And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord. (Luke 1:41-46)
A meeting between two happy mothers. Our Mother Mary through the message of the angel rushed to her older cousin to help her and take care of her in her pregnancy. Regardless of the greater dignity of her conception, Mother Mary humbly left her affairs to attend to her cousin.
The moment Elisabeth heard Mother Mary’s voice, the baby leaped in her womb. This is most likely not the usual child stir, but an extraordinary motion of the child like when Jacob and Esau struggled in Rebecca’s womb (See Gen. 25:22). It is as if he leaped to signal to his mother that his friend, the Bridegroom, was present, fulfilling also what the angel told his father that “he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb.” (Luke 1:15).
Elisabeth herself was also filled with the Holy Ghost and a spirit of prophecy by which she realized the Messiah was present and the unique motion of the baby in her womb was a divine impulse.
Elisabeth congratulates Mother Mary on her honor saying with a loud voice “blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.” Although Elisabeth was the wife of a priest, and older than Mother Mary, she does not grudge that the honor put upon her was much less than the great honor put upon Mother Mary of conceiving the Messiah. Instead, she rejoices gladly, and just like her son afterwards, she knows that she who “cometh after her is preferred before her” (see John 1:27). This is a lesson for us to realize that we are more favored of God than we deserve, and that we by no means should envy that others are more highly favored than we are.
Elisabeth also acknowledges Mother Mary’s condescension in making her this visit. “Whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” She recognizes that this is a visit of great favor of which she though herself unworthy. Those that are filled with the Holy Spirit have low thoughts of their own merits, and hight throughs of God’s favors. Her son spoke within the same terms when he said to Jesus “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?” (Matthew 3:14).
Elisabeth then commends Mother Mary’s faith, and encourages it. “Blessed is she that believed.” Believing souls are blessed souls. Blessedness comes through faith. The never to be broken certainty of the promise is the undoubted happiness of those that build upon it. For all that have experienced the performance of God’s promises should encourage others to know that God will be as good as his word to them also. Blessed are those that believe in the word of God, for that Word will never fail them.
– Summary and Excerpts from Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Old Testament
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