The Gospel of Luke: Mary’s Song of Praise (Luke 1:46-56)

Today’s message summary of June 10, 2018  from Asst. Pastor Travis Jackson

Mary received the confirmation from Elizabeth that she would be the mother of the Messiah, conceived by the Holy Spirit.  Elizabeth, also with child, also rejoiced as her baby, the future John the Baptist, leaped in her womb, for he was already filled with the Spirit.

These are all acts of worship and praise. This is nothing to be taken likely.  Eli’s sons, Hophni and Phinehas (1 Samuel 2:12-34, 4:11), along with Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu (Leviticus 10:1-3), worshiped in a profane manner, and they were put to death as they mocked God.

People may have the desire to worship God, but if it is done without sincerity, it is meaningless.  It is why Jesus tells us through His Word to offer yourself as a living sacrifice, for that is your spiritual worship (Romans 12:1-2).  It alone is what means the most to Him.

Luke 1:46-56

And Mary said:

My soul praises the greatness of the Lord,

and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,

because he has looked with favor

on the humble condition of his servant.

Surely, from now on all generations

will call me blessed,

because the Mighty One

has done great things for me,

and his name is holy.

His mercy is from generation to generation

on those who fear him.

He has done a mighty deed with his arm;

he has scattered the proud

because of the thoughts of their hearts;

he has toppled the mighty from their thrones

and exalted the lowly.

He has satisfied the hungry with good things

and sent the rich away empty.

He has helped his servant Israel,

remembering his mercy

to Abraham and his descendants forever,

just as he spoke to our ancestors.

And Mary stayed with her about three months; then she returned to her home.

When we think of worship, we think about songs that call it to its attention.  One song that comes to mind is “Faithful Is Our God.”

Selection from Faithful Is Our God by Hezekiah Walker*

Faithful, faithful, faithful is our God

Faithful, faithful, faithful is our God

Faithful, faithful, faithful is our God

Faithful, faithful, faithful is our God

I’m reaping the harvest God promised me

Take back what the devil stole from me

And I rejoice today, for I shall recover it all

Yes, I rejoice today, for I shall recover it all

When I consider how Mary exalted God in this passage (Luke 1:46-56), it seems to transcend even what the song conveys.

When we are worshiping God, we are to be mindful of what we are communicating.

The Holiness of God (vs. 46-49)

Luke 1:46-49

And Mary said:

My soul praises the greatness of the Lord,

and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,

because he has looked with favor

on the humble condition of his servant.

Surely, from now on all generations

will call me blessed,

because the Mighty One

has done great things for me,

and his name is holy.

The word “soul” translates to the word “psyche.” It is your very nature.  She is praising the Lord with every fiber of her being.  Mary wasn’t pretending to worship the Lord nor was she being hypocritical.

Let us be mindful that we can be hypocritical in our worship.  It is very easy to go through the motions.  That is hypocrisy.

We can use that same thought when it comes to the preaching of God’s Word.  We must guard against allowing our minds to go somewhere else in the midst of our worship.

Matthew 15:7-8

Hypocrites! Isaiah prophesied correctly about you when he said:

This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.

The words “soul” and “spirit” in this passage are interchangeable.  Mary used the word “spirit” to illustrate true worship.  That is what believers are to do as the Spirit must lead in our worship.

John 4:19-24

“Sir,” the woman replied, “I see that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews say that the place to worship is in Jerusalem.”

Jesus told her, “Believe me, woman, an hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know. We worship what we do know, because salvation is from the Jews. But an hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and in truth. Yes, the Father wants such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in Spirit and in truth.”

God is looking for those who are truly seeking after Him, but only believers are able to worship God in spirit and in truth.  It is the essence of conveying God’s character.  God’s character is His holiness.  Holy is His name (v. 49).

Mary’s humility demonstrates to us that we are to be humble in our worship.  When Mary is worshiping and praising God, she is giving a testimony as to who God really is.

Songs of praise are to be theologically correct.  Any songs that are not in that category are not really songs of praise.

The Mercy of God (vs. 50-53)

Mary expressed that she is a servant (a handmaiden or female slave) of God (vs. 48) but is grateful to be chosen by God for such a momentous feat.  She was humbled by His mercy. She notes His power and greatness, and yet His mercy for those who fear Him.

Mary was also aware of the discussion of the long-awaited Messiah.  Her song is very similar to Hannah’s song.

1 Samuel 2:1-10

Hannah prayed:

My heart rejoices in the Lord;

my horn is lifted up by the Lord.

My mouth boasts over my enemies,

because I rejoice in your salvation.

There is no one holy like the Lord.

There is no one besides you!

And there is no rock like our God.

Do not boast so proudly,

or let arrogant words come out of your mouth,

for the Lord is a God of knowledge,

and actions are weighed by him.

The bows of the warriors are broken,

but the feeble are clothed with strength.

Those who are full hire themselves out for food,

but those who are starving hunger no more.

The woman who is childless gives birth to seven,

but the woman with many sons pines away.

The Lord brings death and gives life;

he sends some down to Sheol, and he raises others up.

The Lord brings poverty and gives wealth;

he humbles and he exalts.

He raises the poor from the dust

and lifts the needy from the trash heap.

He seats them with noblemen

and gives them a throne of honor.

For the foundations of the earth are the Lord’s;

he has set the world on them.

He guards the steps of his faithful ones,

but the wicked perish in darkness,

for a person does not prevail by his own strength.

Those who oppose the Lord will be shattered;

he will thunder in the heavens against them.

The Lord will judge the ends of the earth.

He will give power to his king;

he will lift up the horn of his anointed.

Mary knew that the Messiah was coming but when she learned that she would be the vehicle for His appearance, she rejoiced.

The Faithfulness of God (vs. 54-56)

Mary sings of God’s mercy in remembering God’s promise to Abraham.  In spite of her circumstances (she could have faced capital punishment at the time for being pregnant out of wedlock), she praised God for what was taking place.

Are you seeking God to the point where you are putting aside everything that is going on to become emotionally conscious of what God has done for you?  A great song of praise is “Amazing Grace.”

Amazing grace! (how sweet the sound)

   That sav’d a wretch like me!

I once was lost, but now am found,

   Was blind, but now I see.


‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,

   And grace my fears reliev’d;

How precious did that grace appear

   The hour I first believ’d!


Thro’ many dangers, toils, and snares,

   I have already come;

‘Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,

   And grace will lead me home.


The Lord has promis’d good to me,

   His word my hope secures;

He will my shield and portion be

   As long as life endures.


Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail,

   And mortal life shall cease;

I shall possess, within the veil,

   A life of joy and peace.


The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,

   The sun forbear to shine;

But God, who call’d me here below,

   Will be forever mine.


John Newton, Olney Hymns, 1779**

Let us be mindful of the songs that we sing about God.  The songs are to be biblically correct, and to have a low view of man with a high view of God.  Until we understand that this praise in all humility, we will have difficulty with true worship.  Jesus is the one that must put a new song in our hearts.





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