by Paul Tautges | December 24, 2012 6:15 am
The Gospel according to Luke contains the famous passage known as The Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55). This title is Latin for the first word in Mary’s song of praise. In 1723, Johann Sebastian Bach composed a musical score for this Scripture, simply calling it The Magnificat. It was during a visit to the house of her cousin Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, Mary first sang this hymn of praise to God for His glorious plan. In the first three verses Mary exalted God as her Savior. For Mary to call God her Savior was not entirely new. As a young Hebrew maiden, Mary probably had a deep knowledge of the Scriptures, which exalted God as the Rock of salvation (Ps. 95:1) and assured the Jewish people of the promise of a Messiah. So when Gabriel instructed Mary to name her son Jesus, “the salvation of Jehovah,” she knew exactly what he meant.
He is a glorious Savior. Mary sang, “my soul exalts the Lord” (v.46). The word translated exalts means “to make large, to magnify.” From her innermost being Mary wanted nothing more than to magnify God for the marvelous plan of salvation revealed by the angel. Every verse of this hymn is filled with references to the Old Testament Scriptures, showing Mary believed the promise of God. Mary was saying, “My Savior is glorious. My soul exalts, praises, and glorifies the Lord from the very depths of my being.” She was acutely aware the promise of God was about to be fulfilled through her. Think of it in the context of the dream of every young Jewish girl. Would it not be the greatest privilege to be chosen to give birth to the Son of God, the Messiah, the Promised One of Israel?
He is a divine Savior. Mary sang “my soul exalts the Lord (v.46); and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior” (v.47). Mary recognized her Savior had not only been provided by God, but He was God. She knew God Himself was going to save her and this was her only hope. Following the curse on man, woman, and the serpent; God promised the seed of the woman would come to break the power of Satan (Genesis 3:14-15). Genesis 22:1-14 furthered this promise. Much more than the record of God’s test of Abraham’s faith, it is a message of hope. Isaac was a picture of Christ (Galatians 3:16) and just as Abraham offered him up by faith so God the Father would offer up His Son. How was this fulfilled? The Word became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14). The Son of God became the seed of the woman so He might become the sacrifice for sin. Just as God had provided a ram to take the place of Abraham’s son, so He provided the Lamb of God to take the place of sinners on the cross of Calvary. “But when the fulness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, in order that He might redeem those who were under the Law” (Galatians 4:4-5). Jesus was not simply sent by God, He was God in the flesh, sent to be the substitutionary sacrifice for sinners like Mary, like you, and like me.
He is a personal Savior. Mary sang “my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior” (v.47). Not simply the Savior of the world, but my Savior. What was Mary saying? She was declaring her own sinfulness and thus her own need of forgiveness. Though she was a humble servant and a God-fearing woman, Mary was a sinner in need of redemption just like you and me. For nineteen years I knew Jesus was the Savior of the world, but I did not know he was my Savior. I did not know He came to die for me. Until that time anyone could have asked me if I was going to heaven and I would have answered, “I think so, I hope so, maybe.” I never had assurance because I never had the Son. But when I accepted God’s verdict concerning my own helpless condition and trusted in His full payment for my sin I could join the ranks of Mary and declare God as my Savior. “And the witness is this that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, in order that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:11-13).
He is a condescending Savior. Mary sang “all generations will count me blessed” (v.48). The word blessed means “happy” or “fortunate.” Mary never even hinted that somehow she deserved worship or praise. She rightly considered herself merely a bondslave, but knew because of the record of Scripture future generations would recognize the happy, fortunate state she found herself in since God condescended to her. Jesus was condescending in the best sense of the word. He voluntarily lowered Himself to the level of man in order to redeem him, “though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9). God delights in doing things contrary to the way man thinks they should be done. The nation of Israel was looking for a king to be born in a palace, the son of a queen. Instead, God sent forth His Son to be born in a horse trough, and not the son of a queen, but the son of a young Hebrew sinner. This is Mary’s Savior. His name says it all. He is Jesus, “the salvation of Jehovah.”
Is He your Savior?
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