Mary’sSong of Praise


Todaywe continue our series in the Songs of Christmas. Today’s songis the most famous of the five songs recorded in Scripture atannouncement of Christ’s birth. The song is Mary’s Song,often called the Magnificat, the Latin word that begins Mary’spraise.

Asong can change the world.

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Justtwenty years ago, a country broke away from their domination by theSoviet Union in a bloodless revolution called The SINGING Revolution. It was the early days of the END of COMMUNISM in Europe. One of thefirst countries to break free was ESTONIA. From1987, a cycle ofmass demonstrations featuringspontaneoussinging eventuallycollected 300,000 Estonians in the national capital to sing nationalsongs and hymns that were strictly forbidden during the years of theSoviet occupation. This peaceful rally would be huge in any country,but it was especially large in Estonia where it represented 1/4of the country’s population!

TheSinging Revolution lasted over four years, with various protests andacts of defiance. In 1991, People acted as human shields to protectradio and TV stations from the Soviet tanks. People held hands andsang Estonian national songs that had been banned by the Soviets fordecades.

Andjust last year singing of certain songs was banned in Syria. Duringthe beginning of the Syrian uprising in the summer of 2011, IbrahimKashush was singing songs in Syrian squares — songs of protest.“Come on, Bashar, get lost,” he sang. “Take yourbrother Maher and take off. Get lost, get lost. Freedom is verynear.”

TheAsaad regime slit his throat, cut out his vocal cords, and threw hisbody into a river. All because of fear of a song.

(JayNordlinger, National Review Online, “The danger of song,” August 4, 2011 )

Song’scan be a dangerous thing!

Mary’sSong is a revolutionary song!

Itwas the very first Christmas Carol

Butit was also a revolutionary song. Dr. E. Stanley Jones, the greatMethodist scholar, author and evangelist, said that the Magnificatwas “themost revolutionary document in the history of the world.”

That’squite a statement to make, isn’t it? But consider this. Yearsbefore Dr. Jones made that statement, WilliamTemple, the Archbishop of Canterbury, instructedhis missionariesto India neverto read the Magnificat in public whenunbelievers were present. Why? Because in a country like India withall its poverty, this portion of Scripture, if taken out of context,would cause nothing but trouble.

(RayPritchard, “Jesus the Revolutionary,” Dec. 1991)

Let’sexamine the words of her song.

Luke1:46–55 (NIV84)

46And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord

47and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,

48for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From nowon all generations will call me blessed,

49for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is hisname.

50His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation togeneration.

51He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered thosewho are proud in their inmost thoughts.

52He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up thehumble.

53He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich awayempty.

54He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful

55to Abraham and his descendants forever, even as he said to ourfathers.”

Maryrejoices because of God’s power to change the unchangeable.


Mary’ssong consists of two main parts. The first is her personalreflection on God’s work in her own life. Mary speaks in thefirst person and blesses God for the mighty things that he has donein her life. In this first part, Mary describes God’s Power toChange ME.

Thedivision between the first and second section occurs after verse 50. The second section is the revolutionary part because it is here thatMary addresses the prophetic promises of Christ’s ultimate workto establish his kingdom and bring in righteousness. Mary’swords become stronger, with a sense of God’s coming judgment. She sings this part of her song in the third person and uses thefuture tense, so sure of the coming rule of righteousness that shespeaks as if it has already happened. In this part of the song, Marydescribes God’s Power to Change the WORLD.

Let’sexamine both parts of this powerful song.

Part1. God’sPower to Change ME.

Thissection is contained in verses Luke 1:46-49. The key is verse 49. “Forthe mightyone has done great things for ME.” “Mighty one” is possibly a reference to “ElShadai” so frequently used in the Old Testament.

Genesis17:1 Godpromises a SON to ABRAHAM. “WhenAbram was ninety-nine years old, the Lordappeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty; walk before meand be blameless.”

Psalm91:1 “Hewho dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow ofthe Almighty.”

Whatdid God do for Mary?

GodELEVATED the humble! “Forhe has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.” (Luke1:48)

GodREARRANGES things for those who trust in Him! This is the theme ofHANNAH’s SONG. 1 Samuel 2:1-10.

Itis not a coincidence that God chose for the birth of his son:

2poor teenagers, with no education, from Nazareth, not Jerusalem. Folks from Nazareth were looked down upon by the upscale,self-righteous people of Jerusalem. They had no money, noparent-training classes, no seminary education. The only thing thatMary and Joseph had going for them was their trustin God! Butthat was all that God needed!

WhyDid God Bless Mary in this way?

BecauseMary was humble in her heart. Notice the Biblical contrast betweenthe PROUD and HUMBLE. Mary notes humility of heart three times in herbrief song:

1:48“mindfulof the humble”

1:51“Scattersthose who are proud”

1:52“Hehas lifted up the hunble”

Shereflects a greater spiritual principle: The HUMBLE are RAISED, thePROUD are LOWERED

Proverbs3:34 “Hemocks proud mockers but gives grace to the humble.”

James4:6 “Buthe gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “Godopposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.””

Isaiah2:11–12 “Theeyes of the arrogant man will be humbled and the pride of men broughtlow; the Lordalone will be exalted in that day. The LordAlmighty has a day in store for all the proud and lofty, for all thatis exalted (and they will be humbled),

MARY’sSONG is the song of every many or woman who has nothing in this worldbut God!

Thisbrings us to the second major part of Mary’s song, found inLuke 1:51-55. Mary speaks of

God’sPower to Change the WORLD.

Marycontinues the theme of the ALMIGHTY and his POWER in verse 51. “Hehas performed mighty deeds with his arm.” (Luke1:51)

Performed”(NIV) is Greek ποιέω. Although it doesnot appear the same in many English translations, the word translated“has performed” in 1:51, is the same word as “hehas done” in 1:49. This word ties the two sections togetherreminding us that God’s power was at work in Mary’s lifeand also at work in His greater plan for the entire world to becarried out through the life, death and resurrection of his Son.

Anothersimilar use of words that tie these two sections together is theemphasis on God’s power or might. Notice 1:49 “mightyone”and 1:51 “mightydeeds”.

Marynow addresses the things in this WORLD that the Almighty will Changethrough the birth of the Son she is carrying.

ThePROUD will be brought low. 1:51 “Hehas scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.”

RULERSwill be brought down from their thrones. 1:52

TheHUNGRY will be filled. 1:53

ISRAELwill be remembered. 1:54

Wefind that there are TWO points of emphasis to be made as we considerGod’s power to be brought to the world through his Son. Theseblessings come NOWto ALL who humble themselves before God. Although we live in afallen world, there are blessings that come to those who submitthemselves to God and follow his Son. Our lives are always improvedwhen we love the Lord and follow Christ. Homes are better. Communities are improved as people follow the ways of God. Evencountries are better when the citizens of that country follow God’sways and love his Son. This is the reason that God has blessedAmerica. There have been so many here that Love God’s son!

TheBible demonstrates this principle of temporal blessings in thefollowing ways:

FAMILIESwhowalk with God will be blessed.

Proverbs3:33 “TheLord’scurse is on the house of the wicked, but he blesses the home of therighteous.”

Acts16:31 “Theyreplied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, an you will be saved—youand your household.””

NATIONSthatwalk with God will be blessed.

Proverbs14:34 “Righteousnessexalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.”

Americahas been blessed because of our Christian heritage.

Althoughwe can enjoy these blessings now, they will not come completely, norwill they come to the WHOLEWORLD untilJesus rules on the Davidic throne during His kingdom.

Zechariah14:3 “Thenthe Lordwill go out and fight against those nations as when he fights on aday of battle.”

Zechariah14:9 “Andthe Lordwill be king over all the earth. On that day the Lordwill be one and his name one.”

Philippians2:10-11, “Everyknee will bow….”


AsMary reflects on God’sblessings toher, she focuses on MERCY

Butas she reflects the proud,shefocuses on JUDGMENT

Ifyou are NEEDY, God’s MERCY is for YOU! God’s POWER isfor YOU. God will change things in your life! “Nothingis impossible with God” (Luke1:37)

Ifyou are PROUD, A relationship with Jesus will only come to those whoHumblethemselves. Godwill TURN THE TABLES on all of the things that you trust in.

ARelationship with JESUS is not a casual thing. Faith in Christ willproduce a REVOLUTION in your life.

Thereis no such thing as casual Christianity.

ComeJoin the REVOLUTION!