Preaching the Theology of Gabriel’s, Annunciation, and Mary’s, Magnificat


One of the things that makes preaching at Christmas time difficult for me is that the early sections of Luke’s Gospel contain a mixture of narrative and poetry. Whenever genres converge, hermeneutics gets a bit messy. In this case, while the narrative highlights the birth of our Lord, Gabriel’s speech and Mary’s song contain the theology. So much of our salvation is unpacked in these narratives: all the magnificent titles (“Son of the Most High” in Luke 1:32) and all the descriptions of what Jesus came to do (“he will reign…” Luke 1:33). Mary’s Magnificat contains eight “he has” sayings which tell what God has done in bringing Jesus to Mary and our world (Luke 1:46-55).

One of the key applications is to follow Mary’s faith. She says in Luke 1:38 “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And in the Magnificat? Believers say the same things that Mary said. Of course, in order to say the same things Mary said, we have to experience the same thing Mary experienced. Not the giving birth to Jesus part, of course. But the dying with Jesus part (“I am crucified with Christ…”). Certainly “the humble estate” part (cf. Luke 1:48, 52) and “those who fear him” part (cf. Luke 1:50). Like Mary, Christians magnify the Lord. We praise Him because of His greatness and for all the reasons given in her famous song. So, instead of asking professing Believers, Do you have a Magnificat?, it might be more accurate to ask them if they are experiencing the grace and mercy of God that causes one to sing such a song.

Luke’s careful research into the life of Jesus is designed to help us be sure our faith is well-placed and well-executed. Anyone that has placed genuine trust in Jesus has experienced what Mary said. Their well-executed faith includes the consistent desire and capacity to “magnify the Lord” (cf. Luke 1:46).

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Your thoughts?