Summary: Mary's encounter with Elizabeth. The blessedness of Jesus.
THE SONG OF ELIZABETH
The angel Gabriel told the virgin Mary that her hitherto barren cousin Elizabeth was pregnant, because “with God, nothing is impossible” (Luke 1:37). Mary's reaction to this news was to leave Nazareth, and to go into the hill country to the city where her cousin was residing (Luke 1:39). Mary, as we know, also had some news of her own for Elizabeth – but how would she explain it to the older woman?
When Elizabeth heard Mary's voice two things happened. The babe in her womb leapt - “for joy,” she tells us (Luke 1:44) - and she was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied (Luke 1:41-42). The words of Elizabeth's welcome confirmed that there was no need for Mary to explain her own pregnancy.
Elizabeth spoke out in a loud voice (Luke 1:42). When we have something to say, we need to say it. You have good news? Spread it. You have enlightenment? Don't hide your light under the bed. You have heard a joyful sound? Be swift to share it with others. We need not mumble truths that are at once wonderful, and relevant.
Elizabeth's words, of course, are well known. She called Mary “blessed” (Luke 1:42). Whatever did she mean?
There are different kinds of blessing. Paul says in Ephesians 1:3, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.” There is one kind of blessing whereby God has blessed us, which adds something to us, and another kind of blessing whereby we “bless” God in return. We are returning thanks, but we add nothing to Him.
The younger woman is called “blessed” by Elizabeth because Mary was carrying a blessed fruit in her womb (Luke 1:43). Mary is the human mother of the incarnate Lord. Only in this sense is she the “mother of God.”
Mary was bearing the source of all blessings within her. He who is the eternal Lord became man in the Person of Jesus, and Mary was blessed to bear Him. The man of God's right hand continues hereafter as both God and man in one Person forever, able to “lay His hand upon both” (Job 9:32-33).
In her unique situation, Mary had already been pronounced “blessed among women” by Gabriel (Luke 1:28). However Mary's blessedness, as ours, resides in personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (Luke 1:45). There is a blessedness shared in common with all believers, but the form that our blessings take will differ from person to person. All are equally a free gift of God's grace.
How do we know that we have God's blessing? How do we prove our faith? For Mary, if she needed any proof, there was the fulfilment of the things which had been promised to her (Luke 1:45).
Mary's own song first of all magnifies not herself, but the Lord (Luke 1:46). He is her Saviour just as surely as he is Saviour to any who turn to God through Him (Luke 1:47). She acknowledges her own lowliness (Luke 1:48; Luke 1:52). She celebrates the covenant-keeping God (Luke 1:49-55), and finds in Him her blessedness (Luke 1:48).
Wherein lies our own blessedness? Not in Mary, blessed as she is; but in the fruit of her womb, Jesus (Luke 1:42).