In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”
Mary and Elizabeth. One is young, the other is old. One is not yet married, the other has been married for many years. One is a virgin, the other is not. But both are godly women with world-changing sons in their wombs.
In the cultural day of the New Testament, women were often marginalized, particularly those who were young, poor, and single, and those who were elderly, poor, and childless. This is especially true if they lived away from major urban centers and were not connected to powerful families. Mary and Elizabeth fit all of those criteria. They are among the least likely to be chosen for something significant.
As we pick up the story, we see Mary’s immediate obedience to God’s word: “In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.” Elizabeth had not publicly announced that she was pregnant. She was home worshiping God, getting the nursery ready, and perhaps celebrating the fact that her husband had been rendered mute for a season. And hearing about this, Mary says in essence, “Well, I’ve got to go see Elizabeth. I love her. We’re close. We’re relatives. I’m pregnant. She’s pregnant. We need to share in one another’s joy!”
So Mary goes on a journey of upwards of a hundred miles. The specific town is not stated in the text, but the region is. This teenage girl walked about a hundred miles, maybe by herself, likely in the hot sun, in danger. She apparently really wanted to see Elizabeth.
The young girl and the older woman finally reunite, “And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb.” We know from previous verses that Elizabeth is about six months pregnant, with a son who would grow up to be known as John the Baptizer, and Mary has just conceived Jesus by a miracle of the Holy Spirit. They come together, and the Holy Spirit is present and active in the women and their wombs. John leaps in his mother’s womb, and Elizabeth then begins to prophesy.
If God did something amazing in your life, who would be the first person you wanted to share the news with? Why?