Mary can give us some great insights into the Christian life as can many other of God’s people. In this post, I will mainly concentrate on the Magnificat but we need to put that in the setting that is found in the Bible. Luke writes a very careful account of the historical events found in the Gospel, and we must look at these if we are to understand the importance of what he has to say. When we first encounter Mary in this gospel it is when the Angel Gabriel speaks to her. Here we find Mary encountering the unexpected and yet she responds in faith. She finds herself as an unmarried young woman being told that she will become pregnant by an act of God. This child that she will bear will be destined for great things because he is the son of God, he will sit on David’s throne forever and as his name implies he will save his people from their sins. Mary accepts this astounding news, her only question is how can this come about. Mary is assured by Gabriel that this will all come about when the Holy Spirit comes upon her. Mary says that she is the Lord’s servant and is willing to do his will.
Now we are ready to look at the Magnificat, which is part of the interchange between Mary and Elizabeth, Elizabeth was fill filled with the Spirit when Mary greeted her. Elizabeth knew that Mary was bearing a child of great importance, she acknowledged that the child was the Lord himself. it is at this point that Mary utters the words that she is so famous for.
46 And Mary said:
“My soul glorifies the Lord 47and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, 48 for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, 49for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is his name. 50 His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. 51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. 52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. 53 He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. 54 He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful 55 to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.” Luke 1:46-55
Mary utters this song of praise which is saturated with influences from the Old Testament, particularly Hannah’s song found in 1Samuel 2. here Mary models for us what it means to let the word of God dwell in us richly ( see Colossians 3:16). Notice that Mary praises God for all his goodness, she praises God with her whole being. She speaks of God as her Saviour, Mary knew that as a sinful human being she needed a Saviour and rejoiced in the fact of God’s salvation. She knew that she came from a humble background but the Lord had been mindful of her, Mary knows that the blessing that has been bestowed upon her meant that all futures generations would call her blessed, here we are over two thousand years later still acknowledging that Mary was blessed and that her son is the fount of all blessing. Mary praises God because he has done great things for her and this, in turn, causes her to reflect on the fact that God is Holy, in fact, Mary rejoices in the fact that God is holy. God is not only Holy but he is also merciful and shows his mercy to those in need. He is the one who can change history so that righteousness is vindicated. Mary believes that God is starting to set things right and we know that will be completed through the second coming of Christ. Mary believes in a God who can and does overthrow unjust rulers. Mary roots all of this in the fact that God is keeping his covenant promises to Abraham, God always keeps his word and Mary knows this and praises God for it.
We can learn Much from this account of Mary both from her encounter with the Angel Gabriel and from her encounter with Elizabeth. Mary had a heart that was open to God and she was able to hear his voice, we too need to be able to listen to God as he speaks to us. secondly, Mary was transformed in her mind by the way she allowed the Word of God to dwell within her. We can see this very clearly in the Magnificat because it echoes so many Old Testament passages, we need to be like her and spend time reading our Bibles and meditating on what we read/. Thirdly she knew that because God was at work in her life, she was being transformed and this would affect not just herself but future generations. we need to recognise that as God works in us we do not need to repeat all the mistakes of past generations and we too can be a blessing to those who follow us. Mary knew that she was a child of God and therefore could live in the light of that fact. We also need to know that as Children of God we are adopted into his family and live in the light of the assurance that this can bring us. Perhaps most importantly we see that Mary had a heart that wanted to worship the Lord, we should ask ourselves whether we are like Mary and desire to be those who worship the true and living God.