John’s first foretelling of the Messiah
After Gabriel visits Mary, Mary rushes to her cousin. If Gabriel and God were doling out unexpected pregnancies, she was going to talk to the anchor that they provided her amidst her journey.
Mary sees Elizabeth and she breaks into her famous song, The Magnificat. We remember Mary for “treasuring these things in her heart,” scolding 12 year old Jesus for staying at the temple, and her appearance at the cross at Christ’s crucifixion, but this is her most glorious and memorable entrance in Scripture. She cannot contain the wonder that her body is to be the vessel that ushers God to earth.
She has just questioned how God can do what He has committed to doing, and the very next thing she does is remember God’s faithfulness to His people through generations. Mary instantly believes, and not only that she’s carrying the Son of God, but also that everything that could ever have been true about God before her time, is certainly true now.
Mary's visit and song are an incredible example to Zacharias. When he cannot seem to recall the faithfulness of God, his wife’s young cousin comes to help remind him.
It’s a confirmation for Elizabeth! When Elizabeth sees this child carrying the Son of God, John leaps within her womb. It says she is in that moment filled with the Holy Spirit.
Even before his birth, John is foretelling the story of God. This time it’s to his mother and aunt. I love this part of the story. It’s just a little sentence. Luke 1:44 “For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy.” This is John’s first act of preparing the way of the Lord.
God gave Elizabeth affirmation and confidence in the work of God in this moment. He didn’t have to, but he was preparing all of them, encouraging each one with the solidness of the work of God. And Elizabeth fulfilled her all-important job of acknowledging and speaking that affirmation from God. She spoke out loud the gift of affirmation that the Spirit gave to her.
I think what strikes me is that we have little opportunities like Elizabeth’s. We get to see in little acts like her son kicking her belly, how God is at work and moving. We have opportunities every single day to speak of the significance of God moving among us. We can take the opportunity to share those moments where God breathes into us or we can breeze by them, not acknowledging the movement of God.
Mary stayed 3 more months with Elizabeth. My guess is that she wanted to see John’s birth. She wanted to meet the baby who would prepare the way for her son, the Son of God. God used their stories to facilitate belief, glory, and courage in one another.
What stories from Scripture do you recall and hold onto in hard times?
Who is an example of someone who has walked with God faithfully that you can turn to in moments of doubt or fear?