21 December 2016

Luke 1:39-45

“And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.” (v. 45)

Psalm: Psalm 25


As we noted yesterday the stories of Mary and Elizabeth, and also the children they are carrying in their wombs, are woven together throughout this chapter. Today's short passage tells of their meeting and the joy which their encounter brings.

Once again you might look at for pictures old and new which seek to convey the scene. Consider how best they express the differences in age and station of life between these two people. Elizabeth was well past the age for normal child bearing, but most likely an honoured lady belonging to a well-known and respected priestly family. Mary was most likely in her teens, and her ancestry is not mentioned.

Yet Elizabeth gives precedence to Mary, and sees herself favoured that Mary, "the mother of my Lord" (v. 43) should come to her. The baby in her womb leaps for joy (verse 41), but also as a sign that he, too, will give precedence to Mary's child.

In this joyful scene note how Elizabeth is filled with the Holy Spirit and, as a prophet, speaks out her praise to God. However her joy is not in her own situation. Her focus is entirely on Mary. She concludes with a beatitude - blessed is the woman who believes that God will fulfil his promises to her.

To Ponder

  • Reflect on the reasons for Elizabeth's humility as she welcomes Mary.
  • The passage ends with Elizabeth's beatitude for Mary, rejoicing that she is blessed because she believes God's promise to her. Have you ever sensed that God has promised you something, and have you seen that promise fulfilled? Give thanks to God for that.

Bible notes author

The Revd Donald Ker

Donald Ker is a supernumerary minister in the Methodist Church in Ireland. As well as serving as a circuit minister in Bray Co Wicklow and as Superintendent Minister at Belfast Central Mission, he has been General Secretary of the Methodist Church in Ireland and its President in 2009/2010.