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006 Elizabeth and Mary Meet
Luke liked that word. He
used it 60 times, in comparison to 22 times in the rest of the NT.
But, “Mary arose in those days…”
What days? The Ethiopic
version renders it, “in that day”. But,
it means that as soon as the angel was gone from her, she made ready for her
journey. It was not an easy
journey; it was not simply a quick jaunt across town.
It would have been about 90 miles, as the crow flies, and she was not a
flying crow. This was a major
Why did she go immediately?
Perhaps, it was to confirm the sign she had been given.
If Elizabeth were truly pregnant, then that would verify the sign she had
been given by Gabriel. Besides, she
had a few things she needed to talk to Elizabeth about:
The great things that God had done for both of them, the coming of the
Messiah, and just to praise the name of God!
Mary was told of Elizabeth’s
condition, and she wanted to share her news with Elizabeth.
Mary was younger, and was not as far along in her pregnancy, and as such,
it would normally be appropriate for her to make the trip.
But, she was pregnant with the Messiah!
As is befitting the mother of our Savior, she did not insist on the
preference that her greater dignity gave her; she humbled herself, prepared
herself, and made the journey herself.
Now, the angel had not told her
that Elizabeth’s child was to be anyone of any importance; she did not know
that he would be the forerunner of the Messiah. But, the news of his impending birth was given as a sign unto
her. So, she rose, and with
diligence went into the mountainous region of Judea.
What is diligence?
It’s conscientiousness in paying proper attention to task and giving
the degree of care required in a given situation.
(Diligence is also a large stagecoach, but that’s beside the point.)
The KJV says she arose with haste, and that would be a part of the
diligence that she should be showing, but only a part.
She was on an important mission. She
had been given a sign to confirm what she had been told, and it was her
responsibility to be diligent and verify it.
Now, when Zechariah had asked
for a sign, he had been rebuked. However,
think about where he was when he was given the sign. Who else would be there?
Mary, on the other hand had been told something incredible, and she was
given a sign to verify it.
So, she set out on her journey
with diligence and went into the hill country into a city of Judah.
Luke uses this adjective (mountainous) in this context (here and in Luke
1:65), instead of simply saying into the mountains.
It’s an old word, and is used in the LXX, but nowhere else in the NT.
It’s a region in the vicinity of Jerusalem that is commonly called the
Hill country of Judea.
The name of the city in which
Zechariah lived is not given, unless “Judah” here means “Jutta” (modern
day “Yutta”; Joshua 15:55), but most people assume that he lived in Hebron.
Hebron was the chief city of this part of Judea, and was a home to
priests. Jutta was less well know,
but it was also a city of priests. They’re
fairly close together, so Mary’s journey will be long, no matter where she’s
heading. Mary is making a journey of 85-90 miles, as the crow flies,
if she’s traveling from Nazareth to either Hebron or Yutta.
Verse 40 tells us that she
completed the journey and she entered into the house of Zechariah and salutes
Elizabeth. I’m sure she expressed
great joy at seeing Elizabeth, and one glance told her that the sign that she
had been given was true. Think
about the emotions of Mary, as she arrives, and with her first glance at
Elizabeth, she knows the truth of the sign that had been given her.
With this realization, the promise she herself had been given, became a
Elizabeth had kept herself close
(she had not announced her pregnancy; she was going to let the pregnancy
announce itself and announce the glory of God), but at six months, I’m sure
she was showing enough for Mary to know and rejoice with Elizabeth in a common
bond. As far as we know, Mary is
the first person to know about the pregnancy besides Elizabeth and Zechariah.
Mary entered the house of
Zechariah, but she saluted Elizabeth. It
may have been because he wasn’t home, or it could simply be because it’s not
usual for women to salute men, nor men to salute women.
Remember back in Luke 1:29, Mary was troubled because it was uncommon for
a man to salute a woman. But, one
woman would probably salute another, and Mary especially saluted Elizabeth,
because that’s who she had come to visit and it was Elizabeth with whom she
was primarily concerned at the moment. Besides,
if she had saluted him, he was still deaf and dumb and would not have noticed.
This bond between Elizabeth and
Mary was special. It was more than
simply a bond between kinswomen who are both pregnant, yet neither knew the
entire story yet. John was sent to
prepare the path of the Lord. He
does this even before he’s born! [Luke
1:41] Mary, had no doubt kept her
holy secret to herself; she probably assumed that God would make it known to
whom it was necessary in His own time. Yet
the moment she comes into the presence of the spirit-filled forerunner, even
though he was still in his mother’s womb (he’s a child, even before he’s
born, no matter what the pro-abortionists tell you), he recognized and rejoiced
in the presence of his Lord. Even
babes in Christ, with little foundation in the Word can rejoice in the presence
of the Lord! It would not be an
uncommon occurrence for a baby to leap in his mother’s womb, but Elizabeth was
filled with a holy spirit (not the Holy Spirit here), and
she was able to understand what had happened with Mary. Imagine the effect of this on Mary! The angel had told her of Elizabeth, and Elizabeth’s words
reveal the fact that she shares in Mary’s joyous secret!
In verse 42, we have a Greek
word [anaphOneO] that is a medical term for an exercise of the voice that is
used nowhere else in the NT. It
says that she “spake out with a loud voice”, but that doesn’t impart the
true impact of the word. “With a
loud cry”; it’s ecstatic emotion! She
gave this emotional cry, and followed it with words, saying, “you are most
blessed among women!” This is a
Hebraistic superlative. Most
blessed! But, she’s not blessed above
women; she’s blessed among women.
Why is this honor done to me? What
have I done to deserve this wonderful happening?
Why do I have this honor that the mother of my Lord has come to me?
“Lord”, (kurios) would be a more important term to the Greeks than
Messiah, because they had not been anxiously awaiting the Messiah.
The Septuagint uses the word “Lord” to translate “Yahweh”.
This word Lord has deep meaning in this sense.
Elizabeth isn’t envious, as some might be.
She is above that; the Bible tells us that she is righteous.
As high as the distinction is that has been bestowed upon Elizabeth (Luke
1:14 tells us that “many will rejoice at his birth…”), she notices only
the presence of one who has been more highly honored than she.
And as soon as the voice of Mary sounded, the baby leaped for joy.
He wasn’t just happy, this word is exultant joy!
It’s exultant joy that we should feel every time we hear God’s voice
speaking to us through His word!
Elizabeth concludes her
benediction by saying, [Luke 1:45]. It’s more of an additional benediction. Blessed is she who is believing; Mary has faith, and
there’s substance to that faith. Elizabeth
is encouraging Mary, she is fellowshipping with her, and telling her that she is
blessed because she has faith, and is supporting her in continuing in that
Verses 42-45 are poetry;
they’re a song or a hymn. Elizabeth
is filled with the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit speaks through her
magnificently. Mary, likewise
filled with the Holy Spirit, responds with a song of her own.
Elizabeth was excited; she was
full of ecstatic emotion. Mary on
the other hand, was calmer, more reposed, and more inwardly confident.
She had been given a promise, and had been given a sign to confirm that
promise. [Luke 1:46]
“And Mary said…” She
simply said. She didn’t cry out.
She said, “My soul is magnifying the Lord”.
Her soul (her life; the soul is the life of man) is magnifying (present,
active) the Lord, Yahweh.
“My spirit has rejoiced or exulted in God my Savior.”
She’s not excited like Elizabeth, but she’s ecstatic; she’s
exultant. Her soul is magnifying
the Lord, and her spirit has rejoiced. The
soul is the life of man, and the spirit is the point of contact between God and
man, so to speak. It says, “My
spirit has rejoiced in the God the
Savior of me”. He is the
God, and he is the Savior.
There are no others. God is
called the Savior throughout the OT, and this is consistent with that.
In the joy of these two women,
we have a small taste of what the coming of Jesus into the world means.
He’s the Messiah! He’s everything that entails!
He’s not only the Messiah of the Jews, but of the entire world!
Beginning with these two women, the widening circle will include His
faithful followers, the entire nation of Israel, and all the nations of the
[1:48] “The low estate…”
The poor bride of a poor carpenter, and yet to be the mother of the
Messiah. This is in opposition to
those in James 2 who give the good seats to those of means, and makes those that
are poor to sit under the footstool. He
regards the low estate of the servant, and shall elevate her, and she shall be
called blessed for all generations. We
can have blessings in the age to come also, if we humble ourselves now and serve
the Lord. Do you want those
blessings? I do.
[1:49] He does great things for me, too!
[1:50] “And His mercy…” This word emphasizes the misery that grace deals with.
This is talking about human wretchedness and the impulse to relieve it,
which is issued in God’s gracious ministry.
Grace takes away the fault, mercy takes away the misery.
Thank God that He gives us both grace and mercy!
His mercy is on them that fear
Him, in a reverential fear, from generations unto generations.
We need to fear God. Not in
a trembling, “don’t strike me dead” type of fear, but in a reverential,
awe-inspiring fear. If we do, He
will bestow His mercy upon us forever.
hath showed strength with His arm…” He
has made might. This is a Hebrew
expression that can be found in Isaiah
53:1, which says, “Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the
LORD revealed?” This is talking
Holy Spirit is styled as the finger of God.
Psalm 8:3 tells us, “When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy
fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained.”
But, here in Luke chapter 1, it’s talking about
Jesus, the arm of God. We
find that the man of sin, the antichrist, will have his arm broken, but the arm
of God shall be strong forever. The
Finger of God created the heavens and the earth and wrote the 10 Commandments.
The arm is where the strength is. This
is the redemptive power manifested.
“He hath showed strength with His arm; he hath scattered
the proud in the imagination of their hearts.”
“Imagination” is intellectual insight or moral understanding; it’s
the faculty of thought. He scatters
the proud by their own intellectual insight.
They’re not relying upon an understanding through God.
He uses them as the instrument of their own destruction.
2 Corinthians 10:5 says, “Casting down imaginations, and every high
thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into
captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”
Don’t let your own intellectual insight or imaginations be your
downfall. Don’t destroy
He pulls down princes from their thrones.
That’s what this word that’s translated “mighty” is.
Potentates. It’s the Greek
word “dunastas”, from which we get our word dynasty.
How many dynasties that were considered indestructible have been pulled
down? Don’t be proud in your own
power; remember that all power is from God.
“He hath holpen…” This word means to lay hold on or to grasp helpfully.
It’s used in the sense of partaking.
[1 Timothy 6:2] This sense carries us back to the original meaning of the
word according to its composition, to receive instead of or in return.
It suggests the idea of “to take up for”, or “to espouse the cause
of”. What He has done, is, “He
has stood up for his servant Israel.” Isaiah 41:8 says, “But thou, Israel, art
my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend.”
He supported Israel, His dear servant, to be reminded of His mercy.
first phrase is parenthetical, and it could read:
“According as He spake to our fathers.”
You can find where He spoke these promises to the fathers throughout the
OT, and direct reference to these promises can be found in Micah 7:20, which
says, “Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob, and
the mercy to Abraham, which thou hast sworn unto our fathers from the days of
old,” and Psalm 98:3: “He hath
remembered his mercy and his truth toward the house of Israel: all the ends of
the earth have seen the salvation of our God.”
“And to his seed forever”. This
is talking about the endurance of Messiah’s Kingdom, as expressly promised by
the angel in verse 33.
“And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever,” or
literally, into the ages. Not over
just the Jews in a literal sense, who are the posterity of Jacob, but over all
believers, both Jew and Gentile. Just
as David reigned over the Idumeans, Syrians and others, as well as over the
house of Judah and Israel, so also Jesus, the Son of David shall reign over both
Jews and Gentiles. His Kingdom will
be from one end of the earth to the other.
I want to be a part of that Kingdom!
We can all be a part of that Kingdom!
“And of his kingdom there shall be no end.”
Luke tells us there will be no termination of this Kingdom.
Isaiah 9:7 tells us, “Of the increase of his
government and peace there shall be no
end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to
establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever.”
Daniel 2:44 tells us, “And in the days of these kings shall the God of
heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never [to the ages shall not; the text does
not say “never”] be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other
people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and
it shall stand for ever [to the ages; not forever].”
[The Emphasized Bible by J. B. Rotherham, an excellent
translation, words it thus: “And,
in the days of those kings, shall the God of the heavens, set up, a kingdom
which, to the ages, shall not be destroyed, and, the kingdom, to another people,
shall not be left, —it shall break in pieces and make an end of all these
kingdoms, but, itself, shall stand to the ages.”]
15:24-27] The reign
of Christ is for ages or eons; it’s for a long, but limited time.
He then gives up the Kingdom to God the Father.
The Kingdom itself is endless.
“And to his seed forever”. This
is talking about the endurance of Messiah’s Kingdom, which is not forever, but
for a thousand, glorious years. I
want to be a part of that Kingdom! We
can all be a part of that Kingdom! We
can also miss out, if we’re not obedient and faithful servants.
We want to hear, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant”.
spent three months under this honored roof, until about the time that John was
born. Of this house or Mary’s
house, there’s not a trace. But,
their progeny have made the world new.
This beautiful hymn that Mary gives says it all.
Did she spend the time on the road composing it, or was it just
spuriously inspired by the Holy Spirit? I
don’t know, and the Bible doesn’t say; this hymn is simple, yet profound.
Let’s read it again. [1:46-55]
Mary has responded with this beautiful magnificat or hymn
of praise. It’s simple, yet
sublime. It reminds us of God’s
mercy and grace and magnificence. Those
who magnify the Lord cannot help but be happy!
Those who humble themselves will surely be blessed.
She takes the place of a slave, and rejoices to own Him as her Lord.
We should do the same.
She knows herself
to be an obscure, poor, despised laborer, and suddenly she has become
exceedingly favored among women. A
woman to whom all women will bestow praise.
But, her thoughts are not of herself alone. Her case is that God will scatter the proud and exalt the
low. He will visit downtrodden
Israel and place them on the throne. He
will stand up for them.
He is showing mercy
to His people, and He will perform all the promises made to Abraham and the
prophets. Yet, many who were
looking for the Messiah were worried about things of the flesh, when He was
offering something much, much more. Do
we look to God for things of the flesh? He
will provide those also, but that doesn’t need to be our primary concern.
[2 Corinthians 1] Now
that He has begun to show mercy to His people, He will perform all the promises
made to Abraham and the prophets. [2
Corinthians 1:20-22] [For
whatever promises are of God, are in Him "Yes."
Wherefore through Him also is the "Amen" to God, for glory, through us.
Now He Who is confirming us together with you in Christ,
and anoints us, is God, Who also seals
us and is giving
the earnest of the spirit in our hearts.]
“For whatever promises are of God, are in Him, “Yes!”
His promises will come true. All
[2 Corinthians 1:21] “Establishes.”
This was a metaphor in Corinth when confirmation of a bargain was made.
A bargain has been made for us, and that has been confirmed through his
promise! All His promises are good!
He has sealed us unto that great day that is coming soon.
He is the pledge of the performance of every promise God has made, for the Seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent’s head, and by His bruised heel, shall bring in blessing far beyond the prophets’ most delightful, wonderful, and enraptured predictions. The bliss begins with His mother Mary. We can have that bliss as a free gift, and we need to honor that free gift in everything we do! We need to fear the Lord; we need to honor and obey Him, and bring glory and honor to His name.