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Magnify the Lord

Magnify the Lord

Luke 1:46b-55

Mary’s Song. We often call it the Magnificat! It’s a song of praise to God in light of the blessings He lavished on Mary and all of Israel! She sings, “My soul magnifies the Lord!”

Of course, to “magnify” is to “make great.”

Think of a magnifying glass. It’s not that a magnifying lens makes the thing you’re looking at any larger than it actually is. It’s just that when you magnify something, it occupies more of your vision. That which you are magnifying is all you can see at that moment.

So it was for Mary as her soul “magnifies” the Lord. It’s not that she could ever hope to make the Lord any greater than He already was/is. It’s just that she was totally occupied with his greatness. What he had done for her, and what he was in the process of doing for his people – it was all so great that when she stopped to think about it, she couldn’t help but sing.

Mary serves as a good example for us in this regard. It’s good to stop and think about what the Lord has done for us and what he continues to do. That’s what we do here in church, isn’t it? When we stop and think of what God has done for us by sending Jesus into the world to take on flesh, our flesh... we can’t help but to join Mary in her song of praise.

“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.”

God looked on the humble estate of Mary... her condition in life... her situation. And despite the fact that she was just an ordinary person... a “young woman” - we’d say she was a teenager... God chose her over every other woman on the face of the planet at that moment, to be the mother of Christ. That realization alone gave Mary reason enough to “magnify” the Lord.

And it reminds us... that God chooses the humble... the plain... the ordinary... to carry out his will and ways. Just look at us - you and I - are there any princes, or princesses here? We’re regular people! Right? We could go so far as to say that we’re nobody special that God should look on us so kindly... and bless us. And yet he is our Savior. What a joy! In our ordinary, humble circumstance... God chose us, too.

Showing us his loving-kindness... his mercy... his grace... time and again.

He lifts up the lowly, he exalts those of humble estate. It’s the very foundation of the scriptural truth of 2 Corinthians 12:10: “When we are weak, we are strong!” God’s power working through us... is more important than our strength, or our ability.

God exalts those of humble estate – and if truth be told, you and I have a lot to be humble about! When I look in the mirror, I see a person who fails himself, who fails his family, who fails his neighbors and his God. That’s me. That’s you, too. We are exactly what God’s Word professes us to be: poor, miserable sinners. But those are exactly the kind of people God lifts up! He fills the hungry with good things – things like righteousness, things like forgiveness. Mercy. Peace. I hunger after such things... how about you? I need those things in my life.

What Mary is singing about here is what’s sometimes called the “Great Reversal,” the great change in position that God brought about in Christ. The high and mighty will be brought low. The poor and lowly will be lifted up. Just the opposite, just the reverse, of the way the world sees things. God brings it about in the person of Christ.

Of course, Jesus himself came from the heights of heaven to be born as one of us. It was as if he’d descended into the depths of Hell. He laid aside his glory... even humbling himself and becoming obedient unto death, even death on a cross. Christ was brought low, born in a manger – lifted up on a cross and then brought low and laid in a tomb – only to be lifted up again... resurrected... to sit at the right hand of God the Father. Jesus is the Holy One of God. The ONLY ONE who could take our place, suffer death - and to offer us life!

This is the Great Reversal: and it’s what God accomplished in the little baby wrapped in swadding clothes, lying in a manger.

Mary sings praise to the Lord for being faithful to his promises, faithful to his covenant, faithful to his word. God had made a promise to Abraham, saying, “In your seed, Abraham, all the nations of the earth will be blessed.” One of the descendants of Abraham, one from the nation of Israel, would be the one to fulfill this promise. And here he is, in Mary’s womb... Jesus... the seed of Abraham who saves and delivers and redeems those who believe, and repent.

That’s something to sing about! In Jesus the lowly are lifted up. In Jesus God’s mercy is made flesh, from generation to generation.

So magnify the Lord, and let us exalt his name together!

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