Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Luke 1 - "He has brought down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted those of lowly estate"

(Click here to read Luke 1)

Luke 1:46-55 (ESV)
46 And Mary said,
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
47      and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour,
48 for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
    For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49 for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
    and holy is his name.
50 And 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 mighty from their thrones
     and exalted those of humble estate;
53 he has filled the hungry with good things,
    and the rich he has sent away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
     in remembrance of his mercy,
55  as he spoke to our fathers,
     to Abraham and to his offspring for ever.”

This is the song of Mary, after being told by an angel that she will be the mother of Messiah.

In this poetic eruption of praise we see Mary and Luke (the writer of this gospel) boldly declare the truth that the gospel is good news for the lowly, the marginalized, the poor, and the weak. Jesus has come for the outsider. He has come bring down the mighty from their thrones and raise up the lowly.

This is the theme of all of Luke and Acts. The good news of the gospel is for the outsider. Jesus is bringing justice to the entire order. Kings beware.

The story of Luke and Acts is also deeply dependent  upon the work of the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit that will come upon Mary so that she can give birth (v35). The work of the Spirit in the life of Jesus and his followers is abundantly evident and explicitly stated again and again throughout Luke's two books.

And Luke himself writes as an outsider. While Jesus came to an occupied rural people as a poor and displaced son of a Jewish working man, Luke himself is none of these things. Luke is an educated, Greek doctor from outside the centre of Jewish life. By the time this book was written, the news of Jesus had already spread beyond the ethnic or regional centre from which it began. Luke is written in a higher and more academic Greek than any other book in the New Testament. Yet, Jesus is presented in this gospel as more human, more equal to the people from his rural community  than any of the other gospels. Though Luke is writing to a more urban and educated audience, Jesus and his family are presented in the most down to earth and reachable ways possible. While Matthew regards Jesus as a king, Luke goes out of his way to show Jesus among the margins, the outcasts, the poor, and the racially despised.

The book starts off sounding scholarly and scientific – “I have myself carefully investigated”, “an orderly account” Whereas Mark was very fast and succinct, painting with broad strokes, Luke is all about the details and precision. His language is intentional and sure. He may be writing to the very rulers that Mary says will be brought down from their thrones. And he wants them to have certainty of his words (v4).

v35 – He will be called the Son of God.

No comments:

Post a Comment