It’s hard even for us, these many centuries later, to wrap our heads around it: A Holy God loves us so much that He chose to become human; walk among us yet remain sinless; die a ghastly death in our stead; resurrect; and ascend to heaven where yet today He sits at the right hand of His Father. As believers in Jesus Christ, we accept these facts, and yet often—and rightfully so—we stand in awe at the wonder of it all.
The Magnificat (from the Latin word for “magnifies”) is Mary’s response to the wonder of it all. Scripture tells us, of course, that after learning that she had been chosen by God to bear His Son, Mary broke out in this effusive soliloquy.
There’s no mention of her questioning God’s plan—no “Say what? Now, wait a minute, Gabriel, are you sure you’ve got the right girl?” Rather, Mary’s response was immediate and indicated her utter faith in and sold-out obedience to God.
Mary would go from being a poor, unknown peasant girl from “nowhere-Nazareth” to be the most honored woman in the history of the world. In fact, she rightly predicted it in verse 48, “For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.” Indeed, we’re still talking about her.
As you look at this passage anew, notice that Mary lifted up specific praises to God. In doing so, she set an example for believers who would follow—to consider the particular acts of God in our lives and to recount them back to Him with a thankful heart.
Mary lovingly called attention to God’s marvelous deeds—rejoicing in what He had done and would do in her life.
As you read though the passage, you’ll notice that Mary calls out several attributes of God:
- Mighty—She praised God for always protecting and fighting for His children
- Holy—She realized that God is unique and set apart from all other beings
- Strength—She applauded Him as powerful and Savior of His people
- Exalted—She is touched at the way God looks out for the lowly; that He is for us
- Helped—She recognized that God’s actions in her life were based on commitments He made centuries before
Mary’s experience is absolutely unique, of course. But set aside her marvelous situation for a minute. As one of His creatures, God has “regarded” you, as well. And there is much that’s happening in your own life to praise Him for.
Do you recognize these same attributes of God in your story?
- Mighty—What were occasions when you remember God protecting you?
- Holy—Were there moments of worship when you just basked in His holiness?
- Strength—Did you see God working powerfully in someone’s life?
- Exalted—Were you in a “lowly” position? How did He rescue you?
- Helped—God always follows-through; always keeps His Word; never changes. How did this play out in your life?
So, what is your Magnificat this Christmas? Why not take a few minutes right now just to praise Him?
This commentary is from the New King James Study Bible. With more than 2 million copies sold, it’s no secret that the NKJV Study Bible is a reliable guide for your journey into God’s Word. This Bible provides a complete resource for study, including thousands of notes, articles, extensive cross-references, and features contributed by top evangelical scholars.