September 11, 2020 – Friday
Luke 1:39-45 NIV
39 At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea,
40 where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth.
41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.
42 In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!
43 But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
44 As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.
45 Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfil his promises to her!”
Mary, the future mother of Jesus, had recently had an encounter with Gabriel, a messenger (angel) sent by God during Elizabeth’s sixth month of pregnancy. Gabriel told her in verses 31-33, You will conceive and give birth to a Son, and you are to call Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; His kingdom will never end.
Mary asked how this could be as she was a virgin. Gabriel answered, even telling her about Elizabeth, in verses 35-37, The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be callced the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail. Mary in great faith answered, I am the Lord’s servant. May your word to me be fulfilled. This was a major act of faith by Mary because she would appear pregnant before she was married effectively looking as if she was an adulterer. This carried the possibility of a death penalty in the Jewish culture she lived within.
When the Holy Spirit overshadowed Mary, Jesus was conceived. We don’t know if that occurred when Gabriel was present or shortly thereafter. Either way, shortly afterwards Mary left to visit Elizabeth. We are told, When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. John while still in Elizabeth’s womb was able to recognise and react to Jesus in Mary’s womb because he was already filled with the Holy Spirit.
Now Elizabeth, also filled with the Holy Spirit begins to speak by prophetic inspiration (Expositor’s Greek New Testament) in a loud voice (from our verses for today) Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her! The Holy Spirit through Elizabeth tells us Mary’s faith is so strong that she believed that the Lord would fulfil his promises to her.
The Pulpit Commentary adds, Think what must have been the feeling of the two – the one finding herself the chosen out of all the thousands of Israel, after so many centuries of weary waiting, to be the mother of the Messiah; the other, long after any reasonable hope of any offspring at all had faded away, to be the mother of Messiah’s chosen friend, his herald, and his preacher, the mighty forerunner of the King of whom the prophets had written! This was an amazing meeting between the mother of the future John the Baptist and the mother of the future Jesus the Messiah. Then there was John while in the womb of Elizabeth recognizing Jesus in Mary’s womb. Their great faith and belief in the plans of our Heavenly Father would permit them to act freely as His servants.
Compare and contrast Mary’s belief with that of Zechariah who reacted initially with fear and disbelief. He was a priest with many years of faith. She was a young woman, perhaps no more than fifteen years old, yet she accepted what the angel Gabriel told her without question, only asking how it was to be done. It is no wonder Elizabeth ended her blessings and prophecy with Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!
So, as the weekend is upon is, the question is, How do we believe? Do we really believe God will fulfil His promises with His own timing? Or will we react with disbelief when He does so when we least expect Him to do so? Something to ponder and pray about when we remember to go to church.