Advent Midweek 2

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Blessed to Magnify the Lord

Mary’ Song (The Magnificat): Luke 1:46-56


          Grace, mercy, and peace be to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

          And Mary said, “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” (Luke 1:46-49).

          My soul magnifies the Lord. To magnify. To make something bigger. Scientists do it with a microscope. NASA does it with a telescope. We do it with two fingers on the screen of our phones. 

Now it is not that Mary made the Lord bigger by her song. But rather by the work of the Spirit as she sang, she now saw more clearly than ever just how big her God truly was.

          Where we might be inclined to think that the song that bears her name is about her, Mary’s song, or the Magnificat, is all about Jesus and what He does for Mary and His people. It is a faith-filled response given to her by none other than God. Conceived in her by the Holy Spirit was none other than the Son of God Himself who was born of the Virgin Mary.

          As Mary rubbed her ever growing belly like all pregnant women seem to do, from the very depths of her soul, she sang this song in praise to her Lord.

          Her song is one of blessing. She is blessed to magnify the Lord. She can’t believe that the Lord selected her, even in her humble estate. We may recall the words of John the Baptist here who said: “He must increase, I must decrease” (John 3:30). 

Mary knew that she was a sinner. She knew that she was in no way deserving of this most honorable privilege. She had been conceived and born into sin. She was not worthy. Yet, by no doing of her own, the Creator of the world had selected her to carry the Christ-child.

          She was God’s servant. She would carry Jesus for nine months, through the morning sickness, the night sweats, the late-night cravings, the discomfort, the lack of sleep, the overwhelming fatigue, the labor and delivery, the pain and the joy. She was in it for it all, because she knew her role. She was God’s servant, and that meant whatever God had in store for her, she would do.

          And for all that God had in store for her, she would be called ‘blessed’ by all generations to follow. Blessed not because of who she was or the merits she had accomplished. Blessed because of who it was who would call her womb home over the course of nine months, who it was who would look up into her eyes as He was nursed by her, who it was who would look up and call her “Mommy,” who it was who would look down from the cross and place her into the care of His disciple John before He would breathe His last breath.

          Yes, this child in her womb would be more than her little baby boy, He would be her Savior. Sin, death, and the devil would be defeated for her all because of this little child who came to save her and everyone else from their sins. That ‘everyone else’ includes us.

          We, too, are God’s servants. In no way are we worthy before God. We, too, are in humble estate before the Almighty God, and yet we are blessed to magnify the Lord with Mary. Her song is our song. For like a magnifying glass enlarges an item, so our hearts are enlarged with the love of a Savior who came to this earth, was born of a Virgin, and died in our place.

          He has shown mercy to every generation, and that includes our generation, and all of the ones to follow. We have been blessed like Mary to be welcomed into the story of salvation where we also benefit from the One whose tiny little fingers and tiny little toes were counted by Mary as she held Him in her arms.

          Where He should have left us abandoned to the grave and hell itself, He came to endure what was ours so that we would not get what we do deserve. He has provided us with the greatest reversal, beyond what we ever could have imagined.

          We who are the created ones have had the Creator Himself come to us in the flesh as a creature. Where the Son of God was once exalted on His throne in heaven, hallowed in all of the universe, he would soon be placed into a manger, on a bed of hay, in a lowly feeding trough for animals. 

          This unexpected and great reversal would soon see the exalted be humbled and the humble be exalted. Those in great power and wealth would be brought low. Their pride and arrogance would not serve them or save them at all. Religious and political leaders of the day would see who truly was King of all kings and Lord of all lords. 

But they would see it in such an unexpected fashion. For the throne of this Lord and King would be a cross. The crown upon His head would be made of thorns. And the robe He would wear would be stripped of Him, leaving Him naked and alone, left to die a criminal’s death.

Thirty some years later after his birth, Mary herself would look up and see her son die in the fashion of a criminal. She would hear Him cry out, and like any mother, she would have wanted to reach out and comfort her son…console her son…care for her son. But alas…there was no way to do so.

          What we see in the Magnificat as we look closer and the image becomes largely magnified is that this baby in Mary’s womb would soon die the Savior’s death. And in doing so, He truly would flip the world upside down…for her…and for us.

          Because of the Blessed One in Mary’s womb, we who hunger and thirst for righteousness are filled with good things. Grace, mercy, peace…forgiveness, life, salvation. As it says in the book of Ephesians: “He has blessed us with every spiritual blessing” (Ephesians 1:3b). These blessings are ours to be had, just as God promised to our forefathers. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, they were all promised that this time would come, and now it was here.

          Now Jesus was here, and come Christmas Day, He would continue His journey from the wood of the manger to the wood of the cross, from the nails He would hand to His daddy in the carpenter shop, to the nails that would pierce His hands and feet.

          It is no wonder that Mary sang as she did. Her heart was overwhelmed with joy and gladness. Why would God do such a wonderful thing for her?

          Why would God do such a wonderful thing for us? Well, take a closer look. Magnify the image of God’s Word and see what Mary saw. Because you too are God’s servants, and the mighty one has done great things for you and me too, and holy is His name.

          His name would be Jesus, because He would save His people from their sins. And His name has been placed upon you…on your forehead and on your heart to mark you as redeemed by Christ the crucified.

          Now death no longer awaits you. Hell has no hold on you. The great reversal of which Mary sang is yours. Life and salvation are yours to be had. And for that, there is great reason to sing. 

Sing and let the world know what you know. Let them hear the good news of great joy that is for all people. Let them hear of the one, true God who came to this earth to save them. Let them hear what a blessing Jesus is in your life. For you truly are blessed…blessed to magnify the Lord. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

          The peace of God which surpasses all human understanding guard and keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.

          (Singing of the Magnificat – Song of Mary – LSB pgs. 248-249)