Songs of the Season: Mary’s Song (Luke 1:39-56)

songs of the season email1. Blessing from being at the centre of God’s fresh activity

(a)John the Baptist points to Jesus even in the womb! (Gen 25:22-26; 2 Sam 6:9)

• Mary, Mother of God?
In Luke 1:43 Elizabeth greets the Virgin Mary as the "mother of my Lord." Theotokos literally means God-bearer or the one who gives birth to God, or simply Mother of God. It does not mean that Mary is the Mother of God from eternity, that is, the Mother of God the Father. It refers only to the birth of Jesus. God, of course, has neither origin nor source, and is therefore "without a mother."

Christians believe God the Son is begotten of God the Father "from all eternity", but is born "in time" of Mary. At the Incarnation, the Second Person of the Trinity took on human nature and this was being made possible through the cooperation of Mary. Therefore Jesus Christ is both fully God and fully human.

So calling Mary “the Mother of God” affirms the completeness of God’s incarnation. The Council of Ephesus decided on this in 431. There were those who wanted to call Mary, Christotokos ("the one who gives birth to Christ"). Such people claimed that Jesus was two distinct persons, the human who was Son of Mary, and the divine who was not. But this view, a heretical one, destroys the perfect union of the divine and human natures in Christ and prevents the salvation of humanity.

As Cyril of Alexandria wrote, "I am amazed that there are some who are entirely in doubt as to whether the holy Virgin should be called Theotokos or not. For if our Lord Jesus Christ is God, how is the holy Virgin who gave [Him] birth, not [Theotokos]?"

Theotokos ("the one who gives birth to God") reminds us that Jesus is one person who is both God and man, divine and human, and is therefore able to save the world. Thus the significance of Theotokos lies much more in what it tells us about Jesus than any declaration about Mary.

•  Mary, Queen of Heaven?
"Queen of Heaven" is a title given to the Virgin Mary by Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, and Orthodox Churches. For them, is a consequence of Mary being proclaimed Mother of God. Mary is "Queen of Heaven" because her son, Jesus, is King of Israel and heavenly King. Mary is the Queen Mother!

A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth

There is no biblical warrant for thinking that these verse from Rev 12.1-5, refers to Mary. In fact, they speak of Israel or Judah. The Bible often refers to nations and tribes as female characters (Matt 2:18; Rev 17). Since Jesus is the Alpha and Omega (Rev 22:13) and through Him all things were created (Col 1:15-17), Mary cannot be considered the Queen of Heaven

There is also no biblical evidence for other things claimed by some about Mary, for example, her sinlessness, the circumstances surrounding her conception and birth, her continuing virginity following the birth of Jesus, her annunciation into heaven through angels, the gathering of apostles around the dying virgin Mary, the funeral procession, her empty tomb and, Mary in heaven

(b)God’s mercy to Mary is repeatable (1.50; Ps 103:2-6)

2. Amazement from being used by God in his fresh activity (v50)

(a) Humility is the response to blessing (Ex 4; Prov 1:7)

(b) God rescues the humble and brings down the proud (1.51-3; Deut 4:34; 1 Sam 2.5; Jer 17:11)

(c) God keeps his Word (1.54-55; Is 41:8-9)

3. Joy and some sorry for those who believe that God does what he says

(a) When God breaks in there is joy (1:46; 1 Sam 2:1)

(b) But joy tingled with sorry (Luke 2:34-35)

(c) “Humble Joy”
– in the Holy One (Psalm 111:9)
– in the Mighty One (Zeph 3:17)
– in the Saviour (Mic 7:7)

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