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A Coming Christ in Advent The Annunciation to Mary, the Visitation, and the Magnificat (Luke 1:26-56) Sunday, December 17, 2006 10 to 10:50 am, in the.

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Presentation on theme: "A Coming Christ in Advent The Annunciation to Mary, the Visitation, and the Magnificat (Luke 1:26-56) Sunday, December 17, 2006 10 to 10:50 am, in the."— Presentation transcript:

1 A Coming Christ in Advent The Annunciation to Mary, the Visitation, and the Magnificat (Luke 1:26-56) Sunday, December 17, 2006 10 to 10:50 am, in the Parlor. Everyone is welcome!

2 Purify our conscience, Almighty God, by your daily visitation, that your Son Jesus Christ, at his coming, may find in us a mansion prepared for himself; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.. - Collect for the Fourth Sunday of Advent, Book of Common Prayer, p. 212

3 A Coming Christ in Advent: Essays on the Gospel Narratives Preparing for the Birth of Jesus. Raymond E. Brown, The Liturgical Press, Collegeville, MN, 1988. ISBN: 0-8146- 1587-2. A Coming Christ in Advent: Essays on the Gospel Narratives Preparing for the Birth of Jesus. Raymond E. Brown, The Liturgical Press, Collegeville, MN, 1988. ISBN: 0-8146- 1587-2. Raymond E. Brown, S.S., was a world renown New Testament biblical scholar and the Auburn Distinguished Professor of Biblical Studies at Union Theological Seminary in New York. Dr. Brown died in 1998. Raymond E. Brown, S.S., was a world renown New Testament biblical scholar and the Auburn Distinguished Professor of Biblical Studies at Union Theological Seminary in New York. Dr. Brown died in 1998.

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5 Mary’s Discipleship

6 Mary’s Discipleship Primary Message of the Stories The primary message of Luke’s stories of the Annunciation to Mary, the Visitation, and the Magnificat is not about Mary, but rather: The primary message of Luke’s stories of the Annunciation to Mary, the Visitation, and the Magnificat is not about Mary, but rather: The identity of Jesus as both: The identity of Jesus as both: The Messiah descended from David The Messiah descended from David The Son of God The Son of God How Jesus will save those who depend upon God How Jesus will save those who depend upon God However, the stories reveal many other facets celebrated in theology, spirituality, art and literature, and one facet particularly befitting Advent is Luke’s holding Mary up as the first to hear the good news (= gospel) and accept and proclaim it However, the stories reveal many other facets celebrated in theology, spirituality, art and literature, and one facet particularly befitting Advent is Luke’s holding Mary up as the first to hear the good news (= gospel) and accept and proclaim it That is, she is the first and model disciple That is, she is the first and model disciple

7 Mary’s Discipleship Mary in the Four Gospels We know very little about the historical Mary, and in some of the gospels, it is not even clear that Mary becomes a disciple of Jesus. We know very little about the historical Mary, and in some of the gospels, it is not even clear that Mary becomes a disciple of Jesus. Mark (probably the earliest gospel): Mark (probably the earliest gospel): Portrays Jesus’ family as thinking Jesus is beside himself, and they do not honor Jesus (Mark 3:21, Mark 6:4) Portrays Jesus’ family as thinking Jesus is beside himself, and they do not honor Jesus (Mark 3:21, Mark 6:4) Matthew Matthew Unlike Mark, does not say Jesus’ family did not honor him Unlike Mark, does not say Jesus’ family did not honor him Does tell us that Mary was the mother of Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit Does tell us that Mary was the mother of Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit However, never makes it clear that Mary became a disciple of Jesus However, never makes it clear that Mary became a disciple of Jesus

8 Mary’s Discipleship Mary in the Four Gospels We know very little about the historical Mary, and in some of the gospels, it is not even clear that Mary becomes a disciple of Jesus. We know very little about the historical Mary, and in some of the gospels, it is not even clear that Mary becomes a disciple of Jesus. John John Is the only other gospel besides Luke to portray Mary as becoming a disciple Is the only other gospel besides Luke to portray Mary as becoming a disciple Jesus tells Mary to be the mother to the “disciple whom he loves” (generally felt to John) Jesus tells Mary to be the mother to the “disciple whom he loves” (generally felt to John) Brown: the notion of Mary as “preeminent disciple” was probably a “second stage” development in New Testament Brown: the notion of Mary as “preeminent disciple” was probably a “second stage” development in New Testament “First-stage:” the mystery of Jesus “First-stage:” the mystery of Jesus

9 The Annunciation to Mary

10 Annunciation to Mary Diptych with Zechariah’s Annunciation The Annunciation to Mary parallels and contrasts with the Annunciation to Zechariah (that his wife Elizabeth would conceive John the Baptist), forming a “diptych” The Annunciation to Mary parallels and contrasts with the Annunciation to Zechariah (that his wife Elizabeth would conceive John the Baptist), forming a “diptych” Mary’s annunciation occurs during the 6 th month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy with John the Baptist Mary’s annunciation occurs during the 6 th month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy with John the Baptist

11 Annunciation to Mary Diptych with Zechariah’s Annunciation Zechariah’s Annunciation: Zechariah’s Annunciation: Takes place in Jerusalem Takes place in Jerusalem Heritage is priestly Heritage is priestly Both befit the “Old Testament” character of Zechariah and Elizabeth Both befit the “Old Testament” character of Zechariah and Elizabeth Recall from session 2: in Zechariah’s annunciation, the couple Zechariah-Elizabeth mirror Abraham-Sarah and Elkanah-Hannah, and evoke Gabriel’s appearance to Daniel Recall from session 2: in Zechariah’s annunciation, the couple Zechariah-Elizabeth mirror Abraham-Sarah and Elkanah-Hannah, and evoke Gabriel’s appearance to Daniel

12 Annunciation to Mary Diptych with Zechariah’s Annunciation Mary’s Annunciation: Mary’s Annunciation: Takes place in the town of Nazareth, in Galilee Takes place in the town of Nazareth, in Galilee Heritage is Davidic Heritage is Davidic Both befit the “New Testament” character of Mary and Joseph, parents of Jesus: Both befit the “New Testament” character of Mary and Joseph, parents of Jesus: Jesus’ public ministry will be in Galilee Jesus’ public ministry will be in Galilee Jesus is the Messiah from the House of David Jesus is the Messiah from the House of David

13 Annunciation to Mary Diptych with Zechariah’s Annunciation Zechariah and Elizabeth have been yearning for a child Zechariah and Elizabeth have been yearning for a child The annunciation to Zechariah is an answer to their prayers The annunciation to Zechariah is an answer to their prayers Mary is a virgin and is not expecting to be pregnant Mary is a virgin and is not expecting to be pregnant The annunciation to Mary is a surprise initiative by God The annunciation to Mary is a surprise initiative by God

14 Annunciation to Mary Diptych with Zechariah’s Annunciation Elizabeth’s conception involves an act of human sexual intercourse Elizabeth’s conception involves an act of human sexual intercourse Mary’s conception does not involve an act of human sexual intercourse, but rather it is the result of the overshadowing Spirit of God Mary’s conception does not involve an act of human sexual intercourse, but rather it is the result of the overshadowing Spirit of God The same Spirit that hovered at the creation of world when all was void (Genesis 1:2) The same Spirit that hovered at the creation of world when all was void (Genesis 1:2)

15 Annunciation to Mary Diptych with Zechariah’s Annunciation Both Zechariah’s and Mary’s annunciations follow a “pattern” for birth annunciations present in the Old Testament annunciations of the births of: Both Zechariah’s and Mary’s annunciations follow a “pattern” for birth annunciations present in the Old Testament annunciations of the births of: Ishmael (Genesis 16:7-12) Ishmael (Genesis 16:7-12) Isaac (Genesis 17-18) Isaac (Genesis 17-18) Samson (Judges 13:3-20) Samson (Judges 13:3-20)

16 Annunciation to Mary Diptych with Zechariah’s Annunciation The “pattern” of birth annunciations: The “pattern” of birth annunciations: An angel of the Lord / heavenly messenger appears An angel of the Lord / heavenly messenger appears The visionary becomes fearful or prostrate The visionary becomes fearful or prostrate Angel addresses the visionary, usually by name, and urges “Do not be afraid” Angel addresses the visionary, usually by name, and urges “Do not be afraid” The angelic message: the future mother is or will be with child. The child will be named X and the child’s accomplishments will be Y The angelic message: the future mother is or will be with child. The child will be named X and the child’s accomplishments will be Y The visionary objects “how can this be?” They may ask for a sign. The visionary objects “how can this be?” They may ask for a sign. Aside: many aspects of this “pattern” are also found in Old Testament angelic annunciations of vocation: Aside: many aspects of this “pattern” are also found in Old Testament angelic annunciations of vocation: Moses (Exodus 3:2-12) Moses (Exodus 3:2-12) Gideon (Judges 6:12-23) Gideon (Judges 6:12-23)

17 Annunciation to Mary Heart of the Annunciation The heart of the Annunciation to Mary is its revelation of the twofold identity of Jesus as: The heart of the Annunciation to Mary is its revelation of the twofold identity of Jesus as: 1. The Messiah descended from David 1. The Messiah descended from David 2. The Son of God 2. The Son of God

18 Annunciation to Mary Heart of the Annunciation Jesus’ identity as the Messiah descended from David goes back to Nathan’s promise to David in 2 Samuel 7 that David’s descendants will rule over Israel forever: Jesus’ identity as the Messiah descended from David goes back to Nathan’s promise to David in 2 Samuel 7 that David’s descendants will rule over Israel forever: 9 I shall make for you a great name … 9 I shall make for you a great name … 13 I shall establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 13 I shall establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I shall be his father, and he will be my son … 14 I shall be his father, and he will be my son … 16 And your house and your kingdom will be made sure forever 16 And your house and your kingdom will be made sure forever Compare to Gabriel’s annunciation to Mary in Luke 1:32-33: Compare to Gabriel’s annunciation to Mary in Luke 1:32-33: 32a He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High 32a He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High 32b And the Lord God will give him the throne of his father David; 32b And the Lord God will give him the throne of his father David; 33a and he will be king over the house of Jacob forever, 33a and he will be king over the house of Jacob forever, 33b and there will be no end to his kingdom 33b and there will be no end to his kingdom

19 Annunciation to Mary Heart of the Annunciation Mary objects: “How can this be?” pointing out to Gabriel that she has not had any sexual relations with a man yet Mary objects: “How can this be?” pointing out to Gabriel that she has not had any sexual relations with a man yet Gabriel explains (Luke 1:35): Gabriel explains (Luke 1:35): The Holy Spirit will come upon you The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power from the Most High will overshadow you. and the power from the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore, the child to be born will be called holy – Son of God Therefore, the child to be born will be called holy – Son of God

20 Annunciation to Mary Heart of the Annunciation The revelation of twofold identity of Jesus is the heart of the Annunciation The revelation of twofold identity of Jesus is the heart of the Annunciation The Messiah, Son of David (language of the Old Testament prophets) The Messiah, Son of David (language of the Old Testament prophets) Son of God (language of the New Testament preachers) Son of God (language of the New Testament preachers) Compared to Paul in Romans 1:3-4: Compared to Paul in Romans 1:3-4: “…descended from David according to the flesh, and was declared to be Son of God with power according to the spirit of holiness.” (NRSV) “…descended from David according to the flesh, and was declared to be Son of God with power according to the spirit of holiness.” (NRSV)

21 Annunciation to Mary Mary’s Response In Mark’s, Matthew’s, and Luke’s gospels, Mary appears in only one scene during Jesus’ public ministry (Mark 3:31-35, Matthew 12:46-50, and Luke 8:19-21) In Mark’s, Matthew’s, and Luke’s gospels, Mary appears in only one scene during Jesus’ public ministry (Mark 3:31-35, Matthew 12:46-50, and Luke 8:19-21) In these scenes, Jesus defines his family not as those he descended from biologically, but rather as: In these scenes, Jesus defines his family not as those he descended from biologically, but rather as: Mark 3:35 “Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.” (NRSV) Mark 3:35 “Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.” (NRSV) Luke 8:21: “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.” (NRSV) Luke 8:21: “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.” (NRSV)

22 Annunciation to Mary Mary’s Response When Mary responds to Gabriel, she says: When Mary responds to Gabriel, she says: “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38 NRSV) “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38 NRSV) Luke here is describing both: Luke here is describing both: Mary’s consent to be physical mother of Jesus Mary’s consent to be physical mother of Jesus Mary as someone who meets Jesus’ later criteria of family as “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.” (Luke 8:21 NRSV) Mary as someone who meets Jesus’ later criteria of family as “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.” (Luke 8:21 NRSV) Mary is the first to hear the word of God and do it. She is the first disciple Mary is the first to hear the word of God and do it. She is the first disciple

23 Annunciation to Mary Discipleship To be a disciple of Jesus involves: To be a disciple of Jesus involves: Acknowledging that Jesus is not merely “the Prince of Peace,” But: Acknowledging that Jesus is not merely “the Prince of Peace,” But: 1. Assenting to Jesus’ twofold identity as: 1. Assenting to Jesus’ twofold identity as: The Messiah of the House of David The Messiah of the House of David The unique Son of God, the very presence of God with us The unique Son of God, the very presence of God with us 2. Hearing the proclamation of God’s will and doing it 2. Hearing the proclamation of God’s will and doing it

24 The Visitation and the Magnificat

25 Visitation and Magnificat Visitation Gabriel also tells Mary that, as part of God’s plan, her relative Elizabeth, despite being old and considered barren, is already in her sixth month in her pregnancy with John Gabriel also tells Mary that, as part of God’s plan, her relative Elizabeth, despite being old and considered barren, is already in her sixth month in her pregnancy with John When Gabriel departs, Mary immediately takes off for Zechariah and Elizabeth’s house in the hill country of Judea When Gabriel departs, Mary immediately takes off for Zechariah and Elizabeth’s house in the hill country of Judea Her haste reflects in part her obedience to God’s plan Her haste reflects in part her obedience to God’s plan

26 Visitation and Magnificat Visitation Elizabeth greets Mary with “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.” (Luke 1:42 NRSV) Elizabeth greets Mary with “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.” (Luke 1:42 NRSV) Echoes the praise of Jael in Judges 5:24, and of Judith in Judges 13:18 Echoes the praise of Jael in Judges 5:24, and of Judith in Judges 13:18 Echoes also the benediction promised to Israel if it would be obedient to God (Deuteronomy 28:1, 4) Echoes also the benediction promised to Israel if it would be obedient to God (Deuteronomy 28:1, 4)

27 Visitation and Magnificat Visitation During Jesus’ public ministry, a women will cry out from the crowd: “Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts that nursed you!” (Luke 11:27 NRSV) During Jesus’ public ministry, a women will cry out from the crowd: “Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts that nursed you!” (Luke 11:27 NRSV) Jesus corrects the woman: “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it!” (Luke 11:28 NRSV) Jesus corrects the woman: “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it!” (Luke 11:28 NRSV) Prophetically, Elizabeth adds to her greeting: “And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.” (Luke 1:45 NRSV) Prophetically, Elizabeth adds to her greeting: “And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.” (Luke 1:45 NRSV) Mary is here doubly blessed: Mary is here doubly blessed: (1) She is the physical mother of Jesus, but (1) She is the physical mother of Jesus, but (2) She is also the first person who meets Jesus’ criteria for being a disciple (2) She is also the first person who meets Jesus’ criteria for being a disciple “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.” Luke 8:21 NRSV)

28 Visitation and Magnificat The Magnificat Mary now responds to Elizabeth’s greeting and double blessing with the canticle of the Magnificat Mary now responds to Elizabeth’s greeting and double blessing with the canticle of the Magnificat The canticle follows the Jewish mosaic hymn style of this time, where each verse is taken from an older hymn, psalm or verse of scripture The canticle follows the Jewish mosaic hymn style of this time, where each verse is taken from an older hymn, psalm or verse of scripture

29 Visitation and Magnificat The Magnificat Opening of the Magnificat parallels in particular Hannah’s canticle after the birth of her child Samuel in 1 Samuel 2:1-2 and this continues throughout the Magnificat Opening of the Magnificat parallels in particular Hannah’s canticle after the birth of her child Samuel in 1 Samuel 2:1-2 and this continues throughout the Magnificat For example: For example: Luke 1:48: “… for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden.” (RSV) 1 Samuel 1:11: “O Lord God of Sabaoth, if thou welt indeed look upon the humiliation of thine handmaid.” (LXX Brenton)

30 Visitation and Magnificat The Magnificat Mary’s final response to Gabriel continues this handmaid motif: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord.” Mary’s final response to Gabriel continues this handmaid motif: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord.” “handmaid:” literally, the feminine form of “slave,” reflecting: Religious context of being servants of the Lord (Acts 2:18) The status of many early Christians Mary as a “handmaid of the Lord” is poetry to us, but for the educated in the Roman Empire it confirmed how bizarre this new religion was, a group that included a bunch of slaves who worshipped a crucified criminal

31 Visitation and Magnificat The Magnificat God’s saving action is described in the Magnificat as: God’s saving action is described in the Magnificat as: He has shown His strength with His arm; He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He has put down the mighty from their thrones and has exalted those of low degree. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent away empty.” And continues to echo Hannah’s canticle (1 Samuel 2:7-8) The Lord makes poor and makes rich; He reduces to lowliness and He lifts up. He lifts the needy from the earth; and from the dung heap He raises up the poor to seat them with the mighty, making them inherit a throne of glory.”

32 Visitation and Magnificat The Magnificat This description of God’s saving action not only echoes Hannah’s canticle in the Old Testament, but also anticipates Jesus’ Beatitudes and Woes in the New Testament, in Luke 6:20-26: This description of God’s saving action not only echoes Hannah’s canticle in the Old Testament, but also anticipates Jesus’ Beatitudes and Woes in the New Testament, in Luke 6:20-26: Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. Blessed are you when people hate you, … for surely your reward is great in heaven … (NRSV)

33 Visitation and Magnificat The Magnificat And the four Woes: And the four Woes: … woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation. Woe to you who are full now, for you will be hungry. Woe to you who are laughing now, for you will mourn and weep. Woe to you when all speak well of you, for that is what their ancestors did to the false prophets (NRSV)

34 Visitation and Magnificat The Magnificat Mary’s Magnificat makes an important statement about the nature of discipleship and gospel (= good news) Mary’s Magnificat makes an important statement about the nature of discipleship and gospel (= good news) The good news = gospel is more than just the proclamation that God has sent Jesus as the Messiah from the House of David, and as God’s own unique Son The good news = gospel is more than just the proclamation that God has sent Jesus as the Messiah from the House of David, and as God’s own unique Son The good news also is the interpretation of that sending, showing it is truly good news: God has come and shown strength, exalting the lowly, filling the hungry. In summary (Luke 1:54-55 NRSV): The good news also is the interpretation of that sending, showing it is truly good news: God has come and shown strength, exalting the lowly, filling the hungry. In summary (Luke 1:54-55 NRSV): He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever."

35 Visitation and Magnificat The Magnificat Our job as disciples is: Our job as disciples is: not only to accept and proclaim Jesus as the Messiah, Son of David, and Jesus as Son of God, but also, like Mary, to: not only to accept and proclaim Jesus as the Messiah, Son of David, and Jesus as Son of God, but also, like Mary, to: interpret for others why this is good news, so they can truly appreciate the angel’s announcement at the first Christmas (Luke 2:10-11 NRSV): interpret for others why this is good news, so they can truly appreciate the angel’s announcement at the first Christmas (Luke 2:10-11 NRSV): “I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.”


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