An unwed, pregnant teenager
Mary was unwed, a teenage, and pregnant. This was a position of moral failure and brought disgrace on her, her family, and the father of the child. There also legal penalties, perhaps including death.
Older women who greatly desired children they did not have
Elizabeth and Hannah were older women who did not have children. They wanted to be mothers and they became pregnant. These were happy times.
Their sons, John the Baptist and Samuel the prophet, were great leaders among the Jews. They also played significant roles God’s redemptive mission culminating in Jesus the Messiah.
God’s perspective on the situations
The perspective of those who shared God’s view of the events was different. Elizabeth thought that Mary’s child was more honored. Mary compared herself to Hannah and that great pregnancy.
When Luke write his gospel, he made it clear that Jesus was greater than John.
Jesus was greater than John the Baptist even though John was older and started his ministry first.
In a culture where age was important, John’s mysterious but theologically rich words were needed to explain his lesser role. Jesus came after John but was before him. He existed before John and outranked him. (John 1:15, 30)
Gabriel’s announcements show Jesus’ superiority.
Zechariah and Elizabeth would become parents in their old age. John would be great before God. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit from birth. He will go before Messiah in the spirit and power of Elijah. (Luke 1:12-15)
The Holy Spirit caused Jesus’ birth. Jesus would be called the Son of the Most High. He will sit on the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over Israel forever. His kingdom will have no end. (Luke 1:30-33)
Jesus is clearly greater
Zechariah’s Spirit-inspired prophetic words recognized this. Salvation would come from the house of David (Jesus). John would be a prophet of the Most High. (Luke 1:69, 76)
Mary’s Song of Praise
Mary’s song of praise in Luke 1:46-49 is very similar to Hannah’s song of praise in 1 Samuel 2:1-10.
Both songs praise God for his all-knowing, all-powerful control of circumstances, his mercy to the poor, and his faithfulness to his people.
Two women in very different circumstances but similar songs of praise.
When you see God’s perspective, you can have radical confidence… just like the Virgin Mary.
Questions for consideration:
Can you think when your understanding of something in your life changed when you gained a greater perspective on it?
Can you think of something truly perplexing in your life where you hope for greater understanding in the future?