The Magnificat

December 20, 2020 ()

Bible Text: Luke 1:39-56 |

Series:

Jesus the Savior: The Magnificat | Luke 1:39-56
Brian Hedges | December 20, 2020

Let me invite you to turn in your Bibles to Luke 1. We’re going to be reading this morning from verses 39-56 as we continue in our series on the first two chapters in the Gospel of Luke. This has been our series through Advent, leading up to Christmas, and this morning we’ll be looking at verses 39-56.

As you’re turning there, let me just read an excerpt of something from Jonathan Edwards’ diary. Jonathan Edwards was that great pastor in New England during the 18th century, and when he was a very young man he wrote these words in his diary about a teenage girl that he had noticed, and this might be surprising. This is not what young men usually notice about teenage girls, but it’s what Jonathan Edwards noticed.

He said, “They say there is a young lady in Newhaven who is beloved of that great Being who made and rules the world, and that there are certain seasons in which this great being in some way or other invisible comes to her and fills her mind with exceeding sweet delight, and that she hardly cares for anything except to meditate on Him. She will sometimes go about from place to place singing sweetly and seems to be always full of joy and pleasure, and no one knows for what. She loves to be alone walking in the fields and groves and seems to have someone invisible always conversing with her.”

Her name was Sarah Pierrepont; she was only 13 years old at the time. Now, let that be a challenge, if you’re a teenager this morning—if you’re a teenage guy, that’s the kind of girl you want to be looking for; if you’re a teenage girl, that’s the kind of relationship with God that you should have. Indeed, it’s a challenge to all of us. Could that be said of you, that you seem to have someone invisible speaking to you, that you are in fellowship with the great Being who made the world, that you’re meditating on Him? That was a description of this young lady, and of course, Sarah Pierrepont Edwards now stands as one of the great heroines in the history of the Christian church.

I read that because I think she was a lot like the young woman we’re going to be reading about this morning, and that is Mary, the virgin Mary, who was the mother of the Lord Jesus. She was also a teenage girl, and as we’re going to learn this morning from the reading, she’s also someone who had a very close walk with God and a life that was characterized by meditation on the word of God.

We’re going to read this passage, which really breaks into two parts. The first part of it is Mary’s visit to Elizabeth, her cousin, who was to be the mother of John the Baptist; and then the second part is what we call the Magnificat. It’s the song that Mary sings in response to Elizabeth’s words and in response to what God has done for her. Let’s look at the text, Luke 1:39-56.

“In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.’

“And Mary said,
‘My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
And his mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
and exalted those of humble estate;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his offspring forever.’

“And Mary remained with her about three months and returned to her home.”

This is God’s word.

You have the visitation in verses 39-45, and then you have the song (the magnificat) in verses 46-55. We see in this passage that Elizabeth blesses Mary and that Mary praises God.

As we saw last week, Mary is a model disciple. She has been called the first Christian. She is a model disciple, a model for us of what it means to be devoted to the Lord. I think in this passage we see more reasons for why she’s a model disciple, and it has five lessons for us. In fact, we might think of these as five important elements to discipleship, five important elements to spiritual wellbeing in our lives, five things that if you and imitate these things in our lives will also lead to our spiritual wellbeing. Let’s look at these one at a time, five things that we need.

1. Encouragement from Spiritual Friendship

You see this in verses 39-45, and specifically from the fact that Mary went on this journey to see Elizabeth. Now, you remember what had happened in Mary’s life. Mary had received word from the angel Gabriel, this supernatural revelation that she was to become the mother of Jesus, the mother of the Son of God. Now, she’s just a teenage girl. She’s never seen an angel before, she’s never had an encounter like this before, she’s never received a message like this before. She had to have been terrified, on one hand, bewildered by what she had heard on another.

But she had also heard in this message that Elizabeth, her elderly relative, in old age has conceived a child and is now six months pregnant. So she hears this message, and Mary immediately decides to go and to see Elizabeth. So she goes on this journey.

Now, Mary is in Nazareth; Elizabeth is in a town in the hill country of Judah. This is probably an 80-mile journey, before there are plans, trains, or automobiles. This is a four-day journey for Mary. She goes out of her way to see Elizabeth, then stays with her for three months. Why is she doing that? She’s doing that because she needs confirmation, because she needs friendship. She needs to be able to discuss with someone what is happening in her life, and so she seeks out Elizabeth.

In a sense, what Mary and Elizabeth are doing is comparing notes. Elizabeth has conceived a child, even though she’s an old woman. This is a miracle that she has conceived in old age, and Mary now, a teenage virgin girl, has also conceived a child, and they are comparing notes with one another.

When Mary comes to Elizabeth, something amazing happens which is an immediate confirmation that Elizabeth recognizes something has taken place in Mary’s life. The child that is within the womb of Elizabeth, this child who will be John the Baptist, this child leaps in her womb.

Now, this is more than just a baby kicking. John the Baptist did a somersault, or something like that, in the womb of Elizabeth. Elizabeth knows that something has taken place. In fact, she interprets it, doesn’t she, in verse 44, when she says, “Behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.”

Just note here for a moment that the infant, embryonic Christ here is—this is probably only three or four days after conception, and John the Baptist is not yet born. Six months pregnant, so prenatal condition. If any place in Scripture gives confirmation on the reality that the unborn child is a human being, you see it right here, as you have John the Baptist, who will become the prophet, the forerunner of the Messiah, responds when he comes into the presence of the embryonic Savior, the God-Man, the word made flesh, Jesus Christ. In fact, you might think of this as the very first prophecy of John the Baptist. He leaps with joy in the presence of the Messiah.

Well, Elizabeth recognizes that something is going on here, and the words that she says to Mary are deeply spiritually encouraging to her. Notice these words in verse 42. It says the exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! Why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”

It’s a threefold blessing. “Blessed are you, blessed is the fruit of your womb, blessed is she who has believed.” In saying this, she is encouraging Mary. She is confirming Mary in her experience. This is a model, I think, of spiritual friendship.

All of us need this in our lives at some point. Now, of course, for Mary and Elizabeth the relationship was unique. They were at a unique point in redemptive history, but the kind of relationship they had—an older woman who is pouring herself into a younger woman—that’s the kind of relationships that all of us need. In fact, Paul says this, doesn’t he, in the book of Titus. He says the aged women are to teach the younger, the older men are to train the younger. This is what we need. We need spiritual encouragement, we need spiritual friendship, we need the confirmation and encouragement that comes from a mentor in the faith.

Eugene Peterson has written much that is spiritual useful, and though I don’t agree with him on everything I was helped a few years ago by reading his book Leap over a Wall, where he talks about spiritual friendship. He says, “The greatest thing any person can do for another is to confirm the deepest thing in him or in her, to take the time and have the discernment to see what’s most deeply there, most fully that person, then confirm it by recognizing it and encouraging it.”

Too often, when we have relationships with people, we’re not even looking beyond the surface. We’re certainly not paying attention to what’s most deeply in a person’s heart. But the deepest part of us is the part that is in relationship with God. It’s our soul. It’s our relationship with God. It’s the new man, the new woman that God has created by his grace, and that needs encouragement, it needs help, it needs growth. Our role in our relationships with one another is to encourage that work of grace that God has begun in our lives.

For application, let me just ask a couple of questions. First of all, do you have a friend like this? Think about your relationships. What do you talk about when you get together with your friends? Now, friendship is based on all kinds of things. We have common ground with people. We talk about the movies we like and the TV shows we like and the books we like to read and the sports that we enjoy and our families. You know, we have common interests. But the most deep commonality that we should have with any fellow Christian is our relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Do you talk about those things with other believers? Do you have a friend who is encouraging that deepest part of your spiritual life, your relationship with God?

The second question is this: Are you a friend like this? Could this be said to characterize you? Is there somebody in your life that you are investing in spiritually? Are you an . Elizabeth to a Mary? Are you a Paul to a Timothy? Are you spiritually investing in someone else?

We all need it. We need the investment of others into us, and we need to invest ourselves into others. We need the kind of relationship that Elizabeth had with Mary. Encouragement from spiritual friendship is one of the first elements in spiritual wellbeing. In fact, sometimes the very way in which someone comes to faith in Christ is because of a friend who shares the gospel, shares the good news, and shares the love of Christ with someone. Maybe you’ve experienced that, a friend who has shared the gospel with you.

2. Believing in the Lord and in His Word

Encouragement from spiritual, and then secondly, the second element in spiritual wellbeing, the second element in discipleship: Believing in the Lord and in his word. In some ways, this is foundational to everything else. We cannot be spiritually healthy without faith. “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” We need faith. We need faith in the Lord, we need faith in his word.

You see both of those, and you see this really exemplified in both Elizabeth and in Mary in this passage. First of all, notice in verse 45 Elizabeth’s words to Mary, “Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.” She’s speaking about Mary, but she’s speaking of her in the third person. “Blessed is she who has believed the word of the Lord.” Can that be said of you, that you are blessed because you have believed the word of the Lord?

But notice also that Elizabeth herself believes, and you see this in verse 43, which I think is a very important verse. “Why is this granted to me,” she says, “that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” Just underline that phrase, “the mother of my Lord.” What an amazing thing to say! Elizabeth says that Mary is the mother of her Lord. Why does she say that? She says that because she recognizes immediately that something unique has happened to me, that Mary is to be the mother of the Son of God.

In fact, the word she uses here, “the mother of my Lord,” the word “Lord” is the word Kyrios. That word is used some 28 times in just the first two chapters of Luke’s Gospel. In Luke 1-2 it’s used 28 times, and if my counting is right, 26 of those 28 times it’s a very clear reference to the Lord God of Israel, Yahweh, the God of the Old Testament. But two times, right here and then again in Luke 2:11, it is a reference to Jesus. Do you remember what the angels say to the shepherds in Luke 2:11? “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”

Now, the reason I’m underlining this is because I just want to make it clear beyond any shadow of a doubt that the idea that Jesus Christ is God manifest in the flesh did not originate in the Council of Nicea in the fourth century! You have it right here in the pages of the New Testament, words spoken about Jesus before he was ever born. Jesus is the Lord; Mary is the mother of the Lord. This word that was used to describe God is used to describe Jesus, who is God in the flesh.

How did Elizabeth know this? I think the answer is in verse 41: she was filled with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit revealed it to her.

Sometimes we think about Peter as being the first person to confess that Jesus is the Messiah, and of course, when Peter did Jesus said, “Flesh and blood didn’t reveal this to you, but my Father who is in heaven,” right? But here you have actually the first person to confess the lordship of Jesus Christ, and it’s Elizabeth. How does she do it? Because the Holy Spirit reveals it to her.

In fact, the only way that anyone ever confesses Jesus Christ as Lord is through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 12:3, “Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says, ‘Jesus is accursed,’ and no one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except in the Holy Spirit.” Have you confessed Jesus as Lord. Do you know that Jesus Christ is the God-Man, that he’s God manifest in the flesh? Our salvation depends on this: Paul says in Romans 10:9, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Belief in the Lord and in his word is a foundational element to the Christian life, to our discipleship.

3. Humility in Prayer and in Worship

Here’s number three: Humility in prayer and in worship. You see this in verses 46 and following, and as I’ve said, this is Mary’s song, the Magnificat, which comes from the Latin when she says, “My soul magnifies the Lord.”

This is one of three canticles or hymns or songs of worship that are recorded in Luke 1-2. You have, first of all, the Magnificat, here in 1:46-55; then you have the Benedictus, which is the song of Zechariah in verses 68-79 (we’ve already looked at that passage); and then you also have the Nunc Dimittis, which is the song of Simeon recorded in Luke 2:29-32. Each one of these hymns, each one of these songs gives us insight into worship and into God and his saving plan and to God and his character, and that’s especially true here of Mary’s song. In it, we see both Mary’s humility and we see the greatness of God; her humility before the Lord in her prayer and worship.

Look at verse 46 and following. “And Mary said,
‘My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior…’”

Just stop right there. A little aside here: Much of the Christian church has I think wrongly believed in what’s been called the immaculate conception of Mary. That’s the belief that Mary, when she was conceived, was conceived without original sin and that she lived a sinless life. In fact, Mary has often even been elevated to the position of a co-mediator, someone who alongside of Jesus mediates salvation to the people of God.

When you look at this passage, I think you can see that that’s an untenable position, because Mary herself confesses her need for a Savior. She says, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” She needed a savior. Mary was a godly woman, she was a woman who was blessed by God, she was highly favored by the Lord, a recipient of God’s grace, as we saw last week; she’s blessed, as Elizabeth says, and she was unique in history as the mother of the Lord Jesus; but, notwithstanding all of that, Mary was not sinless, Mary was a sinner, she needed a savior, and she confessed that in this very prayer.”

“My soul magnifies the Lord,,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.”

See the humility of her prayer?

“For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed,” and then she calls attention to three important attributes of God; first of all, his power. Verse 49: “...for he who is mighty has done great things for me.” Then God’s holiness: “...and holy is his name.” Then God’s mercy, verse 50: “...and his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.”

This is characteristic humility in prayer and worship before the greatness of God. This will be true of every person who has a genuine encounter with the living God. They are humbled in the presence of God. It was true of Mary, it’s true of the Old Testament saints—if you look at Isaiah in Isaiah 6 or Job in the last several chapters of that book, or many other encounters that people had with the true God, it always humbles them. Mary here in her prayer exemplifies that humility before God.

In fact, one of the themes of this prayer is a theme in the Gospel of Luke, and it’s the theme that God exalts the humble. You can see this in verses 51-53 in this series of reversals, where God exalts the humble and he humbles the proud. Look at this beginning in verse 51.

“He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
and exalted those of humble estate;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.”

Do you see it? The reversals? He exalts the lowly and he humbles the proud. He feeds the hungry and he sends the rich away empty. It’s a reversal of human values. In our world, we tend to glorify and honor the rich and the famous, the strong and the mighty. That’s not God’s way. God’s way is to exalt the lowly, to exalt the humble, those who humble themselves before him. In fact, Jesus himself will say (Luke 14:11), “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Almost those exact same words are repeated in Luke 18:14.

In fact, in the Gospel of Luke more than any of the four Gospels you have a focus on Christ’s ministry to the poor. Jesus cared for the poor. He was born into a poor family, from the very outside of Jesus’ ministry he came to preach the gospel to the poor (Luke 4:18). In his sermon on the plain Jesus says, “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.” That’s different, by the way, from the Sermon on the Mount in the Gospel of Matthew, which says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” Both of those are true, but here Jesus’ focus seems to be particularly on the outward condition of those who heard and received his ministry with joy, the poor, who are receptive to the gospel.

When John the Baptist wondered whether Jesus was truly the Messiah, do you remember what Jesus said in answer? He said, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news preached to them.”

On the other hand, Jesus’ teaching is very pointed against the rich. In Luke 6:24 he says, “Woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.” In Luke 12 we have the parable of the rich fool; in chapter 16 the parable of the rich man and Lazarus; in chapter 18 the story of the rich young ruler, where Jesus gives a stern warning and says, “How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God.” Jesus showed no favoritism to the rich, and he frequently did show much compassion to the poor. Why? Because God exalts the humble and he humbles the proud.

That theme is reflected in Mary’s prayer, as we takes her position, a position of a humble servant before the Lord, and she recognizes that God has reversed her own fortunes. Here she is, a lowly servant, a teenage girl, not someone of note or acclaim in her world, and yet God has chosen her to be the mother of the Son of God. Why? Because God delights in exalting the lowly. This is how he makes his glory and his power known. Mary is a wonderful example for us here of humility before the Lord in her prayer and in her worship.

4. Meditation on Holy Scripture

Here’s a fourth thing. Number four is her meditation on holy Scripture.

Now, those of you who are regular here at Redeemer have heard me say this many times, that Charles Spurgeon, the 19th-century Baptist pastor, used to say of John Bunyan, the author of The Pilgrim’s Progress, that his blood was “bibline.” He said, “If you prick him anywhere, he bleeds Bible.” The reason he said that is because when you read the writings of John Bunyan, he’s just quoting Scripture all the time.

I think the same thing could be said of Mary, that she was bibline, that she bleeds Bible. This is, I think, especially noteworthy when we realize that Mary probably was illiterate. She probably couldn’t read; she’s just a teenage peasant girl, and this is before the printing press, before people had copies of God’s word in their own homes. And yet she had hidden the word of God in her heart.

This is obvious when you read this song. There are very clear allusions and even quotations from 1 Samuel 1-2, from Psalm 107, and from the book of Genesis, as she references God’s promises to Abraham.

What had happened? Well, Mary regularly went to worship at the synagogue, and she heard these Hebrew Scriptures being read, and no doubt she had internalized many of these Scriptures herself. Perhaps she had memorized these Scriptures; it’s evident that she had, because she’s able to recall them in her prayer. She had fed on the word of God. She had meditated on the word of God.

This shows us an abiding principle of all life—not just for the Christian life, but all of life—and it’s simply this, that what goes in is what comes out. What you put into your mind and heart is what’s going to come out in your words and in your actions. Remember how Jesus said, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” Listen, it’s well been said, “Garbage in, garbage out.” If what you’re mainly putting into your mind and in your heart is garbage, then don’t be surprised if that’s what comes out in times of stress, in times of angst, times of trial in your life. It’s going to be complaining, it’s going to be cursing, it’s going to be bitterness, it’s going to be worldly ways of thinking, if that’s what you’re putting into your heart.

But Mary had hidden the word of God in her heart! Remember how Psalm 119:11 says, “Your word have I hidden [treasured] in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” Garbage in, garbage out. Scripture in, Scripture out.

It underlines for us the importance of Scripture in our lives, our need for meditating on Scripture. Brothers and sisters, we’re so blessed because we have Bibles! You have the complete word of God, you have a Bible, and most of us have multiple copies of the Bible. I imagine if you went home and counted that many of you would find that in your homes you have a dozen or more copies of God’s word, and we have Bibles in every shape and size, we have study Bibles and Bibles we can write it and journal and mark in, and we have small Bibles we can easily carry in our pockets. We even have Bibles on our phones, for crying out loud! We have Bibles everywhere! But do we give attention to the word of God? Do we hide it in our hearts? Do we treasure it?

One of my wife Holly’s great heroes is a missionary who lived during World War II. Her name was Darlene Diebler Rose, and she wrote a wonderful little book called Evidence Not Seen about her experience. She was a missionary to New Guinea, and she was in New Guinea during World War II when the Japanese invaded, and she was imprisoned in a Japanese concentration camp for four years during World War II, during which time they took away her Bible. She suffered greatly during this season of her life, but she says that what sustained her was the Scripture that she had memorized. Here’s a quotation.

She says, “As a child and a young person I had had a driving compulsion to memorize the written word of God. In the cell, I was grateful now for those days in vacation Bible school when I had memorized many single verses, complete chapters and psalms, as well as whole books of the Bible. In the years that followed, I reviewed the Scripture often. The Lord fed me with the living bread that had been stored against the day when fresh supply was cut off by the loss of my Bible. He brought daily comfort and encouragement; yes, and joy to my heart through the knowledge of his word. I never needed the Scriptures more than in those months on death row, but since so much of his word was there in my heart, it was not the punishment anticipated when they took my Bible.”

May I ask you, Christian: How would you fare if you were imprisoned for four years and they took away your Bible? How much of it would you have because you’ve stored it in your heart, because you’ve memorized Scripture, because you’ve hidden the word of God in your heart? Would you be able to sustain yourself on the word that was in you? Mary had hidden God’s word in her heart, she’d meditated on Scripture, and we see the richness of her spiritual life in this prayer as a result. You and I need that as well.

5. Trust in God’s Mercy and His Promises

There’s one more thing that we see in this prayer, one more feature or element of discipleship, spiritual wellbeing, and it’s what we might call trust in God’s mercy and his promises.

You see his mercy in two places, verse 50, which I’ve already read, and also verse 54. Verses 54-55 are really a focus now on God’s faithfulness to his promises and how Mary recognizes in her circumstances, in the conception of this child, in the fact that she will bring the Son of God into the world—she recognizes that God is fulfilling his promises. Look at verses 54-55.

“He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”

What’s she thinking of here? She’s thinking of God’s covenant with Abraham. She’s thinking of God’s promises made to Abraham. When did God make promises to Abraham? Well, go read the book of Genesis. You see it in Genesis 12, Genesis 15, Genesis 17, Genesis 22—over and over again, God is making these promises to Abraham. Mary now recognizes that in bringing the Son of God into the world God is fulfilling that covenant, that God is keeping those promises, and that he is showing mercy to his people Israel. God has shown mercy to her (she recognizes that), but she sees that more is going on here than just her; that in fact, God is showing mercy to Israel and even that God is showing mercy to the world through the gift of the Son of God.

You remember what Paul says 2 Corinthians 1:20? He says, “For all the promises of God find their yes in him, and that is why it is through him that we utter our amen to God for his glory.” All the promises of God are yes and amen in and through Jesus Christ.

Brothers and sisters, the hope of the gospel is that God keeps his promises, and he does it through Jesus—his birth, his life, his death on the cross for our sins, his resurrection from the dead, his ascension into heaven, and someday his second coming. That’s our hope. That’s what we celebrate when we come to Christmas, the birth of the Savior into the world. It’s recognizing God’s mercy and his grace in and through Christ that’s so foundational to our spiritual lives.

To sum up, these are five things that we see. We see the importance of spiritual friendship and our need for encouragement from spiritual friendship; we see the importance of believing in the Lord and his word, basic, simple faith in Jesus Christ as Lord; we see the importance of humility in prayer and worship before God as we recognize his greatness and our lowliness before him; the importance of meditating on holy Scripture; and of trust in God’s mercy and his promises.

Do these things characterize your life? Are these things that are true of you in your own spiritual life? If so, then your life will be one of spiritual wellbeing, much as Mary’s was; if not, then let today be a day of turning to the Lord in fresh dependence on him, trusting in him, looking to him, and trusting in his word. Let’s pray together.

Gracious Father, we thank you for your word and we thank you for the exemplary life of Mary, the mother of our Savior, and for how she trusted in you and looked to you in humility and in faith. Our prayer this morning is that we would emulate her, that we would follow her example, and that our trust would not be in ourselves, certainly not in our wealth, our strength, or anything that we could contribute. We can contribute nothing to our salvation. What we need is your mercy and your grace given to us through Christ, and we thank you that that’s the gospel, that’s the good news.

We pray, Lord, that as we come to the Lord’s table this morning that we would come in the spirit of that humility and with that kind of faith in our hearts, looking to you and resting on you and your grace and mercy given to us in Christ. As we come to the table, may it be a time of real fellowship with you through your Holy Spirit and through faith in your word. We pray that you would help us as we continue in worship together this morning, and may Jesus Christ be exalted in and through it all. We pray this in his name, Amen.