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.
One of the most touching moments in the Christmas narrative comes after Mary, miraculously pregnant with the baby Jesus, journeys to visit her cousin, Elizabeth, also miraculously pregnant with her and Zachariah’s son – John.
Together, the two blessed and highly favored women recognize this honor and in a miraculous moment for the ages, rejoice at the role they play in God’s plan.
The story is told in the Gospel of Luke, which contains the most descriptive information about the conception of Jesus and the impact of such a miracle.
As we read in the account, “When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit” (Luke 1:41).
Let’s ask ourselves -what is so magnificent of young Mary visiting Elizabeth?
Not only does it teach us much about faith, and family, it also confirms God’s plan and shows us how we are to celebrate when we are in a similar situation.
What Has Happened Just Before Mary walks 90 miles to visit Zacharias and Elizabeth?
Before the visit, we are first told of the priest Zacharias and his wife, Elizabeth, who was “righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly” (Luke 1:6).
But Luke also tells us they were beyond their child rearing years, being childless and very old, which was both a disgrace and shame at that time in their culture.
However, one day, when Zacharias was serving God in the Temple, the angel Gabriel appeared to him and said Elizabeth would bear them a son, John (v. 13).
Moreover, the angel said John would be a prophet in the power of Elijah, who would “turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous — to make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (v. 17).
Elizabeth was overjoyed at this honor and secluded herself for a time, praising the Lord for this miraculous pregnancy and God’s favor upon her (v. 25).
Then, when Elizabeth is six months pregnant, the angel Gabriel visits a virgin, Mary, in the town of Nazareth and informs her that she is favored by God and is to conceive and birth a child, Jesus, who will be called the Son of the Most High and will reign over her people forever (Luke 1:30-32).
The angel Gabriel further explains she will become pregnant because of the Holy Spirit and the power of the Most High, and the “holy one to be born will be called the Son of God” (v. 35).
Gabriel also tells Mary, her cousin Elizabeth is also miraculously pregnant.
Incredibly, Mary readily accepts this important role, telling Gabriel, “I am the Lord’s servant …. May your word to me be fulfilled” (v. 38).
What Does the Bible Say about Mary walking 90 miles down a roadway to Visit Elizabeth?
Right after this, we are told by the Word of God that young Mary hurries to make a long 90-mile journey to visit Elizabeth — which at that time, without vehicles, would have likely taken her at least four to five days, possibly longer.
When Mary got there, she went into the house and greeted Elizabeth.
The Bible says that when Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, “the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit” (Luke 1:41).
Elizabeth then loudly exclaims that Mary and her unborn child are blessed and that Elizabeth is favored by the visit by “the mother of my Lord” (v. 43).
Elizabeth also joyfully tells Mary her unborn child leaped in her womb for joy.
Mary then bursts into a praise-filled song called The Magnificat, rejoices in God, acknowledges the grace she has received, declares God’s victory, and confirms for all of us this as part of God’s larger plan in the world (v. 46-55).
Question – Why Does Mary Visit Elizabeth?
We are not specifically told why she visits Elizabeth, but we can certainly imply she — having just been told by Gabriel, her cousin is also the blessed recipient of a miracle — wanted to be with someone else who could understand what she was going through, secondly, as family, wanted to be able to support Elizabeth.
Perhaps she also, filled with the Holy Spirit, was compelled to visit Elizabeth as a way of bringing her divine grace and confirmation of God’s work in them both.
Question – Why Is This Visit Magnificent?
Mary’s visit to Elizabeth is magnificent for a number of reasons:
1. Mary, and the unborn Son of God, brought God’s grace and confirmation to both of them.
Young Mary’s courageous, unescorted, unaccompanied visit was not an easy trip but a huge undertaking involving much physical risk and lengthy travel.
But Mary knew it was necessary — and the grace and confirmation it brought caused the Holy Spirit to fill Elizabeth and made the child in her womb leap.
2. It shows Mary’s indomitable faith and certain trust in God’s protection.
We know from Mary’s words to the angel Gabriel that she believes him and accepts her role as mother to the Son of God.
But her actions — making the roughly 90-mile journey to visit Elizabeth — show her faith and willingness to trust in God, be obedient to God, as well.
It’s a reminder of what James says in James 2:17, that “faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by giving ourselves to God, trust obedience and action, is dead.”
3. From one Generation to countless Generations – It reveals Elizabeth’s faith.
The visit also majestically reveals Elizabeth’s proclamation of faith.
The Bible tells us Elizabeth was overjoyed when she became pregnant, but when her unborn child leaped, and she herself became filled with the Holy Spirit in the presence of Mary and her unborn Savior, she did not just “marvel at this.”
Rather, she magnificently, majestically exclaimed;
“in a loud voice” that both Mary and her baby were blessed and that Mary was carrying the Lord (vv. 42-43) – she spoke her faith aloud for anyone to hear.
4. It provides an opportunity for celebration.
Not only were they filled with the Spirit, but both the women celebrated their joy together. Mary and Elizabeth both sang their songs of deepest praise which first and foremost glorified and praised God, confirmed God’s plan for them.
5. It is a magnificent example of the importance of Christian fellowship.
Neither woman was ever going to become familiar with the word “Christian,” a term that wasn’t even going to be created until several years after Jesus’ death.
But gathering together to celebrate and draw comfort in this miracle is exactly what we should do. God’s people are supposed to be in community with each other. Not only is it helpful, but it also enables the power of the Holy Spirit.
So much is possible when we claim our God-given gifts of the Holy Spirit and like Mary we risk everything to “walk miles and miles and miles and miles” to join with and support others who have different gifts to build up God’s people.
Too often we allow ourselves to fall into bickering, division, and self-righteous
rhetoric. And while it is important to address systems and principalities that do breed and foster and magnify injustice, it is equally important to build upon our strengths and create and support vital networks of God’s transformational love.
6. Some consider this to be Jesus’ first miracle.
Many consider Jesus’ action of turning water into wine at the wedding in Cana to be his first miracle (John 2:1-11).
The Apostle John notes it was indeed “the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory” (John 2: verse 11).
However, I believe Jesus’ unborn presence caused Elizabeth to be filled with the Holy Spirit and then Elizabeth’s unborn child to leap with joy within her, which many may feel is a miracle in itself, or at least a divine act of major significance.
7. It was John the Baptist and Jesus’ first meeting.
We’re told Elizabeth’s unborn child is John the Baptist, who baptizes Jesus with water, plays an important, biblically significant role as the one who prepare the people for the coming of Messiah in accordance with the ancient prophecies .
But while as men, they reportedly don’t meet until the day Jesus asks John to baptize him (Luke 3:21-22), this moment, as unborn souls, through the work of the Holy Spirit is biblically their first meeting.
8. It shows a magnificent example of what we should do when faced with a calling or assignment from God.
In the course of our lives, God calls us to do things outside of our comfort zone, even at the risk of death, ministering into areas of cities and towns with known drug gangs, whether that is moving to a foreign land to become a missionary or taking a very unpopular stand for faith which results in imprisonment or worse.
Surely Mary could have been aghast at the perils of her new role — after all, being pregnant but unmarried might bring her disgrace or even cause her to be accused of and condemned for adultery, a high crime punishable by stoning.
But she willingly accepted her assignment and, even more, rejoiced at it. This is exactly what we should do when God asks us to do something to fulfill his plan.
Question – What Does This Mean?
The Bible tells us Mary stayed with Elizabeth for three months and then went home.
Later, Elizabeth did indeed give birth to John the Baptist, and Mary gave birth to Jesus, the Messiah.
As mothers, these women played hugely important roles in their sons’ lives, in their families lives and we can learn much from them in our own families lives.
Family, Community . . . a Reflection of Immanuel – God in Us and God within Us
Genesis 12:1-3Amplified Bible
Abram Journeys to Egypt
12 Now [in Haran] the Lord had said to Abram,
“Go away from your country,
And from your relatives
And from your father’s house,
To the land which I will show you;
And [a]I will make you a great nation,
And I will bless you [abundantly],
And make your name great (exalted, distinguished);
And you shall be a blessing [a source of great good to others];
And I will bless (do good for, benefit) those who bless you,
And I will curse [that is, subject to My wrath and judgment] the one who curses (despises, dishonors, has contempt for) you.
And in you all the families (nations) of the earth will be blessed.”
Why do we become families?
Many years ago a man received a message from God, and God basically adopted this man.
Later God gave him the name Abraham, which means “father of many.”
And yet Abraham had no children.
Then God promised to bless Abraham with many children, and somehow, in some miraculous way, through Abraham’s family, God would incredibly and miraculously bless all the peoples of the earth.
God stayed faithful and true to his promises to bless the world’s peoples through Abraham, even though Abraham’s descendants were dysfunctional.
And God surprised everyone by keeping his promises through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, a descendant of Abraham.
It turns out that Immanuel, born of Mary, recognized by Elizabeth, was Savior not only for Mary, God’s adopted people, but also for all other peoples as well.
And by faith, by confessing, trusting in the salvation message of Jesus, people from all nations, tribes, and languages can also be adopted into God’s family.
So when we as family and friends gather this coming Christmas eve or day, sit at our tables in our homes, we come to the Lord’s table and it is a family table.
Just as we do not get to choose our families and all our relatives, there may well be people in our church family whom we might not have chosen are invited too.
God chose Mary and Joseph, and Elizabeth and Zechariah, He chose them—and us—to be gathered together as an essential part of telling his own family story.
So we become family to belong to God’s family but also family to each other – brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus our Savior, and beloved sons and daughters of the Most High God, our Creator and at this family table there is God’s grace.
Hebrews 12:1-2English Standard Version
Jesus, Founder and Perfecter of Our Faith
12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Why do we enter into community?
The writer of Hebrews spends a whole chapter (Hebrews 11) talking about “heroic” people from Israel’s past who lived by faith. And that provides encouragement to believers to keep living faithfully for Immanuel each day.
Let us remind ourselves, The Body of Christ, God’s Church in and throughout the world, Christian community, our neighborhoods and Communities of faith are so much bigger than the host of people who are geographically close to us.
It is also about believers across the miles and miles and miles of our very own small villages, towns, cities states and counties and countries and the world.
It is also inclusive of earlier generations, current generations and the future.
The generations of witnesses connects us together in one, great community!
God, the Father and God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit ….
Holy One in Three …. in PERFECT COMMUNITY ….
Why do we enter into community?
Because God is in perfect community, and we are created in His image.
John 3:16-17Amplified Bible
16 “For God so [greatly] loved and dearly prized the world, that He [even] gave His [One and] [a]only begotten Son, so that whoever believes and trusts in Him [as Savior] shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge and condemn the world [that is, to initiate the final judgment of the world], but that the world might be saved through Him.
God loves us so much, favors us so much, that he sent his only Son, Jesus, who laid down his own life for us in order to set before us His example of family, to reveal His community, and to re-enter our community with us, His creation.
And we ought to find favor, we ought to love others so much that we enter into community again and again with love and with the hope of something greater.
Community is a reflection of God’s favor, God’s love living in us and within us.
It is who and what and why we were created to be.
Our simple family in God’s magnificent family ….
Our simple community in God’s magnificent community ….
In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,
Let us Pray,
God Sustains His Servant.
To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David.
40 I waited patiently and expectantly for the Lord;
And He inclined to me and heard my cry.
He brought me up out of a horrible pit [of tumult and of destruction], out of the miry clay,
And He set my feet upon a rock, steadying my footsteps and establishing my path.
He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God;
Many will see and fear [with great reverence]
And will trust confidently in the Lord.
Blessed [fortunate, prosperous, and favored by God] is the man who makes the Lord his trust,
And does not regard the proud nor those who lapse into lies.
Many, O Lord my God, are the wonderful works which You have done,
And Your thoughts toward us;
There is none to compare with You.
If I would declare and speak of your wonders,
They would be too many to count.
Sacrifice and meal offering You do not desire, nor do You delight in them;
You have opened my ears and given me the capacity to hear [and obey Your word];
Burnt offerings and sin offerings You do not require.
Then I said, “Behold, I come [to the throne];
In the scroll of the book it is written of me.
“I delight to do Your will, O my God;
Your law is within my heart.”
I have proclaimed good news of righteousness [and the joy that comes from obedience to You] in the great assembly;
Behold, I will not restrain my lips [from proclaiming Your righteousness],
As You know, O Lord.
I have not concealed Your righteousness within my heart;
I have proclaimed Your faithfulness and Your salvation.
I have not concealed Your lovingkindness and Your truth from the great assembly.
Do not withhold Your compassion and tender mercy from me, O Lord;
Your lovingkindness and Your truth will continually preserve me.
O God, my Strength, I put my trust in You. You have never forsaken those who seek You. You have never let me down. I know that You never will let me down because my life so far has become a testimony of Your greatness. Mold my witness and my testimony into Your image, and as Mary and Elizabeth held you close in their hearts, hold me just close to You. Show me how to mature as a Christian and improve on my walk of faith. Steady my trust in You so that it never wavers, no matter what battles I face on this earth. I declare that my faithfulness to You will be strong at all times. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.