Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The Great Reversal



Scripture:

Luke 1:46     And Mary said,
    “My soul magnifies the Lord,
47         and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48     for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
        Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49     for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
        and holy is his name.
50     His mercy is for those who fear him
        from generation to generation.
51     He has shown strength with his arm;
        he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
52     He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
        and lifted up the lowly;
53     he has filled the hungry with good things,
        and sent the rich away empty.
54     He has helped his servant Israel,
        in remembrance of his mercy,
55     according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
        to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”

Observation:

The young pregnant Mary has met up with her cousin Elizabeth and in a moment salvation history is brought to its fullness in the lives of these women. They are carrying within them the hope for all of humanity and the culmination of prophecy. This “Magnificat” of Mary is a pause in the story — a moment to be savored and on which to ponder. God’s holy love is revealed by this incredible act of salvation, as he brings about the great reversal.

Mary’s song is a revelation of the theological significance of this event as her hearts soars with the message of the great reversal, or the arrival of the new kingdom.  Her soul magnifies the Lord, or reflects the Image of God. The Image is the baby that she is carrying and his life will usher in a new era when all of humanity will have the capacity to reflect him. This is the new story in salvation history and it is brought to us in the prophetic voice of a woman. 

From the time of the fall women had suffered and now the child which Mary carried would come to set things right. Because of the babe, the image of God could be restored in both men and women. This is the hope of the great reversal.  When God’s hand is at work then the lowly become great and the relationship between men and women is restored to the equal status found in creation.

The great reversal reveals the grace of our holy God who reaches out in mercy to the generations to come who will fear him. He provides for those who reflect his image.  Worldly kingdoms will come to an end but the great reversal is eternal.

Application:

We live into Mary’s song for it was alive with anticipation of that very first Christmas day. Not only does Mary’s soul magnify the Lord, but you and I reflect the Image because of what he has done for us.

The great reversal has brought hope to all of humanity. Worldly systems and values are to be undone in the kingdom of God. We rejoice for the lowly are lifted up and worldly thrones are of no meaning in his scheme. Mary, a poor pregnant Jewish teenage girl, that’s about as lowly as it gets! Yet, because of the presence of the babe she is transformed for all of time. She is remembered and called blessed because of him.

Because of the Savior we are lifted up and transformed as children of God. This life-giving miracle takes our simple lives and makes them extraordinary because of his presence. Mary wasn’t sure what all of this might mean but her song exclaims a turning point in history. The depth of the great reversal is hard for us to grasp and there are times when the world may feel like it is crashing down upon us. Just like Mary we are encouraged to pause and reflect on where we find ourselves. God is at work in and through his children ushering in the new kingdom. The great reversal has already begun and therefore we are not to fear the things of the world but we are to live into what he, in his holiness, wants to accomplish.

May our souls magnify the Lord — or reflect the Image! That’s the hope of the great reversal.

Prayer:

Lord,  thank you for the possibility of reflecting you. Amen.

If you would like to read more "Reflecting the Image"  click on the image to take you to the NPH bookstore.The book is also available in Kindle format on Amazon.com.


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