And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda; And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth. And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:
And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.( Luke 1:39-45)
A young Galilean virgin had just been told by an Angel, that she would bear the “Seed of the woman”, who would one day “Crush the serpent’s head”, and be the Saviour of the whole world. Her virgin born son would be the Son of God, and would sit on the throne of David to rule forever.
There would be one person who would possibly be able to understand this mystery in part, for the same Angel made mention of Mary’s cousin, Elizabeth.
Elizabeth, who had long since passed her child-bearing age, had conceived a child and was now six months pregnant. Her Husband, the Priest Zechariah, had some kind of an experience in his Priestly service which rendered him unable to make the Priestly Blessing at the climax of the service.For these long six months, Zechariah remained dumb.
As soon as Mary entered the house of Zechariah and Elizabeth, the babe in Elizabeth’s womb, kept for joy, and the Spirit of the LORD came upon Mary, flowing out through the gift of Prophecy.
“Blessed are you among woman…”, this was the same blessing that the prophetess Deborah conferred upon the woman Jael, in Judges 5, after Jael drove a tent peg through the temple of Sisera, a vicious enemy of Israel.
Blessed above women shall Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite be, blessed shall she be above women in the tent. He asked water, and she gave him milk; she brought forth butter in a lordly dish. She put her hand to the nail, and her right hand to the workmen’s hammer; and with the hammer she smote Sisera, she smote off his head, when she had pierced and stricken through his temples. At her feet he bowed, he fell, he lay down: at her feet he bowed, he fell: where he bowed, there he fell down dead.(Judges 5:24-27)
Like Jael, Mary is Blessed above women, for she would bear the “Seed of the woman”who would crush head of the ultimate enemy of Israel, Satan himself.
Blessed is the fruit of thy womb…Her son would be the one ,born of a woman and not of a man, man’s blessed redeemer.
How is it that the Mother of My Lord should visit me…? By the Spirit of the LORD, Elizabeth called Mary the mother of her Lord. It was the baby in her womb, who pointed this out to her, already fulfilling the task he was called to, that is pointing people to Jesus as LORD and Saviour!
Blessed is She who Believes, for there shall be a performance of those things… from the LORD… Like Abraham, Sarah, and so many other of God’s faithful through the Ages, Mary’s belief in a miracle baby , sent to save us, from heaven, would be rewarded.
Then the Spirit of Prophecy fell upon Mary herself,
And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior… Mary’s inner man, her soul has been focused upon the LORD< and her Spirit rejoices in God,her Savior!
Mary knew and confessed that she was a sinner , that she needed God, and His salvation. As a true believer and pious Jew, she waited for His salvation to come in due time. Now, the time had come!
For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. Mary didn’t consider herself to be some kind of divine or semi divine being.She would have abhorred as Pagan all talk of Theotokos, or Queen of heaven, or anyone praying “Hail Mary”…Mary knew she was nothing, a sinner, a lowly handmaiden of the LORD, and that it is “HE who is mighty” who has done great things to her.
This prophecy is similar to the Prophecy of Hannah in 1 Samuel 2, when Samuel was born in answer to a prayer that went far beyond a woman’s desperate request for a son, for Hannah’s prayer initiated an entire reversal of the decline of Israel.
Mary is an observant Jew, and would hold an intensely Monotheistic Creed and worship. Holy is His name, and his name alone!
For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name…
In the Spirit of Prophecy, she marvels at who God is, what God has done what God does, and who He does it for.Ultimately , it is in the coming of Jesus into this world, that the nature and character of God is fully revealed.
Who is this Holy God and what is He like?
She praises his power and might. What awesome power is revealed, that God should become a babe, and enter into his own creation? What an entirely different view of what power really is! That God should become a babe.
Why does he thus display his power? To bring us salvation. This is what it took to save us, God had to become a man, He condescended to us, and regarded our “Low estate”.
Why did God have to save us this way?
Because as Mary prophesied, “Holy is His name“. Because God is Holy He had to make a Holy way to save us. Someone had to suffer for sin. Jesus is God, become a man, to come down to us and take our place in judgment.
And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation… Salvation is due to the mercy of God. He is a God who pities lost sinners and weak, fallen humanity.That mercy took him from heaven to earth, from glory to humiliation.
He hath shewed strength with his arm;…In the advent of Jesus, God reveals His power to His congregation, He is an active God, and not indifferent to the plight of His people.
…he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts…
But it is not power as conventionally understood. The proud cannot see in the babe in the manger, the power of God, even as Peter couldn’t see power, in the prospect of Jesus , the Messiah, dying at the hands of his enemies on the cross.
He destroys the Wisdom of the wise, and brings to nothing the understanding of the wise in this world, he scatters those united in Pride, and of all of those who rely on their own ample resources, and see no need of God.
In the coming of the Holy Child, everything the worldly think about power, wisdom, righteousness, and truth is exposed as false, shallow and corrupt, in the light of God.
He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree...God demotes and God elevates. In Jesus, the hierarchies of this world are set on their head.The Last shall be first, and the first last, the humble shall be exalted and the proud made low. Whoever humbles himself shall be exalted, and the proud be made low.
He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away…He feeds only the hungry, and cures only the sick… the self sufficient and proud are sent away empty.Those “Rich” and “Learned” cannot see the gospel, He hides it from them, to reveal it unto babes. One has to duck to enter into the place where Jesus was born, as well as to see the empty tomb, that he was interred in.
He hath helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy; As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever…God has not forgotten His covenant with Abraham,Isaac and Jacob, to bless every family in the world through the “seed of Abraham”.The word for “Helped” is the same as the word, “Succor” , he has run to the aid of Israel, or better, he has “lifted up his Servant Israel”.
And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to her own house.