Advent Devotional Day 23: Luke 1.46-55
God’s Glory in Mary’s Song
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.”
There are very few devotional exercises more edifying than studying the great songs of Scripture. Sons are meant to lift our eyes and turn our affections toward the One who has done great things for us, because He is great. After Mary learns of her pregnancy by the Holy Spirit, and that she will give birth to the Son of God, then visits her cousin Elisabeth, Mary bursts from the depths of her soul into this beautiful song. This is a song that is bursting with he glory of God as He has revealed Himself in the still very new incarnation in her own womb. We would do well to focus on the attributes of God that are recounted in this “Magnificat” by Mary which are revealed in the incarnation of God the Son.
Before any of the formal attributes of God, we have God’s salvation magnified: “my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!” The depths of the worship of Mary wells up from her soul because of the saving action of Yahweh through this baby that was in her womb. The Lord’s saving actions in this song flow directly from His attributes. Who He is brings forth what He does. “For He has looked on the humble estate of His servant.” This is the mercy of God toward his people. Not only His incredible mercy toward Mary herself, because she was a sinner in need of salvation as well, but toward all of His people, for the incarnation would be the means by which God would come in mercy to deliver His people who were languishing in darkness.
We also see God’s power in the incarnation. “For He who is mighty has done great things for me,” and “he has scattered the proud in their hearts, He has brought down the mighty from their thrones.” God’s power and might are seen in the fact that He and He alone can save His people, and through the incarnation He casts down every earthly power who would claim to take His place. God exalts Himself through the incarnation as both the only Savior and the only King.
The holiness of God is manifested in the incarnation as well. He who comes to save His people from their sins must deal with sin itself. We know this from texts like Isaiah 53. This baby in Mary’s womb was not only coming as a conquering King, He was coming as the ultimate sacrifice for sin so that God’s holiness, justice, mercy and love could be magnified in all of the earth. This baby in Mary’s womb came because God’s holiness must be satisfied.
God’s eternal blessedness is seen in this song. When someone refers to God’s blessedness, they are referring to that attribute of God by which He needs nothing at all but has all life, glory, sufficiency, and happiness in Himself eternally. God receives nothing from creatures, but rather they drink from His fullness: “He has filled the hungry with good things.” Yahweh is not like the gods of the other nations who need something from their worshippers. He doesn’t require obedience in order to gain something from His people. Rather, Yahweh Himself is the One who “fills the hungry” because He has all life within Himself. He is perfectly bountiful and instead of needing things from His creatures He fills His creatures! This is abundantly clear in regard to the incarnation and our subsequent salvation. God doesn’t require something of us in order for us to be saved, He has filled us! He has come. He has done it. He is the only One who could because He is the eternally blessed One.
The last attribute I see in this text is Covenant-Faithfulness. Throughout this series we have focused on God’s purposes from the creation of the world onward. We have looked at the themes of His promises and all that those promises would produce. The Seed of the woman was coming to crush the serpent’s head and bring salvation to His people. This Baby in Mary’s womb is the consummate fulfillment of every one of those promises. The incarnation is evidence of God’ covenant faithfulness because the incarnation of Christ is what the whole story was about from the beginning! The Son of God who dwelt in Mary’s womb is the Serpent crushing Seed, He is the nation-blessing Son of Abraham, He is the Son of Judah and David. The whole story comes to its climax in Him as He lives, dies, rises, ascends and returns to bring about the restoration of all creation! This is an outshining of the remarkable faithfulness of God! We have a God who keeps His promises. His Son has come.
The incarnation of Christ led Mary to worship. It led her to extoll the mighty attributes of the living God, the God who was now dwelling in her womb. The incarnation should bring us to the same soul-stirring and heart-thrilling form of worship. We should be able to say with Mary: “My soul magnifies the Lord! And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!”