Gabriel had told Mary, “For nothing will be impossible with God” (Luke 1:37, New American Standard Bible NASB), explaining that her relative Elizabeth was also pregnant in a miraculous way. Hearing that Elizabeth had conceived as an old woman, Mary hurried to Zechariah’s house. Please, let us not think that Mary went to see Elizabeth out of unbelief, as if she wanted to see for herself that Elizabeth was pregnant, or that she hurried to Elizabeth’s out of shame over her own pregnancy. Instead, let us remember that when Mary accepted God’s call on her life, she said, “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word” (v. 38).
I believe that Mary hurried to see Elizabeth, because she wanted to share her secret pregnancy with a close relative, someone with whom she could share her excitement and joy. Furthermore, Mary sensed the importance of seeing Elizabeth, for the angel Gabriel had said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you;” (v. 35). While this passage says that the Holy Spirit will come upon you, it is reasonable to think that the Holy Spirit had given Mary a revelation — to go quickly to Elizabeth.
Mary and Elizabeth’s family visit contains a significant detail:
“Now at this time Mary arose and went in a hurry to the hill country, to a city of Judah, and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. And she cried out with a loud voice and said, ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And how has it happened to me, that the mother of my Lord would come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord’” (vv. 39-45).
You see, at the precise moment that Mary greeted Elizabeth, the Holy Spirit filled Elizabeth, which gave her inspired and prophetic words, in which she explained that her baby had leaped for joy, and that she had at once realized that Mary, the mother of her Lord, had come to her. Can we even imagine such a joyful revelation?
In her own joy, Mary began to sing a prophetic hymn, known as the Magnificat (Latin for my soul). In her outpouring of praise, Mary begins with:
“My soul exalts the Lord,
And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior” (vv. 46-47).
The lavish words of Mary’s Magnificant are reminiscent of Hannah’s Old Testament hymn of praise for the birth of her son, Samuel, and filled with messianic hope. And now, because of Mary’s submission to God’s will, that messianic hope would come to fruition in the virgin birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
These two women spent the next six months together, Mary staying until John was born. I wonder if either of them truly understood the implications of John and Christ’s birth to the world right at that moment. I doubt they did.
Think about it… here we are in the twenty-first century; and as believers, we can reap the benefits of John and Christ’s births.
If only those who don’t know Christ as his or her savior would seek and accept the gift of eternal life. It is right there for the taking. Seek… and you will receive.
Do you seek the Lord, Jesus Christ?