46 And Mary said: “My soul exalts the Lord, 47 And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. 48 “For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave; For behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed. 49 “For the Mighty One has done great things for me; And holy is His name. 50 “And His mercy is upon generation after generation Toward those who fear Him. 51 “He has done mighty deeds with His arm; He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their heart. 52 “He has brought down rulers from their thrones, And has exalted those who were humble. 53 “He has filled the hungry with good things; And sent away the rich empty-handed. 54 “He has given help to Israel His servant, In remembrance of His mercy, 55 As He spoke to our fathers, To Abraham and his descendants forever.” 56 And Mary stayed with her about three months, and then returned to her home.
Mary's hymn of praise is known as the "Magnificat," so named for the Latin term meaning, “proclaims the greatness.”
When Mary says, “My soul exalts the Lord” in verse 1, “exalt” means to “make great.” Mary magnified, or made great, the Lord’s name for His miracle work in both her and Elizabeth’s lives.
Mary praises the God who notices her, “for He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave” (v. 48).
She declares that God is mighty and “has done great things for (her)” (49).
God is set apart; He is holy, both in character and mere name (v. 49).
There is a beautiful balance in Mary's hymn of praise. She expressed humble recognition of the greatness and holy nature of God and His grace (favor) on His voluntary servant (v. 49), but she also had an awareness that God's unique calling on her life would result in all future generation calling her blessed (v. 48).
Mary then moves from the personal to the global: she moves from declaring God’s good deeds in her specific life, to God’s greatness to which the universe bears witness.
The passage emphasizes God’s justice and mercy, as well as His power. It points to the need we all have to respond to such a God with gratitude and humility. Mary models this for us perfectly.
Being a “nobody” and poor girl from small-town Nazareth, she is the perfect case study for the way that God resists the proud, but champions the cause of the lowly.
- How often do you proclaim the greatness of Jesus? Is praise a natural response for you?
- Which of God’s attributes have you noticed or recognized in the past couple of weeks? How can you make God’s name great this week?
- Close in prayer, proclaiming sentences of thanksgiving and praise for who God is and what He has done for you.