And Mary said,
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
And his mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
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.
He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”
And Mary remained with her about three months and returned to her home.
Jesus has come and Jesus will come again!
Advent is the season set aside for us to celebrate the arrival of Jesus, and look ahead to his second coming. This year, over these four weeks, we have chosen to take a look at the four “songs” of Advent in Luke’s gospel. We have zoomed in on Zechariah’s song as his tongue was loosed after his son, John the Baptist, was born. We have examined the angels’ song as the heavens broke through with a declaration of redemption of God’s creation. Today, we read and ponder Mary’s song - called the Magnificat.
Mary’s song happens during the meeting between Mary and Elizabeth, which takes place in the hill country of Judea, somewhere outside of Jerusalem, a three-day journey of some 80-100 miles from Nazareth. For Luke – a significant moment of this event is that John the Baptist and Jesus meet symbolically through their mothers. John starts “pointing” to Jesus even in the womb, just as predicted (verses 15-17). Mary will stay with Elizabeth for three months (verse 56).
About The Song
This song is a song of praise and trust. Mary praised God for what He was about to do and for the part she was privileged to play in His plan. Her heart position is inspiring. The action of God is the center focus of this song.
Her words are a poetic summary from scripture - filled with phrases and praises from the Old Testament. There are echoes of the Torah and Hannah rejoicing, but the majority are psalms of David woven together in an exuberant poetic style. King David is Mary’s ancestor. Like the Old Testament writers, Mary praises the God who is faithful and brings His Word to fulfillment.
Believe God’s Word
Mary’s obedience is clear in this story – we see her desire to observe the sign the angel told her about in verse 36. Mary “went with haste” to obey where God is taking her (verse 39).
Upon greeting her relative Elizabeth, we are told, “Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit” (verse 41). This means that God directs Elizabeth’s remarks and emotions. She confirms the blessing upon Mary for taking God at His word in verse 45. Mary “believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord”.
We must believe that God does what He says. This is a major theme of the entire narrative of Jesus’ birth. The Christmas story shows over and over that joy and blessing come to those who believe that God does what He says. God still interrupts our lives – He steps into our human experiences – and we should rejoice and trust that He will do as He promised. This type of surrender and trust is contrary to corrupted human nature.
Mary’s trust in God’s word was immediate – trusting that all things are possible with God. Her response was remarkable (verse 38). Do you know God’s Word? Do you know His promises? Can you trust His work for your own good even when the circumstances are challenging? (Romans 8:28)
We Have Been Invited Into God’s Story
In the advent story, the child is at the center of God’s fresh activities. Jesus is still the center of all of God’s activities. It is all about Jesus! God’s great cosmic narrative is the redemption–the restoration–of His creation through His Son Jesus. He involves us in that plan. We should possess amazement in being a part of God’s astounding events.
Mary and Elizabeth were amazed that they were sharing in the blessings of God. Mary’s song (verses 46-55) reflects this amazement. God was at work – and it was a big work – and He chose to use some willing servants. God is still at work – His plan is way bigger than you or me – and He saves us and calls us into His mission. Ephesians 2:10 says it well,
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
He didn’t save you just to keep you out of hell. He saved you by His grace and adopted you into His missional family – that you might be involved in His work – becoming an ambassador for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20).
God Owes You Nothing
God owes you nothing but you owe Him everything. When humility of heart exists, there is amazement and gratitude for God’s work. The Lord had looked down on Mary with loving care. He saw the low economic and social state in which she had lived. Everything has now changed for her. God had placed her in a state of blessing. She had a sense of the magnitude of this work of God and her role in it. Others would call her blessed and yet she did nothing to earn or deserve this. The almighty God had caused it with His mighty acts. So Mary praises Him and calls Him holy.
This kind of humility is a natural product of reflection about who God is. A deep sense of respect, awe, and wonder inspires this humility. After all, He is the creator, who is responsible for our being a part of creation. We should appreciate the honor of what it means to know God. We must revel in His grace – undeserved, unmerited, unearned favor.
May We Live Our Lives In Glad Service To The One Who Saved You!
Our Via Communities are our primary discipleship tool. This section is to help you as you discuss the sermon with others in your life. It is designed for communities to utilize but can be used to facilitate a conversation between spouses, good friends, co-workers, etc., as we live to be faithful to God’s mission in his world.
This simple acronym (BLESS, B - Bless, L - Listen, E - Eat, S - Speak, S - Sabbath) should help you to frame your life according to the great commandment “love God” (Matthew 22:37) and the expression of that commandment in loving your neighbor (John 13:34). Each time you meet, start by discussing the rhythms of your life according to B.L.E.S.S.
Intentionally bless: Christ-followers, non-believers and those different than you.
Listen to what God is saying to you, through His Word and others.
Share a meal with a Christ-follower and also a non-believer.
Talk to God through prayer and to others about Jesus through witness.
Be intentional about taking time to both rest and recreate.
The Gospel is powerful. The good news of Jesus changes us. This section is to record the ways you are noticing the good news of Jesus transforming your life. Jot notes to help you remember.
As we examined God’s Word, in what ways was His Word examining you?
Describe how Jesus is becoming more central in your life.
What does trusting in Jesus look like for you this week?