You Want A Revolution

As we make our way through LENT, I have been thinking about ADVENT. That makes sense because Incarnation and Atonement are tied together – and they mean more than just missing our on hell and eventually finding our way into heaven. At least that what Mary thinks. Read Luke 1:46-55

When seeking a biblical personality to illustrate what it means to be submissive to the will of God, Mary is usually placed high on the list. This is understandable – after all, in humble faith, Mary did willfully submit herself to God’s plan for her life. But as this passage illustrates, Mary is hardly the dainty and demure individual she is so often depicted to be in sermons, Sunday School lessons and motion pictures.

On the contrary, in this text Mary is portrayed as God’s revolutionary prophet, offering a bold declaration of what life will be like in the kingdom of God. Though Mary’s song is often called the “Magnificat” (which means “song of praise”) it is actually more like a manifesto – an audacious statement about how life will change in the Messianic age.

In God’s kingdom, Mary sings, God will scatter the proud in the “imaginations of their hearts.” Mary is speaking about that place in the human heart where people imagine that they are really in control – that they are God. That place will be scattered. The Greek word employed suggested the use of a winnowing fork to scatter grain in the air so that the chaff might be blown away, leaving on the kernel.

In addition to the scattering of the proud, God appearing will also cause the powerful to be cast down “from their thrones.” Those who sit in high places will be dethroned by the Mighty One.

God’s revolution, however, will not be complete with the simple downfall of the proud and powerful. On the contrary, God will also exalt the humble. God will lift up those who recognize and acknowledge His greatness and who act accordingly. Furthermore, Mary says that God will “fill the hungry with good things” while sending the “rich away empty.”

With these words, Mary declares the beginning of a great revolution – God’s revolution. It’s interesting to note that God’s revolutionary work – as it is described by Mary – begins in the human heart. Nevertheless, it does not remain in the heart. It has certain applications in the way people live their lives. It affects our stewardship.

The revolution that God brings in Christ begins in our hearts, turning our lives upside-down, causing us to re-evaluate our priorities and re-examine our values. That’s what Mary is singing about. God has appeared, and nothing will ever be the same.

In the light of this revolution, what should we do?

We should avoid the type of pride that might prompt us to use our positions of authority as avenues for the fulfillment of our selfish ambitions.

We should refuse to exercise our influence in order to fulfill our lust for debase gratification.

We should refuse to be caught up in the rampant materialism and greed of our society.

We should stop living from paycheck-to-paycheck, and start living from God.

We should reject the philosophy that always blames the poor for their poverty while praising the wealthy for their riches.

We should start giving more of our riches away – so that we will not become one of the rich whom God will send away empty.

It must be remembered, however, that we can do none of the things we should do apart from an intimate, growing and personal relationship with God. Only a relationship with God will allow the type of humble and self-giving lifestyle that God’s kingdom demands. Therefore, the most important thing we should do is follow the example of Mary who, in humility, submitted herself to the will of the Mighty One.

The kind of life Mary is dreaming about – it’s something that comes FROM God, not something that is lived FOR God. There is a difference.

The gospel message today is the same one that Mary proclaimed in her “Manifesto” long ago. God is coming. “God will scatter the proud in the imaginations of their hearts.” God will “put down the powerful from their thrones.” God will “fill the hungry with good things and send the rich away empty.”

You can experience that revolution in your life today by allowing yourself to be consumed by God’s loving grace – by God’s amazing love that has no limitation. Realize your brokenness, live out of the bountiful blessings of grace, give yourself over to be a follower of Jesus knowing that your life has begun anew (from scratch, born of God) as a citizen of God’s kingdom.

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