Mary's Visit to Elizabeth - Luke 1:39-56
In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord." And Mary said, "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, for he has looked with favour on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever." And Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home.
Elizabeth is, like her husband Zechariah, characterised as righteous and blameless. Her barrenness was not blameworthy in God's sight; but Elizabeth, a woman of her time and culture, had viewed it as 'disgrace' or 'reproach.' At any rate she came to rejoice in what the Lord had wrought for her. She 'hid herself' for five months that her pregnancy, unknown to any but herself and her husband, should be a striking sign for Mary who would visit her in the sixth month of that pregnancy.
And Mary did duly visit her relative. The 'city of Judah,' in view of the determination 'hill country,' must be in the neighbourhood of Jerusalem. A tradition, going back to the sixth century, points to the delightfully situated village of Ain Karim, five miles west of the city. At Mary's greeting, Elizabeth felt the infant move in her womb: he had leaped for joy at the presence of the mother of the Messiah. The Baptist in the womb is already a 'prophet of the Most High'; it is through his prophetic action that Elizabeth knows Mary to be 'the mother of my Lord.' As mother of the Messiah, Mary is 'blessed among women', a Hebraism meaning the most blessed of women.
Elizabeth, a pious and model Jewess, was privileged to be mother of the Baptist, the child of promise, the one who is to go before the Lord. It was her privilege, too, to welcome into her home the mother of the Messiah. Her insight singled out the faith of Mary; 'blessed is she who believed.' She, a woman, was the first in Luke's narrative (other than Mary) to know that the Messiah had come among his people.
This is the Story of Jesus drawn from the four Evangelists
Gospel passages accompanied by a number of brief commentaries