Magnificat anima mea Dominum. So begins the Latin version of Mary’s song of praise in Luke 1:46-55, from which comes the song’s traditional title “Magnificat”. In her song Mary magnifies the Lord for his mighty works of salvation, giving prophetic praise to that supreme work of redemption God will accomplish through the son still in her womb, Jesus Christ.
Even as she magnifies the greatness of God, Mary recognizes what she calls her “humble estate” (v.48). She was a common peasant girl from an out-of-the-way place few had heard of, Nazareth of Galilee. She had no accomplishments, status, or wealth to boast in. Yet the Lord chose Mary, this unremarkable, ordinary girl to be the mother of the Son of God!
As humble as her outward circumstances were, in her inspired words Mary expresses an even greater lowliness – a spiritual impoverishment. She calls God her “Savior” (v.47), and speaks of his “mercy” (vs.50, 54). In this way she confesses her need for God’s grace. “Humble estate” describes both her outward condition and her spiritual humility.
Until we see our desperate spiritual need before God, we cannot magnify him nor his mighty works of salvation. But by nature we are not poor in spirit (Matt. 5:3); we think we are rich and need nothing (Rev. 3:17). And we live in a day that encourages self-promotion rather than self-lowering. Someone has said this is the age of the self and the selfie. But until by God’s grace we recognize our spiritual poverty, that is, until are hearts are humble before the Lord as Mary’s was, we cannot truly magnify God as our Savior. Only when we find in Christ our treasure, life, and righteousness can we then exalt with joy in the glory and greatness of God.
As much as God exalted Mary by giving her the matchless privilege of bearing the baby Jesus, her true lifting up was the eternal life and forgiveness of sins she received through the Son in her womb.
At the evening service we looked at the Scripture’s teaching on baptism, including a brief consideration of why our children ought to receive this covenant sign and seal.
Soli Deo Gloria!