Have you ever had ‘a song’? My wife and my ‘song’ is Phil Collins’ “Groovy Kind of Love”. We can be walking through a grocery store and hear that song come on… and she’ll look at me and say, “They’re playing our song!” and we’ll literally stop, right there, and slow dance. My kids love this!
I think that Jesus had a song. Because it’s the Christmas season I want to share a quick Bible study with you. In Luke chapter 1… we read what has been historically called the ‘Magnificat’ – Mary’s Song. This is the song that the mother of Jesus sang, while He was still in her womb. This is a song that I believe impacted His life big time.
A man by the name of Jack Kornfield, (not at all a professing “Christian”) recounts in his book “How, Then, Shall We Live?” the custom of one African tribe. He says that in this tribe, when a woman decides to have a child, she goes and sits alone under a tree, and she listens. She listens until she hears the song of the child who wants to come. Once she hears the song, she returns to the man who will be the child’s father and teaches the song to him. When they make love to conceive the child, they sing the song to call the child to them. When the woman is pregnant, she teaches the child’s song to the midwives and old women of the village so that when the birth time arrives, the people surrounding the mother sing the song to welcome the child among them. Then as the child grows up, the other villagers learn the song. If the child falls or hurts his knee someone picks him up and sings the song. When the child does something wonderful, the people of the village sing this song. When the child goes through the rites of puberty and becomes an adult, the villagers sing the song. It goes this way through life. At a wedding, the songs of both husband and wife are sung together. Finally, when this child grows old, and lies in bed ready to die, all the villagers know the song, and they sing it for the last time.
That, to me, is a very beautiful thought; The idea that each person in that village has their own, special, very individual and personal, song… a song they carry with them throughout their lives. Reading that, I began to think about Jesus, and the song of HIS life. I remembered that Mary, during her nine month pregnancy, did indeed sing to Jesus?
When Kelli was pregnant with our children, at night… every night, we’d read and sing and talk to her belly. She had read that that was important, and so it’s something that we did. When our first son, Conor, was born there were some immediate concerns. The doctors didn’t have time to let me cut his cord; they quickly cut it and rushed him out of the room and into a smaller room where they checked him out. It was after a few moments of him screaming at the top of his little lungs that they asked if I would want to cut the chord. I was so nervous and happy and scared… I began to talk and say ‘yes, I’d love to’. As soon as Conor heard my voice, not the voices of all the nurses and doctors talking, he stopped crying! He even slightly turned his head… and stopped crying! It was as though he recognized my voice. All that time talking, praying, and singing to him… had caused him to know me!
Look at Luke 1:46-55 and read this incredible song that Mary sang, while Jesus was in her womb:
Luke 1:46-47 – NKJV
46 And Mary said: “My soul magnifies the Lord,47 And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
Our souls are the part of us that relates to this world… it is our thoughts and emotions. Our spirit is the part of us that relates to God – the part that will live forever and ever. So what Mary is saying here is that “because my spirit has related to God – rejoiced in what He has done for me, I make a choice to magnify and worship the Lord”. Super cool. Because oftentimes we will come into a church service like this, with stuff on our minds… and, if we’re honest, we simply don’t feel like worshipping. But God is looking for those who will worship Him in Spirit and in Truth… and worship has NOTHING to do with how we feel… it has everything to do with what God has done for us!
Luke 1:48-55 – NKJV
48 For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.49 For He who is mighty has done great things for me, And holy is His name.50 And His mercy is on those who fear Him From generation to generation. 51 He has shown strength with His arm; He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. 52 He has put down the mighty from their thrones, And exalted the lowly. 53 He has filled the hungry with good things, And the rich He has sent away empty. 54 He has helped His servant Israel, In remembrance of His mercy, 55 As He spoke to our fathers, To Abraham and to his seed forever.”
When you read this song of praise it’s easy to see why Mary is so revered. Truly, she is a pretty neat young woman. I mean, she is totally humble, but at the same time she recognizes that “all generations will call me blessed”. Now obviously, some people throughout history have revered her a bit too much…to the point of praying to her and even worshipping her. This is not what she meant to happen! I’ve always found it interesting that the last recorded words we have from this amazing woman were those she spoke to the servants at the wedding in Cana of Galilee:
John 2:5 – “His mother said to the servants, ‘Whatever He says to you, do it.’”
You see, Mary was a special lady… blessed by God, for sure, to be chosen… but even she directed others to her Son… she knew that JESUS was the One to listen to… to GO to.
I want to throw a thought your way that, perhaps, you’ve never considered: I believe that Mary had a major impact on the life of Jesus. Of course, Jesus was ultimately the Son of God, but God chose for this particular woman to be His mother, to be the one that would have that place in His life during his growing up years. Why? Perhaps it was because His mother’s influence was something that would help shape His life and ministry… beginning with the words that she spoke and sang over Him in the womb!
She sings of how God would use her Son to;
- “show mercy to generation after generation” 50 And His mercy is on those who fear Him From generation to generation.
- “scatter the proud, because of the thoughts of their hearts” 51 He has shown strength with His arm; He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
- “topple the mighty from their thrones” 52 He has put down the mighty from their thrones
- “exalt the lowly” 52 … And exalted the lowly.
- “satisfy the hungry” 53 He has filled the hungry with good things
Some of these thoughts should ring a bell for those of us who are familiar with the life and teachings of Jesus Christ…
The very first recorded sermon Jesus ever preached, He stood up in the local synagogue, grabbed the Scroll of Isaiah and read; Luke 4:16-21
“Spirit of the Lord is upon Me”
“He has anointed Me”
“to preach the Gospel to the poor”
“to heal the broken hearted”
“to proclaim liberty to the captives”
“recovery of sight to the blind”
“to set at liberty those who are oppressed”
“to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord”
Probably His most famous sermon ever was what we call The Sermon on the Mount, in Matthew 5, where He declared;
“the poor in Spirit are the ones who are blessed” (vs 3)
“those who hunger and thirst for righteousness are blessed”(vs 6)
“those who show mercy… blessed” (vs 7)
His most famous miracles were probably when He physically fed thousands who were hungry… just like His mother’s song spoke of… that He’d “fill the hungry with good things”. And the times He “exalted the lowly” by bringing sight to the blind, eating & hanging out with sinners, and touching lepers.
As He hung on the Cross, He said seven specific statements that included:
- Extending grace to a sinner being murdered for his crimes by declaring that the guy would be forgiven and freed from the captivity of sin that very day and be with Him “in Paradise”.
- Declaring “It is finished” – speaking of the price being paid for redemption – the forgiveness of the sins of the world – freedom of the oppressed and captives of sins!
- “Take care of My mother” – a woman who without a living husband would need to be cared for, especially during a terrific grieving process.
As a matter of fact, I’d suggest that if you do a careful study of the seven letters that Jesus commands John to write to the seven churches of Revelation, you’ll find the very same themes He was known for throughout His life and ministry;
- God wants to show mercy to generation after generation
- God will scatter the proud, because of the thoughts of their hearts
- God will exalt the lowly
- God will satisfy those who are hungry… for HIM – even come in and dine with them in intimate relationship.
What’s my point? What if Mary’s famous song, the song she sang while He was still in her womb – was not only ‘prophetic’… but was something that would help shape and mold her Son’s life and ministry? What if Jesus’ song, like the song of the villagers I mentioned earlier, was something that was sung over Him from before He was born, during His life here, and even afterwards to this very day?
And when I think of that ‘song’…
…the ‘Jesus Song’…
…do I really know it…
… and am I truly singing it?
If there were a “song” that defined my life… your life… what would it be?
Jesus’ song was one that exalted the poor and lowly
…it sang of God’s amazing grace and incredible mercy to all generations
…it truly satisfied people’s deepest hunger.
What’s the song of my life doing?
- Is it a buddy-beer-drinking song that talks about all the good ‘ol friends I have in low places?
- Is it a romantic love song that speaks only of my relationship with my wife? “Groovy Kind Of Love…”
- Is it an annoying little commercial ‘diddy’ that speaks of nothing more than my materialistic concerns… and materialistic stuff? “Every kiss begins with ‘K’…”
If your life were put to music… what would YOUR song be?
“Livin’ On A Prayer…take my hand and we’ll make it I swear…”
“Very Superstitious… the writing’s on the wall”
“And I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Lookin’ For”
“You’re So Vain… you probably think this song is about you!”
Or is the song of our lives… WAY MORE THAN THAT? What if this Christmas we decided to make the song of our lives… the song of the Lamb… Jesus’ Song?
I’m not saying “Mary’s Song” should be our song… I’m talking about Jesus’ song… the song of the LAMB! The truth is… One day we’ll be singing it anyway… why not start singing it now
Revelation 15:2-3 – NKJV “And I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire, and those who have the victory over the beast, over his image and over his mark and over the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, having harps of God. Check out what they are doing… 3 They sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying:…
What exactly is this: SONG OF THE LAMB??? “Great and marvelous are Your works, Lord God Almighty! Just and true are Your ways, O King of the saints!”
Better yet… what if we made the song of our lives not just the song of the Lamb… but the Lamb Himself? What if Jesus, Himself could be the very core of who we are… the Song of our hearts? I wonder if that would… catch on? Have you ever had someone sing a song and it just got stuck in your head… and all day long you were singing that song? What if the song of our lives… the song of the Lamb… became contagious? Where others began to sing it too?
A couple of years ago, videos began to pop up on the Internet of a lone, shirtless dancer in the midst of an open sloping field at the 2009 Sasquatch Festival in eastern Washington. The video begins with one guy doing an improvised dance to the song “Unstoppable.” Though his form is jerky, his lack of inhibition is striking. I apologize for the lack of quality of this video clip, but check out what happens in this 3 minute video…
After a period of dancing alone, the shirtless dancing guy is joined by a brave dancing partner who syncs his own unique movements with the lone dancer. Before you know it, more and more people rush to join in the dance. In just three minutes it’s a dance party, and a movement is born.
In first-century Palestine, a similar movement was born. A solitary man from the fields of Galilee began to dance of life to a brand new SONG… so different and unique, so daring and innovative, that most at first could only stare in amazement, wondering who this astonishing Human could be. He was joined first by Peter and Andrew, next by Philip and Nathaniel. Then one by one, more and more excited followers began to join Him. “Come and see!” was the invitation. Jesus’ disciples came, saw, and followed the life-giving dance to the incredible Song of the ages, until dancer and dance became one.
“Our concert of praise
To Jesus we raise,
And all the night long
Continue the new evangelical SONG:
We dance to the fame
Of Jesus’ name,
The joy it imparts
Is heaven begun in our musical hearts.”
– Charles Wesley*
What does this dancing guy on a hillside have to do with following Jesus? A lot more than you think.
When I look a little closer at that crazy, weird video… I’m reminded of something. It reminds me of a crowd a long time ago… on another hillside… passing out loaves and fishes. Jesus set the story in motion, but His disciples passed the food. If they hadn’t, the crowd wouldn’t have eaten – or been fed.
Like all life’s decisions, to get something moving it must begin with a singular motion, then someone passes the motion, and the motion goes forward. The Song of the Lamb may start with an unconventional and unique way of moving. But the truth is, without someone to stand up and join in – to be the first singer – no true movement will be born.
If we all have a song that is resonating through our lives, then whose song do you feel moving with the rhythms of your body? Those singing the song of Christ… feel the Jesus way, share the Jesus truth, and live the Jesus life. And they pass the Song of the Lamb on to others.
So who is that first singer? Who is that risk taker willing to stand beside that unexpected innovator and be a singing fool? Would it be you? Would you lay down your coat and get up and actually let your very life sing for Jesus? In front of everybody else? Knowing you’d be following a way of living different from everyone else, knowing you’d be taking on a new identity as a mover and a shaker, knowing your newest Friend may well alienate you from the rest?
Someone who realizes that the Song of our lives… is actually the Person of Jesus Christ…
is a way paver,
a true disciple,
and a life sharer.
They choose a way to go even when no one else is going there. They know that to sing from the soul means to embody the Song itself.
We are the followers. HE is the Song, feel the rhythm, pass the motion, make some music. Get up and dance… because they’re playing our Song.
This Christmas – let us not just strive to keep “Christ” in “CHRISTmas”… but may we strive to keep the Christ in US!
May we keep “CHRIST Jesus” as the song of our hearts.
* Charles Wesley, Hymns for the Watch-night, Hymn 17, “Innocent Diversions,” in Hymns and Sacred Poems, vol. 2, pt. 1 (Bristol, UK: Farley, 1749), 141. Available online at Duke Divinity School Center for Studies in the Wesleyan Tradition, downloadable PDF updated 30 September 2010, http://divinity.duke.edu/initiatives-centers/scwt/wesley-texts/charles-wesley