Mary journeys to see Elizabeth. Luke 1.39-56
Being involved in the running of Bobol Bach, the CFC Mums and Toddlers Group, for many years it is very clear that pregnant mums find a great deal of encouragement and help from meeting others in the same joyful condition. It was no different at that level for Mary and Elizabeth but it was especially poignant in that Mary was just a young girl, probably a teenager while Elizabeth was a mature woman of many years although she too was about to experience the miraculous birth of her first child. So humanly speaking she could not have given much practical advice although she may well have been midwife on a number of occasions in her long life. So why did Mary make the journey?
Surely one reason is that we may learn about the different relationships leading us to Luke 2 and the account of the birth of the Son of God.
v.36 Mary has just been told that Elizabeth has conceived and is in her sixth month and something very special happened as (v.39) she hastened to travel up country to visit Elizabeth. As Mary greeted Elizabeth two things happened: the babe Elizabeth was carrying leapt in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.
The relationship between Jesus and John was established before either was born and Elizabeth understood as the Holy Spirit filled her that, this was the fulfilment of what the Lord had spoken. V.45. This confirmation and an increasing realisation on the part of Mary of the significance of these events led to Mary voicing the Magnificat – the glorious song of praise and testimony to the outworking of God’s plans for his people.
One cannot but think that Mary knew Hannah’s Song of Praise in 1 Samuel 2 having been given a son against all the odds and indeed, much of the ongoing story of his people as she rehearses God’s mighty acts.
It would appear that Mary returned home just before John was born v.56 having been blessed by and a blessing to Elizabeth as both were channels of God’s working.
There is a danger that we might rush through Luke 1 in our eagerness to come again to the excitement of the birth of Jesus in chapter 2 but we need to pause for it is a crucial part of the story.
God’s working is clearly seen in the ordinary acts of the two women seeking support and encouragement from one another.
The reaction of Elizabeth’s babe is a beautiful confirmation of Psalm 139.13-16
The importance of knowing and understanding what God has done in the past is emphasised in Mary’s song and should be part of our knowledge base as we live our lives, for it confirms that God is at work and unchangeably faithful.
We see in these two women, examples of humility and faith as God chooses each to play a significant role in his great unfolding plan of redemption and today the baton has passed to all of us, ordinary believers, to live such lives for his glory and for the blessing of many.
Let us take time in this Advent season to reflect afresh on the events surrounding the birth of our Saviour and particularly the different people involved and their obedient response of faith and trust.