51 He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
Mary speaks as if God has already acted, that all these things in this and the following verses have come to pass, because this is what God has promised through Gabriel, and throughout centuries of scripture.
But you know what? They haven't come to pass. There are still chasms between proud and humble, rich and poor. So what happened?
A Messiah came who wasn't what Mary was expecting either. A Messiah who showed us the way of delivering these hopes of Mary.
Looking at the second verse:
"He has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts."
In reading commentaries for today's post, I came across one in Feasting on the Word that said pride is the central sin. From pride comes all other sins and ways of breaking relationships with God and each other.
Like when we know better than God in a certain situation (like that fruit in the Garden of Eden, which yes suggests sin existed before the fall. Which I'll explore another day.) That's pride, that's breaking relationship.
This verse is saying that even in the most secret thoughts of their hearts, pride is scattered, no longer a single piece, no longer whole, no longer a force.
This is a promise and a call. God calls not for destruction of the proud, but the destruction of their pride, an end to sin.
And thus, Mary's and Israel's hopes are fulfilled.
In writing about Isaiah 61, posted today, Rachel Held Evans writes about this also. A highly recommended read, even if it does give away next week's post :)