At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariahâ€™s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Maryâ€™s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: â€œBlessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! Â But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?Â As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.Â Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!â€Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Luke 1:39-45 (NIV)
I am not a Biblical history expert so I cannot speak to what was the cultural norm.Â I read this passage and I am amazed at the sequence of â€˜proclamationsâ€™ here by these two women.
Mary has just received the revelation from Gabriel that she will have a child and He will be the Messiah that all Israel has been anxiously waiting for many, many generations.Â I imagine she might have been a bit overwhelmed!Â I think I, too, would have gone to someone that I trusted to share this unbelievable news!
Elizabeth, herself the recipient of a birthing miracle, receives a confirmation of what has happened to Mary both in her body (with her unborn child making an unusual â€˜leapâ€™) and in her spirit with her proclamation of the honor she feels that the mother of the Messiah would visit her. Elizabeth is looking at this young cousin she has known, this girl, and knows that what she hears in her head is not just a silly thought but God speaking to her an astounding truth!
I can only imagine the joy and relief that Mary felt when the woman, maybe even someone she had looked up to all her life, confirms to her what she has been told without any explanation on her part!Â God encourages Mary through someone she trusts.Â This was a moment that Mary would remember for the next nine months!Â Maybe even during that difficult trip on the back of a donkey she looked back at Godâ€™s first word of encouragement to her through Elizabeth and knew once again that He would take care of her and the child even when they were away from family and all that was familiar.
And Mary said: â€œMy 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 meâ€” holy is his name.
His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation.
He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, even as he said to our fathers.â€Â Â Â Â vv. 40-55 (NIV)
I think this is an important point to our own dialogue with God.Â Mary receives a word of encouragement from God.Â She responds with a word of praise, acknowledging that He is blessing her and the blessing is not just for her but ripples out even farther than her mind can comprehend!
When we speak out our thanksgiving for what God is doing no matter how big or insignificant it is measured by ourselves or others, we acknowledge Godâ€™s sovereignty and our need for Him in every aspect of our lives.Â We are keeping our eyes on Him and not ourselves.