Luke 1:39-45Amplified Bible
Mary Visits Elizabeth
39 Now at this time Mary arose and hurried to the hill country, to a city of Judah (Judea), 40 and she entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, her baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and empowered by Him. 42 And she exclaimed loudly, “Blessed [worthy to be praised] are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 And how has it happened to me, that the mother of my Lord would come to me? 44 For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 And blessed [spiritually fortunate and favored by God] is she who believed and confidently trusted that there would be a fulfillment of the things that were spoken to her [by the angel sent] from the Lord.”
The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.
Why Should This Happen to Me?
Whether in those most ancient of days of biblical times or in our modern days,
Why should anything happen to anyone in the Kingdom of the Most High God?
The much needed Revelation of Faith?
The much desired Revelation of Hope?
The much required Revelation of Love?
Maybe the significantly needed, desired, required Revelation of all three?
Elizabeth was utterly amazed.
She could hardly believe what was happening to her.
Not only was she expecting a child in her old age, but she also had the awesome privilege of meeting her relative Mary, the expectant mother of the Lord Jesus.
Suddenly filled with the Holy Spirit, the previously barren Elizabeth exclaimed, “Why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?”
Why me, Lord?
I’m sure many of us have asked this question at one time or another for a diverse variety of reasons.
Something unexpected happened in our lives, and we could not help asking, “Why me?”
Someone unexpected happened in our lives, and we could not stop asking the question: “Why Me?”
Someone, indescribably, undeniably special just happens to quietly walk into the middle of our busy or not so busy lives at the most in opportune moment.
Inexplicably, unexplainable things begin to change and we ask: “Why Me?”
We tend to ask this question especially when things go wrong.
Maybe we have lost someone we have loved.
Perhaps we have had to deal with a physical disability, or we were diagnosed with a terrible illness, we may have lost our job, or our business may have failed, we are in financial straights and the one question was right there:
We tend to ask this question when everything suddenly starts going right.
But there is a more important question in this Advent season:
Why should we have the privilege of getting to know Elizabeth and Mary?
Why should we have the privilege of being “reintroduced,” “reacquainted” to the Presence, the intercessory works, ministry of God, the Holy Spirit, in US?
Why should we have the privilege of getting to know the expectation of the coming birth of Immanuel, “God with US, God within US, God OUR Savior?”
Why should we be so privileged that the Lord should come to earth for people like Mary and Elizabeth and US, WE who did nothing to deserve his coming?
As we approach the celebration of the birth of the Savior, we do well to ask, Why should we be so favored?
Let us stand amazed that the fullness of God should love us so much that he sent his only Son, Immanuel, to bring us back to himself, give us eternal life?
One of the central themes of the beautiful story of when Mary visits Elizabeth is the revelation of the unshakeable unquestioning undeniable faith of both these women in God – even after long numbers of years when God appeared absent.
We see this faith witness through several moments which occur during the visit.
What Is the Context of Mary’s Visit with Elizabeth?
Elizabeth was an elderly barren woman experiencing the shame in her era of being childless.
Her priestly husband Zechariah, having no child to carry on his name, might have been shamed enough by his wife’s shame to sought another wife. But he didn’t. Rather, the couple remained faithful to each other and faithful to God.
Luke 1:13-17Amplified Bible
13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, because your petition [in prayer] was heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him [a]John. 14 You will have great joy and delight, and many will rejoice over his birth, 15 for he will be great and distinguished in the sight of the Lord; and will never drink wine or liquor, and he will be filled with and empowered to act by the Holy Spirit while still in his mother’s womb. 16 He will turn many of the sons of Israel back [from sin] to [love and serve] the Lord their God. 17 It is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers back to the children, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous [which is to seek and submit to the will of God]—in order to make ready a people [perfectly] prepared [spiritually and morally] for the Lord.”
The hard pressed Zechariah found this beyond hard to believe since he and his wife were “aged” far beyond childbearing years, so he then questioned Gabriel,
“How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.”
Luke 1:18-20Amplified Bible
18 And Zacharias said to the angel, “How will I be certain of this? For I am an old man and my wife is advanced in age.” 19 The angel replied and said to him, “I am Gabriel; I stand and minister in the [very] presence of God, and I have been sent [by Him] to speak to you and to bring you this good news. 20 [a]Listen carefully, you will be continually silent and unable to speak until the day when these things take place, because you did not believe what I told you; but my words will be fulfilled at their proper time.”
Just as Gabriel had prophesied, when Zechariah returned to Elizabeth, she did become pregnant and Zechariah could not speak.
When Elizabeth was in her sixth month of pregnancy, Mary, a young relative engaged to her fiancé Joseph, was also having her own unexpected encounter with Gabriel. He visited her one night and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Luke 1:28
Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 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.”
“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
The angel answered, “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 called[b] 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.”
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her. Luke 1:29-38
Mary understood Gabrielle’s message that she and Elizabeth were both having miraculous pregnancies that few would understand or believe possible.
She did not hesitate but hurried off to visit Elizabeth who lived about 50-100 miles away.
At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. Luke 1:39-40
Here are four significant faith moments when Mary visits Elizabeth:
1. Mary Had Faith That Elizabeth Would Welcome Her
It wasn’t by chance that Gabriel told Mary about Elizabeth.
God knew that Elizabeth was going to be the perfect spiritual mother and mentor for Mary because not everyone would accept as true either of their miraculous stories of God’s sudden, favored, supernatural intervention.
A young Mary had faith that she would find comfort and reassurance, welcome and true acceptance in spending time with her much older relative Elizabeth.
Gabriel’s mention of Elizabeth’s pregnancy compelled Mary to go to her immediately!
She wasn’t daunted by the inconvenience, time required, energy expended or sacrifice, considering she was in the first trimester of her own pregnancy.
Mary did not stop to count the cost, weigh the hardships of the travel, analyze if that was really, truly what the Lord meant, worry about how it would affect her schedule, relationship with Joseph or if Elizabeth was too old to relate to her.
Mary must have felt that Elizabeth was a safe person. She could go to her with this supernatural story and Elizabeth would receive her with compassion.
Once there, she would learn that Elizabeth had her own supernatural God story.
2. Elizabeth Had Faith That There Was a Great Reason God Sent Mary to Visit Her
Imagine Elizabeth opening the door to a teenage unwed pregnant distant relative she hasn’t seen in years.
She was going through her own hardship of being an elderly pregnant woman with a priestly husband who could not tell her why he could not speak to her.
But from Elizabeth’s response at Mary’s arrival, it does not seem like she is worried or fretted that the house was a mess, or she was out of bread, or that she looked a sight and Zechariah really was not even close to himself lately.
She did not tell Mary that there were a million things she had to do to get ready for her own baby so this definitely, probably was not a good time for her visit.
Elizabeth wasn’t judgmental or condemning. Instead, the Bible tells us . . .
When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “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!” Luke 1:41-45
Before Mary could even explain her immaculate conception, the Holy Spirit filled Elizabeth and she knew Mary was carrying the blessed Messiah.
Elizabeth began to prophesy about Mary and her baby.
She knew Mary had also believed and trusted in the Lord just as she herself had done.
Two divergent women of faith from different generations but the same God.
We’re now Face-to-Face With God, Elizabeth and Mary: Generation to Generation,
Pray and please note that while young Mary needed someone to prepare her for long pregnancy and giving birth to the Messiah, more importantly, she needed someone who understood and had insight into what this future would entail.
3. Mary’s Visit to Elizabeth Confirmed God’s Plans
God had a definite plan for Zechariah and Elizabeth’s, son, John the Baptist, to be the forerunner of Mary’s own unborn son, Immanuel, the future Messiah.
Upon meeting, both women, by Holy Spirit revelation, knew that immediately.
After the Holy Spirit–inspired greeting from Elizabeth, Mary’s heart filled with joy as she trusted God and she responded to Elizabeth with a Spirit-filled hymn of praise, hope, and faith which is today called the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55).
And Mary said:
“My soul glorifies the Lord
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name. (Luke 1:46-49)
4. Elizabeth and Mary’s Strong Common Bond Was Their Faith Testimony in God
Even though there was an obviously significant age gap and the women’s individual mission from God was different, their lives, their babies’ lives and their families lives, and our families lives, would be intricately intertwined.
Mary stayed for three months with Elizabeth and since Elizabeth was in her sixth month of pregnancy when Mary arrived, perhaps Mary even helped with the birth of baby John.
We have the vantage point of knowing the future for both babies.
During Mary’s visit there would be great camaraderie between the two women, one very young and one very old, who were each fulfilling God’s purpose in a way that was probably difficult to explain believably to others. .
I am reasonably sure they spent a great deal of time in prayer and affirming their faith and hope in God and each other that while their experience came with certain definite hardships, the blessings far outweighed the difficulties.
We do not read any discussion of poor me or why me, only praise God it’s me!
Mary had to be overjoyed and affirmed as she listened to her older wiser relative confirm she, Mary, was blessed indeed, as are all of us who put our faith in God.
Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” Luke 1:45
What Can We Each Learn Today from These God Gifted, God Given, Faith-Moments?
There had to be many who severely questioned the credibility, veracity, and the implications of Elizabeth and Mary’s stories, but someone who has experienced something similar to us can understand our deepest concerns and even fears.
That’s why it’s so highly favorable and highly valuable that we maintain faith-filled, hope and love filled relationships where we feel safe to share our stories.
It takes real courage and “stand your ground” fortitude to stand strong and upright in what you believe when the world is trying to undermine your faith.
It’s so important for Christians to gather and worship together corporately at church, in small groups, and mentoring relationships to encourage each other, pray together, study God’s Word, and remind them that Jesus is real and alive today in every believer’s life realizing nothing happens by chance to a believer.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah. 29:11
Luke 1:46-47, 49 (Amplified Bible)
And Mary said, “My soul magnifies and exalts the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
Faith Is Believing in What We Cannot, Do Not, Probably Will Not, Ever Understand!
The foundation of the Christian life is the gift of faith that we freely receive by asking Jesus into our heart.
Believers should spend significantly more time than they do right now seeking and reaching out for the ever faith-filled hand of God in every circumstance.
Recognizing those timely God, the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit supernatural interventions and seeing purpose comes with spiritual maturity.
The Bible says that believers who have yet to see God’s involvement in their life, but still believe, will be rewarded for their patience and unquestioning faith.
But in reality, becoming a Christian, receiving Baptism and Holy Communion is the most influential evidence of a true divine revelation in every believer’s life.
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. Hebrews 11:1-3
When faith, hope and love seem impossible, all things are possible with God!
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26
36 And listen, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month. 37 For with God nothing [is or ever] shall be impossible.” 38 Then Mary said, “[a]Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.” And the angel left her. Gospel of St. Luke 1:36-38
“Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe.” St. Augustine of Hippo
In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,
Let us Pray,
The Lord’s Glory and Man’s Dignity.
8 O Lord, our Lord,
How majestic and glorious and excellent is Your name in all the earth!
You have displayed Your splendor above the heavens.
Out of the mouths of infants and nursing babes You have established strength
Because of Your adversaries,
That You might silence the enemy and make the revengeful cease.
When I see and consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have established,
What is man that You are mindful of him,
And the son of [earthborn] man that You care for him?
Yet You have made him a little lower than [b]God,
And You have crowned him with glory and honor.
You made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands;
You have put all things under his feet,
All sheep and oxen,
And also the beasts of the field,
The birds of the air, and the fish of the sea,
Whatever passes through the paths of the seas.
O Lord, our Lord,
How majestic and glorious and excellent is Your name in all the earth!
Lord, our God, as we prepare to celebrate the birth of the Savior, we ask that through your Holy Spirit we can feel something of the awe of Elizabeth. For Jesus’ sake, Amen.