By Gladys McElmore
Mary’s response to Elizabeth was a song of praise known as the Magnificat. The song describes and expounds on her feelings and it also has much to say about her Son. She rejoiced not just for herself, but rather about things that would be done by Jesus. The song began with words that praised the Lord and most definitely declared His greatness! She, though being young, surely recognized God’s redemptive work. Not only was He sending a Savior, but God Himself was her Savior whom she praised for His faithfulness. Mary’s personal blessings are highlighted in Luke 1:46-50. Almighty God had chosen the low estate of His handmaiden, as she entitled herself, Mary also celebrated God’s mercy on all those who feared Him. God’s mercy is demonstrated with strength and power describing this miraculous birth of Jesus. Mary gave spiritual meanings for her gratitude with this song of praise as she humbly thought of herself as being insignificant in the Jewish community at that time. In contrast, God had regarded her highly and looked upon her with favor and granted her a place of honor! With God all things are possible.
In our society we try to plan a life for ourselves, but sometimes we have endured or must endure many changes. Mary did not plan to become a mother at that time, but she willingly accepted Gabriel’s message.
• How did Elizabeth uplift and strengthen Mary?
• In what ways have we emotionally supported a relative during a family crisis?
• Describe Joseph’s obedience to God.
• Why was Mary considered blessed among women?
• List positive traits that we can adopt from Mary to live a more productive life for God.
As this story unfolds according to Luke, we can receive and believe different kinds of information about the Holy Spirit, angels and humans. Should we waste time to argue about what was revealed or how the information became known? Mary, the mother of the great redeemer of Israel brought wonder, humility and excitement not only to the Jewish community, but to the world then and now!
With the Benedictus, Zacharias also praised God! This was a wonderful song rendered by Zacharias, after being blind-sided with the Holy Ghost. John the Baptist, his long awaited son, had been born and Zacharias was praising God for salvation through the coming of the Messiah. The Israelites finally would have accomplished freedom with the birth of a Savior according to the prophecy of Zacharias. Many extraordinary events surrounded the birth of John the Baptist. Other benefits included freedom from enemies and hateful people. Mercy had been promised to their ancestors dating back to Abraham to whom God had made a sacred covenant.
Zacharias had grasped the hope of serving God without fear. John the Baptist was prophesied to go ahead of the Lord and prepare the people for acceptance of a promised Savior. John was expected to have been called a prophet of the MOST HIGH GOD. He would bring a message telling people that they would be saved by having their sins forgiven. John came preaching repentance for the remission of our sins.
The Benedictus concludes at Verse 75 as Zacharias blessed his son, John. Verse 76 explains John’s status as a prophet. Salvation had been promised with the arrival of Jesus Christ and because of the tender mercies of God. Luke metaphorically used light for guidance and safety as we see John growing spiritually and physically before he appeared in the wilderness fulfilling his mission for God. The following questions may clarify John’s mission:
• How did John’s mission show God’s miraculous power?
• In our time, how does God show faithfulness?
• How has God provided provision for salvation for everybody?
Zacharias’ song of praise, which is called the Benedictus, can be seen as a great reaction to the Spirit of God and its power! We too, can join Zacharias’ praises to God for His faithfulness and tender mercies.
Let Mary’s life of submission to the will of God help us understand our own call to do God’s will. Thank God that Mary and Zacharias have been positive images of faith and obedience. As modern-day believers, we can magnify the Lord for His mercy and unlimited faithfulness to all mankind. Reflect on the joy to the world brought to us by Jesus!
Mrs. Gladys R. McElmore, a resident of Norfolk’s Middle Town Arch Community, is a New Journal and Guide Freelance Contributor on religion. She is a native of Essex County, Va.