The Mighty One
Luke 1:39-55 December 20, 2009
Have you ever heard of Nicholas of Myra? He was a Christian in the early church that was generous with what he had. He became a bishop There have been many stories told about Nicholas over the years. And I guess after 1600 years, those stories could have taken on mythical proportions!
The most famous and widespread of the early stories of Nicholas was how he helped three young women. It was the custom in the ancient world that if a father wanted his daughter to be married, then he would have to pay a dowry. This would be used to set up the newly married couple in their own household. It seems that the larger the dowry, the better man that a woman could marry. (It just seems that today the dowry is not in use today, because some of the women today have gotten the wrong end of the deal!)
The man with three daughters did not have enough money for three dowries. He was constrained to the idea that his daughters would not be marrying, let alone marrying well. He was in a tough spot.
But it seems that Nicholas heard about their plight. So, late one evening, a bag of gold coins came through an open window and landed in a sock drying by the fireplace in this man’s house! The father of the three women now had the money needed for a proper dowry!
Since that story happened back in the late 200’s, early 300’s, the Dutch, Coca-cola, and others have gotten hold of the story and we have ended up with Santa Claus! Nicholas did become a bishop and was a part of the Council of Nicaea that developed the Nicene Creed we have in our hymnal!
So, Santa Claus had roots in the church. The mythical nature of his life has taken on its own life. There is story about this time of year that is beyond mythical. It is true that there is one more powerful and more generous than Santa. God is the mighty one.
How do we know that God is the mighty one? Being able to hear Mary and Elizabeth talk helps us to know that God is the mighty one. Who knows, you may find who you need this and every Christmas!
A. Elizabeth was in tune with the Holy Spirit (v. 38-45)
1. Mary had just heard about her pregnancy
2. She goes to Elizabeth & Zechariah’s place
3. Didn’t knock, just went right in!
a. Cried out
– Blessed are you among women
– Blessed is the fruit of your womb
– The mother of my Lord has come to me
– The child in my womb leaped for joy
5. How can we get so in tune with the Holy Spirit? Elizabeth’s husband was a priest! And he got mute after questioning an angel! But not Elizabeth, she knew it was the Holy Spirit. Do we know when the Holy Spirit is talking to us? Are there events happening in your life that can only be explained by the work of the Holy Spirit? Are people speaking to you and you know without a shadow of doubt that God is directing your response? You don’t have to be married to a priest to get this close to the Holy Spirit. But you do have to believe. If we can believe in the idea of Santa Claus, surely we can believe God is working in our lives?
B. Who do we need (v. 46-55)?
1. Mary speaks her mind – how often do we want to hear a 12-14 year old girl’s mind?
2. God has done great things for Mary
a. She is praising God
b. God looked with favor on her
c. Did she know people would look up to her now?
d. Lord, God, my Savior, the Mighty One – Mary knew God
3. God has done great things for Israel
a. Mercy to those who fear
b. Strength – scattering the proud
c. Lift up the lowly and brings down the powerful
d. Filled the hungry, rich are sent away empty
e. Helped Israel and remembered his promise to Abraham
4. Do we need this Mighty One to do great things in our lives? For several years growing up a neighbor dressed up as Santa. He would come to the church, the school, and other places. But what I thought was the neatest thing he did was to place a wood figure of Santa in his front yard. This Santa was kneeling to Jesus! It would have to be God who changes the world. The government can not do it. Big business cannot do it. Even being in a position of power in the community cannot change the world. Government, big business, and even when we are in positions of power, we like things the way they are. But God has changed people’s position and perspective in the past. The Mighty One will do so again.
In the Polar Express, children are told to “Believe.” Well, we all can believe in God that he is the Mighty One. Santa Claus may have his elves, but God has all those who believe in him.
Elizabeth believed; and her world was changed. Mary believed; and the world was changed. Do you believe in the Mighty One? If not, are you afraid that your world will change? Maybe our world does need to change! And may you know the Mighty One as he does the changing!