Acts of Advent 8

The second act of advent is activism in the kingdom work of God. We now look at what Mary thinks the kingdom will bring and so today I bolden the Magnificat’s appropriate portions that spell out what that kingdom means:

46 And Mary said:

“My soul glorifies the Lord 47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me-holy is his name.
50 His mercy extends to those who fear him,from generation to generation.
51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.

54 He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful
55 to Abraham and his descendants forever, even as he said to our fathers.”

Notice how “justice-shaped” the kingdom vision of God is. When God’s Messiah is established — and we can all agree that Jesus ought to be on the throne at least in the church — on the throne then there will be justice in these senses:

1. The proud will be shattered in their inmost heart and thoughts. (This anticipates self-denial.)
2. Unjust rulers will be brought down — so activism means working against unjust rule.
3. The oppressed humble will be lifted up — so activism means working for the humble.
4. Unjust well-fed will be drained of their excesses — so activism means working against those who unjustly have too much.
5. The hungry will be filled — so activism means working for the hungry.

Genuine kingdom activism, which works from under the rule of Christ and in the community Christ is establishing, works against injustice and works for justice — and creates a community where justice rules.

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than fifty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.

  • RJS

    Is this justice and equalization (working against those who unjustly have too much) or is it institution of the Kingdom of God?
    Justice is co-opted to humanism and social gospel. Kingdom of God is something radically new – the institution of a people of God. This people will be just …

  • Erika Haub

    Mercy was just reciting verses 52-53 tonight at dinner–they were her memory verses this last week.