The Magnificat

Week 6 | Section 7

The MagnificatMary’s song of praise, The Magnificat, shows her humility, prophetic understanding of God’s intent, and willingness to be counted among the servants of God for the sake of the world. The verses and prophetic promises which she sings forth are like the threads in the divine tapestry. She models for us not only humble service, but also true worship with her whole heart and soul and all the faculties of her being.

Luke 1:46-56

46 Mary said, “My soul1magnifies2¯3 the Lord.4¯5¯6¯7 47 My spirit8 has rejoiced in God my Savior,9¯10 48 for he has looked at the humble state11 of his servant. For behold, from now on, all generations12 will call me blessed.13 49 For he who is mighty has done great things for me.14 Holy is his name.15 50 His mercy16 is17 for generations of generations18 on those who fear him.19 51 He has20 shown strength with his arm. He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. 52 He has put down princes from their thrones. And has exalted the lowly. 53 He has filled the hungry with good things.21 He has sent the rich away empty. 54 He has given help to Israel,22 his servant, that he might remember mercy, 55 as he spoke to our fathers,to Abraham and his offspring forever.”23 56 Mary stayed with her about three months,24 and then returned to her house.

Group Dialog:

  1. Thinking about praise and worship, what do you find most astounding about the nature of God and his acts in your life and throughout time?
  2. How have you seen humility and pride affect your own life?
  3. The way Mary (age 12-13) was raised laid the seeds that allowed her to respond to the immaculate conception. How do our habits of study, prayer, and spiritual formation affect our ability to respond to daily events?
  4. In your closing group prayer consider offering up four parts: 1)affirmation of who God is 2) What God has done in your life (48-49); 3) What God is doing in the World (vs 50-53) 4) What God has done for Israel. Acts 1:8

Learning objectives:

Praise and worship, God the warrior, humility, servant-hood, plan of salvation, the graciousness of God, spiritual warfare, pride is the antagonist of prayer and worship as it besets humility. Humility then is the anecdote.  In the diminishment of humility pride increases and as does the virtues of compassion, consideration, kindness, and gentleness.

Study Notes:

  1. Soul (psychē=life or soul (heart) as in the seat of the feelings, desires, affections, aversions; persic v=”in God that gives me life”)
  2. It is written in the active sense (exalting, praising, declaring the greatness). Psalm 34:21, (see BCP 856 Catechism). It for this that the passage is called the Magnificat, the song of Mary. This praising may come by being overwhelmed, but it it humility and volition that allows us to praise God.
  3. Worship & Praise
  4. (kyrios=he to whom a person or thing belongs, about which he has power of deciding; master, lord, Messiah).
  5. “The Magnificat is like an aria in an opera, the action almost stops so that the situation may be savored more deeply” – Tannehill, Unity of Luke-Acts 
  6. Deuteronomy 4:29 – “But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul.”
  7. Compare this song with Hannah’s prayer in 1 Samuel 2:1-10
  8. pneuma=the spirit, i.e. the vital principal by which the body is animated. Bible passages about the spirit of a person: Psalm 35:9; Habakkuk 3:18; Genesis 35:29
  9. Speaking of our salvation: Mercy motivated Him (John 10:18; Eph 2:4; Titus 3:5), His death accomplished it (1Pet 3:18; Rom 6:10; Heb 9:28); Grace bestowed it (Eph 2:8-9; Rom 6:22-23); belief & faith makes its efficacy evident in our lives (Acts 17:11; Titus 1:1-2); and our responsible behavior glorifies Him and points the way for others (Matt 5:16; 1Peter 2:12 1John 1:9; Titus 2:7-14; 1Cor 11:23-26).
  10. God (theos) my Savior (sōtēr)- Jesus, being God, was singularly fit to be the Savior. Mary rejoices and acknowledges His divine and eternal nature. Jesus, from the moment he was conceived, had within him all the virtue and power to make a full and overall atoning sacrifice (Lev 17:11, Gen 3:21-24; Exodus 12:3-6; Isaiah 53:12; John 1:1,14,17,29; Heb 13:12) to bestow salvation ( Heb.9: 22; 1 Peter 1:19-20) from ourselves (Titus 3:4-8), righteousness (Eph. 1:4; 1 Peter 2:24) and eternal life to all humanity (1 Cor 15:21-22; John 3:16).
  11. perhaps due to the low estate of the familial line (the house of David) but probably a sense of her own personal condition (humility). Psalm 138:6
  12. “Christianity is not a new religion but a historical manifestation of an eternal purpose” – Shawn Hall
  13. reminiscent of what Leah the wife of Jacob and mother of the twelve tribes of Israel said (Genesis 30:13).
  14. Certainly speaking of the immaculate conception. It might be interesting to know that at the moment of conception the egg divides into two identical cells and continue to divide (multiply) every 12-20 hours. At the close of the first cycle the embryonic child already has its own unique DNA and 46 Chromosomes (23 from mother and 23 from the father – or the Father in this case). Within three weeks the baby’s heart begins to beat and at 8 weeks the baby is able to feel pain.
  15. that is the name and very nature of God as seen in the Gk. autos(his)-onoma(name) = think autonomy
  16. The Old Testament Day of Atonement And God’s Plan Of Salvation, Br Val Boyle (PDF)
  17. Worship is not tied to the actions of God but his very nature. Worship happens in the presence of God (abiding, communing,union).
  18. everlasting. See also vs 55. Psalm 103:17; Genesis 17:19;  Psalm 132:11; Genesis 17:7
  19. His mercy may be on those who fear him, but he died once for all and that’s grace. Mercy is a disposition and grace is what has been bestowed on us all and all y’all.  
  20. Praise is tied to the action of what God (or another) has done. See then how verses 51-55 each begin with an action of God. See also: Psalm 98:1, and Psalm 118:15.
  21. Psalm 107:9; Matthew 5:6, and John 6:35
  22. Mary recounts many of the ways she has seen God’s mercy for her and her people, Israel. cf: Genesis 22:16-18; Ps 98:3; Ezra 3:11; Hosea 14-20; Romans 11
  23. The Death Of Christ: Fulfillment of the Old Testament Sacrifices, Shawn Hall
  24. Jewish tradition calls for the support of family and/or friends during the first three months of pregnancy. But the respite might have also been afforded Elizabeth and Mary so that each woman could bear witness to these miracles, as well as comfort and celebrate with one another. Its not clear if Mary stayed to help Elizabeth deliver John, but its probable (as it would have been odd to leave just before). To hear Zechariah’s song would have given Mary great encouragement. How might Elizabeth helped prepare Mary to face Joseph when already pregnant? Segulot (silence, tell no one of your pregnancy). Talmudic tradition encourages the father to pray during each of the three trimesters: 1=not miscarry; 2=not be still born; 3=safe delivery (Berakhot 60a) but other traditions vary depending on which sect of Judaism you belong.

By Greg Troxell

Disciple, entrepreneur and catalytic leader. Advocate of the sharing economy. Ministering to youth, new Christians, and equipping the saints. Developing the Emotivational practice. Founder of