By Rev. Dr. Sergio e. Arevalo, Jr.
Dec 21, 2014, 7 pm (Sambang Gabi)
The passage today is called The Magnificat. It is one of the most popular passages in the New Testament. Mary’s song which most believe to be based on the song of Hannah in I Samuel 2:1-10.
The Magnificat fine-tunes its song of praise to focus upon God’s handiwork in the socioeconomic arena (Feasting on the Word, p.81).
Luke 1:46-49 says, “Then Mary said, “My soul praises the greatness of the Lord! My spirit exults in God, my Savior, because he has looked favorably on his humble servant. From now on, all generations will call me blessed, because the Almighty has done great things for me. His name is holy.”
I. Mary Praises God’s Mercy (v.50).
Mary sings “His mercy lasts from generation to generation for those who fear him.” Mary believes that God’s mercy is eternal. Meaning it has no end, however she emphasizes that his mercy is for those who fear him—meaning for those who believe God.
Years after the death of US President Calvin Coolidge, this story came to light.
In the early days of his presidency, Coolidge awoke one morning in his hotel room to find a cat burglar going through his pockets.
Coolidge spoke up, asking the burglar not to take his watch chain because it contained an engraved charm he wanted to keep. Coolidge then engaged the thief in quiet conversation and discovered he was a college student who had no money to pay his hotel bill or buy a ticket back to campus.
Coolidge counted $32 out of his wallet — which he had also persuaded the dazed young man to give back! — declared it to be a loan, and advised the young man to leave the way he had come so as to avoid the Secret Service! (Yes, the loan was paid back) (Today in the Word, October 8, 1992).
If a president can show mercy to a sinner, how much more our God who could not show mercy to those who ask for it.
Luke 1:51-52 says, “He displayed his mighty power with his arm. He scattered people who were proud in mind and heart. He pulled powerful rulers from their thrones and lifted up humble people.” Mary saw that God shows his power against arrogant people and cruel kings, but he protects and supports humble believers. She saw the justice of God in her community. I believe this is also true to everywhere. Justice cannot be seen for a while but in God’s time he will show it with his power.
III. Mary Praises God’s More Providence (vv.53-54).
Luke 1:53-55 says, “He filled hungry people with good things and sent rich people away with nothing. He helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful, according to the promise he made to our ancestors—to Abraham and his descendants forever.”
God’s providence is with righteousness. He gives food to the hungry but he curses those who do not care for the poor. Mary saw that God helped his nation Israel and he was true in his promise to their ancestors.
John Wesley’s father, Samuel, was a dedicated pastor, but there were those in his parish who did not like him. On February 9, 1709, a fire broke out in the rectory at Epworth, possibly set by one of the rector’s enemies.
Young John, not yet six years old, was stranded on an upper floor of the building. Two neighbors rescued the lad just seconds before the roof crashed in. One neighbor stood on the other’s shoulders and pulled young John through the window.
Samuel Wesley said, “Come, neighbors, let us kneel down. Let us give thanks to God. He has given me all my eight children. Let the house go. I am rich enough.”
John Wesley often referred to himself as a “brand plucked out of the fire” (Zech 3:2; Amos 4:11).
In later years he often noted February 9 in his journal and gave thanks to God for His mercy. Samuel Wesley labored for 40 years at Epworth and saw very little fruit; but consider what his family accomplished! (W. Wiersbe, Wycliffe Handbook of Preaching and Preachers, Moody Press, 1984, p. 251).
John Wesley’s influence scattered all over the world. The hymns and songs of Charles Wesley are still singing in our churches, not only in Methodist churches but even in other churches, but they could not do that without the mercy, power and providence of God in their lives.
This season let us feel and meditate on the mercy, power, providence and greatness of God in our family, in our lives and in our society.