An Unusual Heroine


Photo by Natalie Chaney on Unsplash

Take a moment to read what Mary the mother of Jesus exclaims during her pregnancy, a poem often referred to as the Magnificat:  “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever.” (Luke 1:46–55) 

I've always struggled to make sense of the high language in this passage; and to think it's actually part of a dialogue between Mary and her relative Elizabeth who is pregnant with John the Baptist. But as I was reading this devotion from John Piper I found myself starting appreciate the importance of this passage. By using such high language Luke is celebrating Mary and Elizabeth as heroines of the story of salvation. But they're not the sort of heroine who comes riding into the scene and surprises everyone by single-handedly defeating an army and a dragon or two. In fact, if you removed the Magnificat from the gospel of Luke, Mary would be an almost silent background figure and we would certainly have no insight into her character. But by including this poem, Luke is celebrating a God who looks on the humble almost invisible characters and uses them for significant cosmic history-rocking purposes. Mary gets it. She gets just how mind-boggling it is that God would use her. Do you get it too? From the divine cosmic perspective you are not significant, but God will sweep you up into his significant cosmic purposes if you trust and revere him like Mary did. And when you see in clear contrast your "humble estate" against God's cosmic divinity you too will want to praise God in such high language as she did. 

Inspired by Mary's Magnificent God from Solid Joys devotional by John Piper

©2019 by Croydon Hills & Wonga Park Anglican Church.

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