Luke 1:39-45 (ESV)
39 In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, 40 and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. 41 And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, 42 and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”
Previously, Luke introduced us to Elizabeth and then to Mary. Now we read about the two together. Both Elizabeth and Mary were upright and godly. Elizabeth was an older woman, and Mary was a teenager. Both were pregnant, and both were carrying children whose significance to God’s plan was monumental. Elizabeth’s son, John, was to prepare the way for Mary’s son, Jesus, whose birth was more important than anyone else’s in all of human history. What an exciting moment when these two pregnant women, who were relatives as well, met up! Although Elizabeth was the older and perhaps the wiser of the two, she put her focus on Mary and the child she was carrying instead of herself. She saw Mary’s visit as an incredible honor. It is worth noting that John the Baptist, an unborn fetus, responded to the presence of Jesus, even though Jesus was an embryo at this stage. It would be hard for anyone who embraces the Bible as God’s message to mankind to argue that God doesn’t consider unborn humans to be persons. To “leap for joy” (v. 44) implies more than just life, but emotion and will, within the womb of Elizabeth. And what about Jesus? Was he not yet a person in the womb of Mary?
Elizabeth called Mary “The mother of my Lord.” Elizabeth saw the bigger picture. She gave birth to and mothered John the Baptist, and in due time John left and went on to do the work that God called him to, leaving Elizabeth, in a sense, in the same place she was before John’s birth. If Elizabeth’s hope and ultimate joy were in motherhood, she would have been disappointed once again. When God grants us relief from pain in this life, the deliverance we receive is never intended to remove our need for him. Maybe you have all you want, or maybe you don’t have much, but wherever you are today, know that in the end all that matters is whether you are going to live with God in eternity. If you find yourself holding too tightly to the things God has graced you with, even allowing them to take his rightful place, ask him to help you keep your hands open. May God allow us gratefulness and true enjoyment of the blessings he’s given us, alongside willingness to give them back if he asks.