Summary: Mary’s soul magnified the Lord at the sign of His coming to institute a revolution of love!
“Mary’s Song” Luke 1:46-55
“A Call to Revolution: Mary’s hymn of response to the angel is the famous Magnificat, so named by the Roman church for the key word in the Latin translation of the first line of this prayer of praise offered by Mary. Mary, in her naturalness, unself-consciousness and humility, was now able to sing about how proud she was that God had chosen her. In her true humility, she praised God that she was especially blessed.
There is a danger in trying to spiritualize the Magnificat. These are the most revolutionary words ever spoken. Through the Messiah, the mighty will be brought low; the humble, the lowly, will be exalted. William Temple, Archbishop of Canterbury, warned his missionaries to India never to read the Magnificat in public. Christians were already suspect in that country and they were cautioned against reading verses so inflammatory.
Jesus, the ultimate revolutionary, completely reverses all human values. What Mary was prophesying about her unborn son is terrifying to the establishment, whoever and wherever they are. They cannot hear these words gladly. We may attempt instead to spiritualize these verses, but deep down we all know that Jesus has come to instigate the kind of revolution we need.
Henry James, great novelist of the past, said in Ivan Turgenieff, "Life is, in fact, a battle. Evil is insolent and strong; beauty enchanting but rare; goodness very apt to be weak; folly very apt to be defiant; wickedness to carry the day; imbeciles to be in great places; people of sense in small (a comforting thought); and mankind generally unhappy, but the world as it stands is no illusion, no fanaticism, no evil dream of the night; we wake up to it again forever and ever; we can neither forget it nor deny it nor dispense with it; that’s what the world is."
José Ortega y Gasset, one of the greatest of all Spanish writers, said, "Before long there will be heard throughout the planet a formidable cry rising like the howling of innumerable dogs to the stars asking for someone or something to take command." And that’s why Jesus has come—to take command to lead the revolution, an incredible revolution, unlike Mao’s or Marx’s or Castro’s; a revolution of love.” (The Preacher’s Commentary)
Today, we will look at the “Magnificat,” that is, Mary’s song or Mary’s hymn as it is sometimes called. In Psalm 103:1 David writes, “Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.” (NIV) Mary’s song echoes these very sentiments with regard to seeing the salvation of her people and of herself.
In simplicity, in humble adoration, in amazement of what God was doing in her life through the child which she carried, Mary’s soul exploded with joy, wonder, and awe, as the sacred child she now carried.
In Mary’s song is reflected the pure grandeur of the meaning of the coming of the Christ Child. Her soul rejoices because God had been mindful of her humble state. So too, in Christ we have been given the invitation to likewise rejoice that God has not forgotten us in our humble state, but that He has stooped low into the mire of the human experience.