International Sunday School Lesson
For Sunday December 8, 2013
Purpose: To understand how God’s justice is revealed in the birth of Jesus
Scripture: Luke 1:46-56
Bible Lesson:Luke 1:46-56 (CEB)
(46) Mary said, "With all my heart I glorify the Lord! (47) In the depths of who I am I rejoice in God my savior. (48) He has looked with favor on the low status of his servant. Look! From now on, everyone will consider me highly favored (49) because the mighty one has done great things for me. Holy is his name.
(50) He shows mercy to everyone, from one generation to the next, who honors him as God. (51) He has shown strength with his arm. He has scattered those with arrogant thoughts and proud inclinations. (52) He has pulled the powerful down from their thrones and lifted up the lowly. (53) He has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away empty-handed. (54) He has come to the aid of his servant Israel, remembering his mercy, (55) just as he promised to our ancestors, to Abraham and to Abraham’s descendants forever."
(56) Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months, and then returned to her home.
My Thoughts by Burgess Walter
This week’s text is known by several different names, the Magnificat, The Song of Mary, and the Canticle of Mary. The Magnificat comes from its first words in the Latin version. The Canticle of Mary comes from the Latin word “canticulum” meaning song or hymn taken from a biblical text other than a Psalm.
To me this song accredited to Mary is a very deep, almost revolutionary, and so doctrinally sound, it is not hard to imagine how deep and committed Mary was to the God that she worshiped. These are not light-hearted flippant thoughts, but well thought out and advanced reasoning. It is easy to see why God chose Mary to become the mother of His only Begotten.
Mary’s understanding of God’s mercy and justice is evident throughout her song. Obviously we must allow for God’s Holy Spirit inspiring these words. But for Mary to write them and sing them we must also allow for her own understanding of the significance of the words.
Mary’s understanding of Old Testament writings and the history of the Jewish people show a deep and substantial knowledge. Mary was obviously more than just a peasant girl from Nazareth. Since all of this seems to take place in the home of Elizabeth, it is possible that Mary was schooled by Zacharias, Elizabeth’s husband, who was a priest. Elizabeth was also of the “daughters of Aaron.”
Because there are at least 15 discernable quotations from the Old Testament in Mary’s song, you can see how much the scriptures were used and loved. It is easy to see how much Mary learned during the 3 months she spent in Zacharias and Elizabeth’s home.
Mary’s song almost parallels recent remarks made by Pope Francis, the call is for the poor and lowly to be lifted up, while the mighty and powerful are brought low. God’s unique justice awards honoring God, above power and wealth.
Mary reminds us that it is our faith and trust in God that brings about our salvation and not our own works or deeds. God’s mercy extends from generation to generation for those that honor God and glorify Him.