gift of love and mercy given than that of the birth of Jesus.
Remember verses 49-50:
For the Mighty One has done great things for me; and holy is his name. And his mercy is upon generation after generation toward those who fear him.
Merry Christmas from the Center for Holy Lands Studies!