Tuesday 31 May 2022

Bible Book:

'And my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour.' (v. 47)

Luke 1:39-49 Tuesday 31 May 2022

Psalm 113


There is often a shared bond between pregnant women or parents of young children, which can lead to lasting friendship. Mary and Elizabeth were cousins but now their bond became something more because they each had a unique experience of the Holy Spirit at work in their unborn children. They felt it, they knew it, and the result was pure joy.

 Luke’s Gospel gives us this story as part of the opening ‘infancy narratives’ of his carefully researched account of the life of Jesus. For Luke, the Holy Spirit was always a key player. He uses the word ‘Spirit’ more than any other gospel writer, and continues with his sequel, Acts, which refers to the Holy Spirit more than any other book in the Bible. Later, the Holy Spirit would be available to all believers. At this stage in God’s salvation plan, the Spirit is setting apart certain people for certain tasks, as God had done with the prophets before.

 In this chapter, first John the Baptist (in the womb), then his mother Elizabeth, and father Zechariah would all be ‘filled with the Holy Spirit’, while the same Spirit would come upon Mary, with the gift of the Son of God within her.

In the passage we read today, the Spirit seems to bring insight and secret knowledge. Elizabeth, who is well on with her pregnancy, on greeting Mary feels her son in her womb moving and remarkably seems to know that Mary is "the mother of my Lord' (v. 43). This is more than wise ‘intuition’.

 But what is especially striking here is the joy between these two women. They are cousins but they probably did not see each other very often. Elizabeth is of advancing years, and Mary is an unmarried virgin, possibly a teenager. In normal circumstances, they each may have had their own feelings including fear, embarrassment, or even shame about being pregnant. But here (in the presence of the Spirit) is confidence, boldness, unity, and joy, as Elizabeth’s jubilant greetings give way to Mary’s magnificent song of praise.

 We will not have the unique experience of Mary or Elizabeth. But as we read the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55) and reflect on what God has done for us, perhaps we can find similar joy, whatever our circumstances. When the Spirit of God is at work, so our spirits can rejoice in harmony.


To Ponder:

  • Have you ever known the Holy Spirit at work and found it to be a time of great joy?
  • Have you ever found unexpected joy in the midst of difficult circumstances?
  • Who do you have to share these feelings and experiences with?


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