Written by Nicholas T. Batzig |
Monday, January 1, 2024
One of the foremost themes of the Magnificat is that of humility. Since God was humbling Himself to knit together for Himself a human nature in the womb of the virgin Mary, it is fitting that Mary, from the outset of this Christian Psalm, would touch upon the theme of humility. The reason why Mary sang a song of humility is because she was focusing on what God was doing to provide the Savior she needed. Mary had been waiting on God to fulfill the promises that He had made throughout the Old Testament era. Mary doesn’t speak of herself or her privileges because Mary was focused on her need for redemption.
Hadel’s Messiah is one of the greatest musical compositions ever written. A three part redemptive history development of Isaiah’s prophecy. From the coming Redeemer to the reign of Christ, Handel captured the magnificence of what we celebrate during advent. It should come as no surprise to us these are some of the most beautiful and majestic songs ever composed, since the narratives surrounding the birth of the Savior are themselves full of profound redemptive-historical reflections. One such song is that which Mary sings when she is visits her cousin Elizabeth. The result of this trip was an unparalleled redemptive-historical composition that has been commonly denominated, the Magnificat.
What would compel a young, pregnant teenage girl to make an arduous journey in order to stay with her older cousin? Perhaps it was the shame that her parents felt having her in the town in which they lived. After all, their neighbors would most certainly conclude that she had fallen into immorality. Or, maybe she just wanted to talk to someone she knew about what it would be like to mysteriously have a child. Her cousin wasn’t supposed to be able to conceive at her old age; but, the Lord had done the impossible for both Elizabeth and Mary. Whatever the case, the mother of the Savior went to Elizabeth.
Mary, unlike Zacharias (Luke 1:20), believed the word of the Lord that came to her through the angel Gabriel. She took God at His word when he told her that she, though a virgin, would conceive and bear a son. Elizabeth, together with Mary, believed and gave God great glory for this indescribable gift. Elizabeth praised Mary for the faith that she had in God’s promise. She exclaimed, “blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord” (Luke 1:45). It is the grace of believing God’s word that we are to most admire in other believers and for which we ought to be praising God.
When Mary entered the home of Elizabeth with a greeting about the conception of Christ, the Holy Spirit filled Elizabeth and her unborn son (the forerunner of the Messiah). The babe lept in the womb when he heard the greeting of the virgin. The news about the Redeemer is the cause of the greatest rejoicing in the souls of believers. Mary also broke out into song—praising God for the salvation that He was bringing to her (Luke 1:46) and to all people (Luke 1:50; 55-56).
Like Handel’s Messiah, there is a three-part division to the Magnificat. She gives us an anatomy of God—that which God considers with His eyes (Luke 1:48), what He does with His arm (Luke 1:51) and what he declares with His mouth (Luke 1:55). She acknowledged what the birth of the Savior meant for her as a sinner (Luke 1:46-50), what it meant for men of low and high degree (Luke 1:51-53) and what it meant for the rest of the covenant people of God (Luke 1:54-55).
Mary’s Magnificat is an example of what it looks like for someone to be saturated in God’s word. She was hoping in the fulfillment of God’s promises made to Abraham. This song is full of references to Old Testament passages and redemptive historical epochs. Mary is a covenant theologian.