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. (Luke 1:52-53).
As Mary continues to praise God, she does something that happens in a few other places in the Bible. She starts using the past tense for events that haven't even happened yet.
Look around you. Do you see the humble exalted, and the mighty brought down from their thrones? Me neither. How about the hungry being filled with good things, and the rich sent away empty? Well ... I can think of a few occasions, but by and large, this hasn't happened yet either. A quick glance at the news tells us just the opposite.
So why does she say it this way? It looks like this is a thing that the Bible does whenever God wants to emphasize that something is true. It is as if He were saying, "Listen up! What I am telling you is so sure and certain, I'm going to talk about it as a done deal. I'm going to put it in the past tense. Have no doubts—this will really happen."
That is what the coming of Jesus means to us—that we can be sure and certain that God is turning the present order of the world upside down. The abuse and corruption and hatred you see today? Look closely, because you will never see it again. God Himself has come to destroy the power of the devil on the cross, and to rise to new life. And He is bringing the human race into that new life along with Him.
That is what Paul means when he uses the same grammatical trick in Ephesians 2:4-6: "God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus." We who trust in Jesus have that new life already. And our resurrection and eternal joy with Jesus are so certain, we can talk about them in the past tense.
THE PRAYER: Lord, thank You so much for what You have done and what You will certainly do for us, because You love us. Amen.
* What are some of the things you are most certain of in your life?
* When you really want someone to believe you, what do you do?
* Tell a story about a time you trusted in God even when you were afraid.
Advent Devotions were written by Dr. Kari Vo.
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