Luke 1:46-55 - Mary's Song - The Magnificat.

Luke 1:46-55; Mary's Song - The Magnificat.

Luke 1:46-55 (NIV)  And Mary said: "My soul glorifies the Lord 
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of 
the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will 
call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for 
me--holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from 
generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he 
has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has 
brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He 
has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away 
empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to 
Abraham and his descendants forever, even as he said to our fathers."  

Mary's song of praise is called "The Magnificat" (from the Latin 
word for "magnify"). [Wiersbe Expository Outlines] 

This hymn of praise is known as the Magnificat because in the 
Latin Vulgate translation the opening word is Magnificat, which means 
"glorifies." [NIV SB] 

Mary knew the Scriptures, for there are at least fifteen OT 
quotations or allusions in her song. [Wiersbe Expository Outlines] 

There are 15 discernible quotations from the OT in this poem, 
showing how much the OT was known and loved in the home in which Jesus 
was reared. [Ryrie SB] 

Mary's song, called the Magnificat, makes free use of the Song 
of Hannah (1 Sam. 2:1-10) [Believer's SB] 

In Mary's song, as in Hannah's song, these holy women were 
filled with wonder to see that "the proud, the mighty, the rich" were 
not chosen to usher in the greatest events, but the lowly. They sang 
of this as no capricious movement, but as a great principle of God 
by which he delights to put down the mighty from their seats and to 
exalt them of low degree. In both songs the ultimate focus is on 
Christ. In Hannah's song, he is "Jehovah's King"; in Mary's song, he is 
my Saviour. [Jamieson, Fausset, And Brown Commentary] 

Some compare this song with that which her name-sake Miriam, the 
sister of Moses, sung, upon the triumphant departure of Israel out of 
Egypt, and their triumphant passage through the Red Sea; others think 
it better compared with the song of Hannah, upon the birth of 
Samuel, which, like this, passes from a family mercy to a public and 
general one. . (Matthew Henry's Commentary) 

From a contemplation of His goodness to HER, she enlarges her 
views to a contemplation of His goodness and power IN GENERAL, and to 
a celebration of the praises of God for ALL that he has done to 
all people. (Barnes' Notes) 

Her praise poem has four distinct parts: (1) personal adoration 
and thanks (vv. 46-48); (2) celebration of God's attributes (vv. 
49-50); (3) acclaim for correcting injustice (vv. 51-53); and (4) praise 
for the mercy shown Israel (vv. 54-56). [Victor Bible Reader's 

Some have questioned whether a young girl, probably in her early 
teens at the time, could have spontaneously produced a poem of such 
depth and so filled with biblical allusion. Yet there are at least two 
things to remember. The Jews in the first century remained at heart a 
theocratic community. It was their relationship with God that gave them not 
only their identity as a people, but also was the foundation of their 
hope for the future. These were truly a people of the Book, and 
biblical phrases and images were woven into daily speech, memorized and 
sung, and discussed in the synagogue every Sabbath. 
The second thing to remember, of course, is that Mary was a 
young woman of deep faith and spiritual insight. She was truly an 
exceptional person, as we quickly learn as we see her response to the 
announcement by the Angel Gabriel (1:38). Not every young woman in 
first-century Galilee could have composed the Magnificat. But as Mary traveled 
to visit her cousin Elizabeth in Judah's hill country, a journey of 
some three to four days on foot, Mary pondered her experience and 
Mary did compose these wonderful words of praise. 
What a challenge to us in our day. If we expect to be used by 
God, we need not be great in the eyes of the world. But we must 
saturate ourselves with the Scriptures, till the thoughts and concepts 
revealed by God become an integral part of our hearts and minds too. 
[Victor Bible Background Commentary] 

There is a blessing for those of us who learn to believe in 
spite of doubt. There is blessing for those of us who respond as Mary 
did with perfect, childlike trust. 
Mary's faith-response is even more striking when we realize 
that, according to Old Testament Law, her pregnancy while still single 
might well be dealt with by stoning! And certainly her fianc, who 
would know the child was not his, would hardly go through with the 
marriage. Yet all these things Mary was willing to trust God to work out! 
Instead of worry, joy filled Mary's heart. And her praise song, 
known as the Magnificat (vv. 46-55), was filled with praise for God 
and with a vivid awareness of His greatness and love. What was 
Mary's vision of God? 
[He] has done great things (v. 49).
Holy is His name (v. 49).
His mercy extends to those who fear Him (v. 50).
He has performed mighty deeds (v. 51).
[He] has lifted up the humble (v. 52).
He has filled the hungry (v. 53). [Victor Teacher's Commentary]

Have you ever noticed how saints and songs seem to go together? 
It's hard for people of God to congregate without spontaneously 
enjoying the atmosphere of praise, thanks, and worship that music 
provides. One mark of a Spirit-filled believer is "speaking . . . in 
psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your 
heart to the Lord" (Ephesians 5:19). Even if you can't sing, you can 
still speak forth the majestic praises of God that are in your heart! 
When Mary shared with Elizabeth the good news about a Savior to 
be born through her, the result was a song (1:46-55). When 
Zechariah's voice returned after his faith-inspired declaration of his son's 
name, he couldn't help but sing ( 1:67-79). When Jesus was born in 
Bethlehem, the heavenly hosts of heaven declared the news in a song 
Do you feel like singing (or speaking forth) the praises of your 
Lord right now? Then read out loud those songs of Mary, Zechariah, 
and the angels in today's reading. Better yet, compose one of your 
own. Praising God in song is never out of date--even if you can't 
carry a tune! [Your Daily Walk SB] 

There's a vast difference between calling Mary the "mother of my 
LORD," as Elizabeth did, and the "mother of God." In Jesus, God took on 
human nature, and that human nature was derived from His mother, Mary. 
God the Son, like God the Father, eternally existing, had no mother. 
In no way can His divine nature be attributed to Mary, who was 
merely a creature like you and me. 
It's this that Luke seemed to emphasize in his lovely portrait 
of Mary. She was a creature, like you and me. But her unusual 
response to God sets us an example. 
Mary is an example of submission. "I am the LORD's servant," she 
said. "May it be to me as you have said" (v. 38). Mary knew full well 
what she risked as an unmarried woman: rejection by Joseph, the scorn 
and contempt of her neighbors. Yet Mary did not hesitate. She 
committed herself totally to the LORD's plan for her life. 
Mary is an example of humility. Twice in that poem known as 
Mary's "Magnificat," she mentions her "humble state" (vv. 48, 52). 
Though to Mary alone was granted the privilege of being mother of the 
Messiah, the "One desired by women" (Dan. 11:37), she never became proud. 
Many men of Scripture through whom God worked succumbed later to 
pride. Mary, who had more to boast of than any of them, never lost her 
spirit of selfless dependence on God. 
Mary is an example of thankfulness. She responded to God's touch 
with her whole soul and spirit, praising and exalting the LORD. She 
saw in God's work in her own life evidence of His love for all His 
people, and was thrilled with God's might, grace, mercy, and 
Today we should honor Mary, and thank God for her simple trust. 
But the best way to honor Mary is not to pray to her. Rather the 
best way to honor Mary is to model our own relationship with God on 
the traits she displayed. The acts of recognition of which Mary 
would approve remain the same: to readily submit to our LORD, to 
nurture a humble spirit, and to express our appreciation to God in 
praise, as Mary did so long ago. [The 365-Day Devotional Commentary] 

It has been said that religion is the opiate of the people; but, 
as Stanley Jones said, "the Magnificat is the most revolutionary 
document in the world."  
It speaks of three of the revolutions of God.  
(i) He scatters the proud in the plans of their hearts. That is 
a moral revolution. Christianity is the death of pride. Why? 
Because if a man sets his life beside that of Christ it tears the last 
vestiges of pride from him.  
Sometimes something happens to a man which with a vivid, 
revealing light shames him. O. Henry has a short story about a lad who was 
brought up in a village. In school he used to sit beside a girl and they 
were fond of each other. He went to the city and fell into evil ways. 
He became a pickpocket and a petty thief. One day he snatched an 
old lady's purse. It was clever work and he was pleased. And then he 
saw coming down the street the girl whom he used to know, still 
sweet with the radiance of innocence. Suddenly he saw himself for the 
cheap, vile thing he really was. Burning with shame, he leaned his head 
against the cool iron of a lamp standard. "God," he said, "I wish I 
could die." He saw himself.  
Christ enables a man to see himself. It is the deathblow to 
pride. The moral revolution has begun.  
(ii) He casts down the mighty--he exalts the humble. That is a 
social revolution. Christianity puts an end to the world's labels and 
Muretus was a wandering scholar of the middle ages. He was poor. 
In an Italian town he took ill and was taken to a hospital for 
waifs and strays. The doctors were discussing his case in Latin, never 
dreaming he could understand. They suggested that since he was such a 
worthless wanderer they might use him for medical experiments. He looked 
up and answered them in their own learned tongue, "Call no man 
worthless for whom Christ died!"  
When we have realized what Christ did for all men, it is no 
longer possible to speak about a common man. The social grades are 
(iii) He has filled those who are hungry ... those who are rich 
he has sent empty away. That is an economic revolution. A 
non-Christian society is an acquisitive society where each man is out to amass 
as much as he can get. A Christian society is a society where no 
man dares to have too much while others have too little, where every 
man must get only to give away.  
There is loveliness in the Magnificat but in that loveliness 
there is dynamite. Christianity begets a revolution in each man and 
revolution in the world. [Barclay Commentary] 

Those who see their need of Christ, and are desirous of 
righteousness and life in him, he fills with good things, with the best 
things; and they are abundantly satisfied with the blessings he gives. 
He will satisfy the desires of the poor in spirit who long for 
spiritual blessings, while the self-sufficient shall be sent empty away. 
[Matthew Henry Commentary] 

When the Bible tells us that God hath scattered the proud in the 
imagination of their hearts we see a beautiful and powerful principle of 
Scripture here.  The proud person, the one who has refused to allow God to 
lead and guide in their life, are like a sheep without a shepherd.  
They run after the imaginations of their own heart totally out of 
God's plan for their life headed for destruction no matter how 
wonderful they may think their life of delusion is going.