Like I said yesterday, there’s quite a bit of evidence that one of Luke’s primary witnesses which he employed was Mary, the mother of Jesus. Before we get to today’s passage, let’s talk a bit about the woman herself.
We know something about her background. It seems likely that the genealogy in chapter 3 is the lineage from Mary, while the one in Matthew is through Joseph. If so, then Jesus was a descendant of David from both his mother’s and his (legal) father’s side. That would mean that our Savior truly deserved the title of “Son of David” and was the fulfillment of the multiple prophecies predicting that a descendant of David would be rule forever on his throne.
I don’t like to offend anyone unnecessarily, and I’ve had some dear Catholic friends over the years. Having said that, I can’t justify how the Catholic Church treats Mary. Mary was not sinless, and quite frankly I think it’s ridiculous to teach that she remained a virgin after the birth of Jesus. My Catholic friends actually tried to convince me that only a sinless person could produce a sinless person. If so, then where did Mary come from? Were her parents sinless as well? And friends, there's only One to whom we’re meant to pray, and it’s not Mary. Paul tells us unequivocally that “there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus.” Not a host of mediators that people like to call Saints. Not Jesus plus his mother. Nope. The only mediator we have or could want or need is the Lord Jesus Christ. On top of this, the Torah strongly forbids us from talking to the dead, for another thing. And yes, Mary is dead. She did not physically ascend up to heaven like Jesus did.
Now that I’ve managed to offend every practicing Catholic who’s reading this, let me say something that Protestants need to hear. In responding to the way that the Catholic Church treats Mary, I do believe that we’re in danger of belittling her contribution to God’s plan and her character as well. She was used by God in a unique way to bring our Savior into the world. And he picked her for a reason.
Today’s passages give us at least two things to consider. First, she was obviously a God-fearing person who loved the Lord and was perfectly willing to submit to his plan. If you’ve ever seen The Nativity Story (a great movie), then you get a hint of what must've been going through her mind. She'd be in real physical danger once word got out that she was pregnant without a full husband. At the very least she was going to be insulted and ostracized by people she held dear. This is a girl—probably a teenager—on whom the weight of the world rests, and she purposefully commits herself to God’s plan, no matter what the cost.
And the lady knew her Scripture! Her song (starting off with acknowledging God as her Savior) could've fit right into the Psalms. It emphasizes the sovereignty of the Almighty, and how he overturns the plans of kings. It points out that God likes to reverse things and do the unexpected (like what was happening to her right now!). The rich are sent away hungry, and the poor are lifted up and fed. And most important, he’s remembered to be merciful. He’s remembered his promises. He’s stepping out from “behind the scenes” and is about to openly act on behalf of his people. She mentions the Lord’s actions to the benefit of Abraham’s family, and that includes me. It also includes you, if you’ve placed your trust in Mary’s Savior. This song can be on our lips. All of us can join Mary in singing that “the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is his name.” Amen!
I know that there are multiple versions of "Mary Did You Know" out there, but here's one of my favorites.
Lord Jesus, I thank you that you haven’t forgotten to be merciful. You’ve filled me to overflowing with your goodness and provision, and you’ve kept every single one of your promises. Holy is your name.