So how can Mary edify us?
By being a model disciple and a
magnifier of God.
Small things—that little ladybug—look bigger when you look through a microscope. Big things—that huge city or planet—reveal their magnitude when we look at them through a telescope.
That’s the sort of
magnification that Mary does for us
in Luke 1:46-55.
God is big--Mary can’t make him bigger.
she draws our attention
God is big—Mary can’t make him bigger. But she draws our attention to God’s bigness.
She praises God,
declaring who he is and what he has
done for her and others.
She takes God at his word and praises him for what
(she confidently believes) he is about to do.
We know from earlier in Luke 1 that the
angel Gabriel visited Mary
and told her that she would give birth to the
Mary’s reaction to this fantastic news?
Not disbelief (like old Zechariah showed
when he was told his wife Elizabeth would give birth).
God and his word: “
I am the Lord’s servant,”
she says in verse 38, “
may your word to me be fulfilled.”
Mary is a model for us as Christians because she
demonstrates the regular pattern
of the Christian life.
When God speaks, what does she do?
She trusts, obeys, has joy,
and therefore shares the news of what God has done.
She helps us see the certainty of who God is;
that his word is trustworthy;
that he’s faithful to his promises;
that he shows mercy.
But Mary also does something that some of us may not do.
She magnifies the Lord.
The Great Reversal
Mary magnifies God because of the
great reversal he brings about
At this point in salvation history
in Luke 1,
Mary cannot yet understand all that means.
But she gets that it is
God who will bring the reversal.
God’s word is so certain and trustworthy
speaks as if it’s happened.
Sometimes (always?), our
view of God is too small.
is the process of having our idea of God enlarged,
(Speaking of, This concept brings me back to my Roots in Dark Room Photography)
and that will only happen
if we understand ourselves before
Mary gets that.
She understands that she is God’s humble,
lowly servant (vv. 38, 48).
And it doesn’t bother her at all.
She doesn’t see herself as a victim or as simply passive--
though some modern critics describe
her that way.
Instead, Mary rejoices.
She believes that being
Lord’s servant is best;
his word is good and trustworthy.
She declares that
always kept his promises
(v. 55); that he is holy, merciful, and mighty (vv. 49-51).
And since God brings about the
those who trust in his word (like Mary)
are making the
radical and counter-cultural decision!
Those who trust in God’s word
(like Mary) are making the most radical
After Mary’s song,
Luke’s account is striking in its brevity.
Luke tells us that Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months, and
then she went home (v. 56).
It just finishes like a normal thing that any woman would do—go
home after you’ve stayed with relatives.
And I think that’s helpful. Mary was a woman--
just like any believing woman in many ways.
An extraordinary thing did happen to her; she was the mother of our Lord. But that’s not the essential thing for Mary eternally.
She’s not sinless; she doesn’t dispense grace; she’s not a redeemer.
She’s not fully God and fully human like Jesus.
But Mary trusts in God’s word—that’s the thing that counts.
Jesus makes it clear later in Luke’s Gospel
by saying those
hear his word and obey it are
more blessed than his mother
(11:27-28). In Luke 1,
Mary did trust God’s word:
had a big view of God.
Later in Luke’s Gospel,
she, along with the other disciples,
has become confused and forgotten her
magnificent view of God.
When God is Small
Sometimes our view of God is too small. What happens when your view of God is too small? We can believe things such as:
- God is not good;
- I need to control every aspect of my life;
- Life is all about the here and now;
- God does not love me;
- Prayer makes no difference;
- Evangelism makes no difference;
- Living a godly life makes no difference;
- God does not see all that I do behind the scenes;
- Jesus will never return.
When our view of God is too small,
we don’t trust and obey God.
This results in not having Christian joy and,
therefore not telling others what he has done for us.
This is where Mary’s example in Luke 1
can help us.
Mary has a big view of God
trusts God’s word when she hears it.
She obeys it—which then leads her to
Then she shares this with others.
In all this, Mary demonstrates the typical pattern of the Christian life.
There’s something about Mary.
She is a model and a magnifier that can help build us
up in the truth as Christians.