Mary Considers How to Bring About the Messiah
46 And Mary said,
“My soul magnifies the Lord, 47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 48 for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49 for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. 50 And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; 52 he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate;
53 he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, 55 as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”
Mary is doing a delicate thing that most of us are not very good at. (ok speaking for myself, I am not good at it!) She is exalting God and praising Him for something He is doing in her life, but not bragging or boasting about herself at the same time. She is celebrating what God is obviously doing in her life, but she is keeping the focus on God’s works, and not her own.
There were a lot of people in Israel that were looking for the Messiah to come. They all had their own ideas on how it would happen and what they could do to hurry it along. The Pharisee class of people thought that if all Jews could obey the Torah Law for one day, the Messiah would come back that next day. You can see why they would hate prostitutes, tax collectors, and other sinners so much. “I just wasted a whole day working hard to obey the Law and that sinner ruined it for everybody!” would be on their hearts every time they saw somebody sin.
There were those that looked back to the mighty Judas Maccabbeus, who led a violent revolt against the Seleucids just 170 years before Mary said this prayer. These guys carried special swords that were illegal, kind of like carrying an M–16 or an Uzi today. They were ready to kill any Roman soldier that crossed their path.
But Mary recognizes that the Messiah isn’t showing up in a king’s palace, in a Pharisees perfect family, or as the children of rebels. The Messiah is coming just as the Lord of Compassion and the King of Mercy would come: as the child of a young, normal, woman. In her life, she had probably never seen a thrown, much less imagined the possibility of her child sitting on one.
But here she was. God was sending His own Son to become King. God was doing the exalting and God was bringing down those that were haughty. Mary knew she didn’t deserve to be a participant in such a thing. She wasn’t glorying in how humble she was but stating the fact that she didn’t earn such a calling.
It was the Father of Grace who was doing it.