39 Now at this time Mary arose and went in a hurry to the hill country, to a city of Judah, 40 and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 And she cried out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 And how has it happened to me, that the mother of my Lord would come to me? 44 For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy. 45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord.”
After the angel left, Mary traveled to Judah to check on her relative, Elizabeth, whom she had just learned was pregnant.
Even in infancy, John expressed joy at being in close proximity to the Son of God: “When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb” (v. 41). As he was already filled with the Holy Spirit (v. 15), John’s joy had a domino effect—upon his leaping, his mother “was filled with the Holy Spirit” (v. 41).
It was only through the Holy Spirit that Elizabeth was able to understand the significance of the prenatal kick. When John leaped inside Elizabeth, she understood that he had experienced great joy at Jesus’ presence.
In other words, joy led Elizabeth to bless Mary and Jesus.
Elizabeth also recognized the important work that her relative Mary would be doing, and she named Mary as the most blessed of women. God chose Mary above any other woman for a high purpose.
Elizabeth expressed her sense of unworthiness; she proclaimed the superiority of the One Mary was carrying. It is interesting to see the mirroring actions of Elizabeth and her son John.
John was prophesied to never eclipse the glory of Jesus; he was merely to prepare the way. In the same way, Elizabeth’s bearing John would never overshadow the birth of Jesus.
Notice the humble joy Elizabeth had in just being a witness of the process—not being center-stage.
- Do you react to Jesus’ proximity with such joy?
- How does your joy have a domino effect on other people?
- Praise the God who enables your joy.