Honored Before He Was Born
AFTER the angel Gabriel tells the young woman Mary that she will give birth to a baby boy who will become an everlasting king, Mary asks: “How is this to be, since I am having no intercourse with a man?”
“Holy spirit will come upon you,” Gabriel explains, “and power of the Most High will overshadow you. For that reason also what is born will be called holy, God’s Son.”
To help Mary believe his message, Gabriel continues: “And, look! Elizabeth your relative has also herself conceived a son, in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her, the so-called barren woman; because with God no declaration will be an impossibility.”
Mary accepts Gabriel’s word. And what is her response? “Look! Jehovah’s slave girl!” she exclaims. “May it take place with me according to your declaration.”
Soon after Gabriel leaves, Mary gets ready and goes to visit Elizabeth, who lives with her husband, Zechariah, in the mountainous country of Judea. From Mary’s home in Nazareth, this is a long trip of perhaps three or four days.
When Mary finally arrives at Zechariah’s house, she enters and offers a greeting. At that, Elizabeth is filled with holy spirit, and she says to Mary: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! So how is it that this privilege is mine, to have the mother of my Lord come to me? For, look! as the sound of your greeting fell upon my ears, the infant in my womb leaped with great gladness.”
At hearing this, Mary responds with heartfelt gratitude: “My soul magnifies Jehovah, and my spirit cannot keep from being overjoyed at God my Savior; because he has looked upon the low position of his slave girl. For, look! from now on all generations will pronounce me happy; because the powerful One has done great deeds for me.” Yet, despite the favor she is shown, Mary directs all honor to God. “Holy is his name,” she says, “and for generations after generations his mercy is upon those who fear him.”
Mary continues praising God in inspired prophetic song, proclaiming: “He has performed mightily with his arm, he has scattered abroad those who are haughty in the intention of their hearts. He has brought down men of power from thrones and exalted lowly ones; he has fully satisfied hungry ones with good things and he has sent away empty those who had wealth. He has come to the aid of Israel his servant, to call to mind mercy, just as he told to our forefathers, to Abraham and to his seed, forever.”
Mary stays with Elizabeth for about three months, and no doubt she is a big help during these final weeks of Elizabeth’s pregnancy. It is indeed fine that these two faithful women, both carrying a child with God’s help, can be together at this blessed time of their lives!
Did you notice the honor that was paid Jesus even before he was born? Elizabeth called him “my Lord,” and her unborn child leapt with gladness when Mary first appeared. On the other hand, others later treated Mary and her yet-to-be-born child with little respect, as we shall see. Luke 1:26-56.
▪ What does Gabriel say to help Mary understand how she would become pregnant?
▪ How was Jesus honored before he was born?
▪ What does Mary say in a prophetic song in praise of God?
▪ How long does Mary stay with Elizabeth, and why is it appropriate that Mary stay with Elizabeth during this time?