Mary Visits Elizabeth
The baby Elizabeth was carrying "leaped for joy" when Mary's voice was heart. We know that when babies are born they recognize voices, so obviously they can hear those voices and learn to recognize them when they are still inside the womb. This was a little different, however. Baby John had never heard Mary's voice before. Mary lived a good distance away from Elizabeth, but the angel told her that Elizabeth was also pregnant, so she decided to go see her. From Mary & Elizabeth by Mark Driscoll:
When you read the Bible, if you’ve not been there, you think, “Oh, maybe she went down the street, around the corner. Maybe she drove.” What did she do? She walked upwards of a hundred miles. The specific town is not stated, though the region is. So she walked about a hundred miles, teenage girl by herself, in perhaps 100-degree heat, in danger.
It doesn't say if anyone went with her. I would think someone must have, but who? And if not her parents, then why would they allow their young daughter to make a journey like that? Some things we aren't told. But we do know that it was a long distance to travel. So she finally arrives, walks in the door, and receives this amazing, joyful reception from Elizabeth. We don't know if she'd told anyone yet that she was pregnant, but I'm sure she was very nervous as to the reaction or response she would get, so for her to be greeted with joy by someone who knew not only that she was pregnant, but the circumstances, was probably a tremendous relief.
Chapter 1, verse 41: “And Elizabeth was filled with,” that’s a lot of, “the Holy Spirit.” This is the Holy Spirit taking this woman and her deepest desires and bringing them, birthing them to life. “And she exclaimed with a loud cry,” so she’s prophesying-you’ve got to see this: Elizabeth, six months along; Mary, teenage gal, peasant, maybe illiterate. She’s just conceived. Their wombs are together. Elizabeth puts a hand on Mary, prophesies, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!” What are children? A blessing. You, Mary, are blessed of God! You’ve got a baby.
Listen to this, verse 43, it’s really good: “And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” In that culture the older person would be honored by the younger. The older person wouldn’t honor the younger. This is highly unusual. “You, Mary, are the mother of my Lord.” The first person in the Bible to call Jesus Christ “Lord” is Elizabeth. And she does it while Jesus is in Mary’s womb, newly conceived. It’s not tissue. It’s the Lord. She’s worshiping Jesus.
So now we’ve got the eternal Son of God coming into human history through the womb of the poor, marginalized, unmarried, virgin, rural, potentially illiterate young girl to identify with us sinners by living a humble, simple life; by being tempted, though not sinning so that he could be our substitute and reconcile us to God and take away our sin and send us the Holy Spirit so that we might have new life birthed in us. The new life like Mary was enjoying through the presence of Jesus. We get the life of Jesus in us through the Holy Spirit.
And Elizabeth says, “I can’t believe I’m in the presence of the mother of my Lord.” She hasn’t even seen him live, walk on water, raise the dead, heal people, die on a cross, resurrect. But she’s already worshiping him and claiming him as God. Love it!
God truly does work in mysterious ways, doesn't he?
Tomorrow's scripture focus: Luke 1:46-55.