Summary: Mary had hidden the Word of God in her heart since childhood. When she was filled with the HS she was able to pour forth this song of praise to the out of the treasure of Scripture in her heart. Mary’s hymn of praise reflects her character & her emotional
LUKE 1: (39-45) 46-55
THE MAGNIFICAT / Mary’s Song of Praise
Mary had hidden the Word of God in her heart since childhood. When she was filled with the Holy Spirit she was able to pour forth this song of praise to the out of the treasure of Scripture in her heart. Mary’s hymn of praise reflects her character and her emotional response to God’s mighty work in her life. It also extends praise to God for His faithfulness to the righteous remnant down through history and for their future vindication. Her understanding of what God is now doing in her life causes her great joy. Her faith rests in a God that acts on behalf of the righteous to take care of them.
The song is poetic in structure and makes free use of Old Testament language, showing evidence of much contemplation on the part of Mary as she weighed all the things which Gabriel had told her. Mary was obviously taught the sacred writing from an early age and she remembered them well (2 Tim 3:15). Now in her meeting with Elizabeth God gave her additional evidence for her faith that He truly was working a most unusual event in her life. These encouraging words caused Mary’s full heart and mind to overflow in joyful praise.
[If you see resemblance in Mary’s song to Hannah’s prayer you are very astute. Both of these devote Jewish women were praising God for the gift of their first born. (See Hendrickson, Luke, NT Com. p 101-2).]
MARY MAGNIFIES GOD:
I. FOR RESPONDING TO HER HUMBLENESS, 1:46- 48a.
II. FOR WHAT HE HAS DONE FOR HER, 1:48b – 50.
III. FOR WHAT HE HAS DONE FOR MANKIND, 51-53.
IV. FOR KEEPING HIS COVENANT PROMISES, 54-55.
The personal part of the song extends to the end of verse 50. It contains three stanzas (or strophes). The first stanza is verses 46 & 47. It is the exuberant personal expression of the glad emotions awakened by Elizabeth’s presence and blessing which confirmed to Mary the angel’s announcement. There is deep truth here. God’s voice is made more sure to our weak faith when it is echoed by human lips and our inner-most hopes develop firmness when they are given spoken confirmation by another.
The song of praise begins in verses 46 & 47 with MARY MAGNIFYING GOD for what He was about to do and for her part in it. And Mary said: "My soul magnifies [exalts] the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
Mary’s first words are a burst of jubilant and wondrous praise from an overflowing heart. Silence is impossible and acknowledging speech a relief. Magnifies or exalts (êåãáëìíù) means to make great. The Latin translation (Vulgate) of the text has given to Mary’s song the title “The Magnificat” (Magnificat anima mea dominum – My soul magnifies the Lord).
Mary magnifies the Lord by proclaiming His goodness and bringing attention to Him. The praise comes from her both her soul and spirit, the totality of Mary’s inner being. Her soul dwelt on the greatness of God and on what He was doing for His people, and she gives Him exuberant thanksgiving for it. She had never seen God so great as He now showed Himself to be to her.
She rejoices by expressing her inner state of joyful well-being from meditating upon her experience. She proclaims Him, “God my Savior.” The redeeming God, who was the Lord of Mary’s life, was the object of her joyful praise. She knew deliverance from sin and enjoyment of fellowship with God for He was her. And so He would prove Himself to be, for God’s angel had previously said to her “you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins” (Mt 1:21).
Those who magnify the Lord are those whose spirits rejoices in God their Savior. If you are not rejoicing then look to see if you are magnifying the Lord. Are you are making God great and glorious in your inner being?
[Three points of parallelism: 1) Soul-Spirit, 2) Exalts–Rejoices, 3) Lord–Savior]
Verse 48 gives a reason for her exuberant praise. For He has had regard for the humble state of His bond slave;
The Lord looked down on Mary with loving care. He saw her as someone He could bless without it going to her head, without it making her proud. God could so bless Mary because she was humble before the Lord. In Mary’s eyes and the eyes of others she was no one special in the world. She was to become the wife of a village carpenter. Yet the God of Israel had chosen her as the mother of His Incarnate Son. Because of the humiliation Mary’s Son would experience, God chose a humble couple living in humble circumstances. With the coming of God’s Son the poor and down-trodden would have opportunity to see light and find freedom from sin’s bondage.