Blog Devotionals

The Real Meaning of Mary’s Magnificat

December 5, 2022 | Sam Rainer

Mary’s praise for baby Jesus—her worship song—is often called the “Magnificat.” The song is found in Luke 1:46-55. In Latin, the first word in verse 46 is translated as “Magnify.” The NLT records her words, “Oh, how my soul praises the Lord.” The NASB records, “My soul exalts the Lord.” Mary’s Magnificat is all about her Savior. Even as she carried Jesus in her womb, she knew who He was.

Mary’s song has been whispered by new moms and set to trumpets by Johann Sebastian Bach. It’s a gospel song about 30 weeks before Bethlehem and 33 years before Calvary. She sings it in the presence of Elizabeth, her older cousin. The powerful message of this song made Elizabeth’s baby leap.

This song screams “Revolution!” Here two women celebrate the Lord’s coming birth, one who is pregnant far later than expected and the other far sooner than expected.

The song is part of Luke’s theme in his gospel. Jesus will disrupt the whole social order. A young woman, a peasant, proclaims Yahweh’s power. Generations will call her blessed because of what she represents—someone who had nothing to offer but who God used greatly.

The revolution was here. The poor in spirit will have the kingdom of heaven, and the gentle will inherit the earth. The hungry will be filled, and those who mourn will be comforted. Verses 51-53 exemplify one of the main themes in Luke. Who is this Jesus for? The outcasts, poor, and
powerless. The sick and the lonely. The Samaritans, the disabled, poor widows, and blind beggars. The weak, the nobodies, and the unpopular.

What is the legacy of Mary’s song? Jesus lifts those who are down. Salvation includes all who choose to follow Jesus, and Christ is the exclusive way to God. The offer of God’s grace extends to all humanity. For this triumphant song to be true, however, Mary would have her soul pierced as she watched in agony when Jesus was brutalized and mocked on a hill called Skull Place.

In Mary, we see a humble servant (verse 48), a deep faith (verse 45), and a strong belief in the sovereignty of God (verses 51-52). There were no questions from Mary, no requests for signs, and no demands of God. Instead, she had a simple, profound faith that God’s will was best. She worshiped Jesus in the womb and followed Him all the way to the cross.