Summary: Mary magnifies the Lord.
THE SONG OF MARY
A young woman, betrothed but not married, had a visitation from an angel and was pronounced “blessed amongst women” (Luke 1:28). In what way was Mary blessed? Well, she had “found favour with God” (Luke 1:30): Mary was going to be the mother of the Messiah (Luke 1:31-33).
Mary’s cousin’s husband, the priest Zachariah, had doubted the angel when he was told that his barren wife was going to bear the forerunner (Luke 1:18). The old man was struck dumb (Luke 1:20), and went home and hid himself (Luke 1:23). For her part, Mary did not disbelieve the angel, but wondered (Luke 1:34).
It is interesting to notice the different tone of Gabriel towards the priest, who should have known better (Luke 1:19-20), and the young woman who believed (Luke 1:35-37). Sometimes it is Christian professors who are slowest to acknowledge what God is doing in the midst of His people. Be careful, or the blessing may pass you by.
Already a believer, Mary submitted herself to the word of God (Luke 1:38). If we love Jesus, we will willingly surrender our souls and bodies to Him. Our faith is demonstrated not so much in what we say, but in our obedience to Him (James 2:18).
Mary also made haste to the house of Zachariah in the countryside. It may have been prudent to get out of town for a while, and to consult her godly cousin Elizabeth. More likely, the younger woman wished to congratulate Elizabeth.
There she was greeted by the older woman, who was immediately aware of Mary’s situation from the forerunner’s leap of joy in her own womb (Luke 1:41). Filled with the Holy Spirit, and in a loud voice, Elizabeth proclaimed three ways in which Mary was “blessed” (Luke 1:42; Luke 1:45). How can we mumble about these things when God has put a new song in our hearts?
Mary was again pronounced “blessed among women” (Luke 1:42). The fruit of her womb (Jesus) is also blessed. And Mary is blessed, says Elizabeth, as the one that believed (Luke 1:45), in contrast, no doubt, to Zachariah’s incredulity.
1. Mary immediately turned the focus away from herself to the Lord (Luke 1:46-47). This anticipates John the Baptist, who always pointed away from himself to Jesus (John 3:30). We should follow this example: we should glorify the Lord in our “soul” with our understanding, will, emotions and desires; whilst in the “spirit” of the new man we rejoice in God.
2. Far from exalting herself, Mary confessed her lowliness, and recognised that she was nothing without the blessing of God (Luke 1:48). This is the stance of the Christian: we are nothing, and can do nothing without Jesus (John 15:5). However, with God, nothing is impossible to us (Luke 1:37; Matthew 17:20).
3. Mary accepted the work of God within her, and acknowledged His holiness (Luke 1:49). Gratitude plays a big part in all true Christian prayer. We must count our blessings, and be thankful (Lamentations 3:22-23).
4. Mary contrasted the plight of the wicked with the blessedness of God’s people (Luke 1:51-53). Those who satiate themselves with the things of this world are sent away with nothing but woe (53; cf. Luke 6:24-25). Those who yearn after the things of God receive the blessing (Matthew 5:6).
5. Mary remembered the covenant mercy of God (Luke 1:50; Luke 1:54-55; cf. Exodus 20:6). God’s mercy extends to generations of those who reverence Him. Through the One who was conceived within her the promise that Abraham would be a blessing to the nations was about to be fulfilled (Genesis 12:1-3).