MAGNIFY!… Wait… What?

Mary • Devotion #4: MAGNIFY!…wait…what?
Holly Wells | Assistant to Pastor Jim

When was the last time an angel appeared before you and prophesied over your life? Yeah, me neither. It has never happened. But, imagine for a moment that it has. Imagine this: you are in your early teens, going about a simple life, after all, you live in a peasant’s town in a poor area. You are pretty common, plain, and unassuming, and you are engaged to a working-class fiancé, a carpenter. One day as you are going about your business, an angel appears before you and says that you are favored and that “the Lord is with you” (Luke 1:28). Just at that mere greeting, I think I would have instantly passed out! You? Although Mary thankfully kept it together, the Bible says she was “greatly troubled” and tried to figure out what this meant (verse 29). Gabriel told her not to be afraid because, with this favor from God, she would conceive and bear a son named Jesus. He told her that He would be great; He would “be called the Son of the Most High” (verse 32). Gabriel told this young Jewish girl that her Son would be given the throne of David, He would reign over the house of Jacob forever, and there would be no end to His kingdom. (Now, if I was somehow still coherent at this point, I am confident I would not be able to speak let alone begin dialoguing as Mary did with Gabriel.) He continued to share how it would all happen, about how she would be the mother to the Son of God. This was f-a-r from an ordinary day!

What would have been your response? Maybe one of shock and disbelief? What about worrying how your reputation would be ruined when word got out of this unexplainable pregnancy since you are engaged? How would you explain this to your fiancé? Would you fret that “this was not a part of the plan!” I believe Mary’s response reflected the exact reason she was chosen, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (verse 38).

Mary soon traveled to visit her relative Elizabeth, who was pregnant with John (as in the Baptist) and when Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting as she came into her house, the baby leaped in Elizabeth’s womb, and she was filled with the Holy Spirit. Elizabeth knew at that moment that Mary was the mother of the Lord (verse 39-45). And Mary’s response? It was not one of gossip or recounting the details of her encounter with the angel Gabriel. It was not filled with “what if…,” “why…,” or “how come?” Mary’s response was yet again one that was firmly anchored in the Lord. Mary’s response was a song of praise.

Luke 1:46-55 is referred to as ‘The Magnificat’ which is the Latin word for ‘magnifies.’ Mary’s soul magnified the Lord and rejoiced in God, her Savior. As I read through this section, a few things stood out. First, notice that Mary knew the Lord before the angel appeared to her. The relationship she had with the Lord was the reason He chose her for something great, to become the mother of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. And though Mary was most extraordinary, we must also be careful not to elevate her beyond what Scripture teaches. She was human, a woman who was a recipient of God’s blessing, but she is not who we appeal to for blessing. 1 Timothy 2:5-6 states, “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all.” Mary fully knew this. Next, because her heart and mind were already saturated with the Word of God, she submitted herself unconditionally to the Lord without worry of her reputation or fret of the future (verse 38). Rather, she instantly and humbly praised Him for His glory and majesty. Because Mary intimately knew God as her Savior, she was able to rejoice in His holiness and faithfulness, glory, and strength. She worshiped Him for His mercy and power while taking no credit for anything good in herself. Mary joyfully confessed God as the one who did great things for her.

Let us be exhorted and encouraged through Mary’s example by taking personal inventory. Are your mind and heart continually being saturated with the Word of God? How is your relationship with Him growing ‘daily’ so that you may know the Lord and experience a sweet intimacy with Him like no other? What is your response when He calls you to something greater or something crazy that may tarnish your reputation? What is the song in your heart? How do you magnify the Lord?

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