Apostolic Perspectives #9 - Choices, Choices
"...He has helped His servant Israel,
In remembrance of His mercy,
As He spoke to our fathers,
To Abraham and to his seed forever.” (Luke 1:54-55)
It would be a stretch to say that Mary was twenty years old when she uttered these words. Most scholars put her between fourteen and seventeen. Boy! times have changed.
Anyway, to my main point; this song of Mary, popularly known as the Magnificat, which means, "an utterance of praise", is amazingly insightful for a teenager. It says quite a lot about her values and the choices she made, even at this young age.
It would be naive to assume that she was just randomly chosen to be the mother of Jesus the Messiah. There were many teenage girls in Israel at that time, only one was chosen.
Does Mary's utterance of praise tell us anything about her? Can we come to any reasonable conclusions about who she was and why God's favor found her? By looking at the words she uttered to Elizabeth in this encounter, I think we can.
To start with, she magnified the Lord when she heard the prophetic word which came out of Elizabeth's mouth:
“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Saviour..." (Luke
This was not a premeditated response, it came right out of her heart! Is it likely that she was accustomed to doing this in her spare time? Mary's words strongly indicate that she was accustomed to spending time rejoicing in God.
A second observation is that she trusted God as Saviour. Wow! What a choice! She has set an example for the generations ahead of her. I do not have the space or time to thoroughly analyze this magnificent moment in Mary's life. Let me quickly go to the portion above which I first quoted.
"He has helped his servant Israel in remembrance of His mercy"... This was Mary's moment. She was the personal bearer of God's greatest gift to the world. Yet we see something quite extraordinary here; she links her blessing to a corporate reality. It wasn't just for herself. God was helping her nation, Israel.
There is another striking observation as well. Mary was not just aware of biblical history, she saw herself as the continuation of a legacy! As the "seed" of Abraham, she was doing her part to fulfil the will of God in her generation: "As He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed forever.”
After so many hundreds of years, I am still impacted by the level of maturity that was demonstrated by this young girl. So often personal prophecy becomes only about the individual. Mary saw the bigger picture. She understood that personal prophecy was not just about her own destiny. God was fulfilling His word to her nation.
Some years later, her twelve year old Son would display a similar grasp for the things of God and an unusual commitment to serve Him ( Luke 2:49). Both these examples hold out hope for every generation of young people. They can make choices that attract the favour of God and make them outstanding among their peers.
Over this Christmas Season, my prayer is for young people to arise and make the choices that attract the favour of God and advance His purpose in their lives and in their generation.