This song is a celebration of God’ delight in exalting the humble and opposing the proud. Jesus Himself taught this principle, saying, “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Luke 14:11). Christ’s humiliation to the point of death on a cross and subsequent exaltation (see Philippians 2:6-11) is the greatest example of all time.
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.
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 ESV
The opening of Luke’s Gospel ought to sound familiar to students of Scripture: a godly older couple lamenting their childlessness. Abraham and Sarah are the most famous such couple, but then their son Isaac and his wife Rebekah also faced barrenness. In 1 Samuel, we also find Elkanah and Hannah, the parents of the prophet Samuel. Thus, we ought first to read of Zechariah and Elizabeth with great expectation, and sure enough, they were miraculously given a son who would grow into a great prophet.
But Luke’s Gospel is not about their son, John. Indeed, John, like the prophets before him, was only the forerunner to the Christ, who was coming into the world.