A Walk through the Book of Luke
February 24, 2023
Mary Visits Elizabeth
“Leaping for Joy”
Have you ever been so happy or overjoyed by something you literally jumped up and down? I’ve seen many athletes jump up and down after they’ve won a sporting event. Likewise, children leap up and down when they’re excited, especially if you say something like, “We’re going to Disney World tomorrow!” And there was the one time I remember jumping up and down in joy. It was the night I shot a 300-game bowling in 2011.
I’ve been around many pregnant women who held their stomachs and said, “The baby is kicking again.” But I can’t say I’ve ever heard anyone say, “My baby is leaping for joy.” I’ve only heard that phrase in today’s Bible passage.
Of course, Elizabeth’s baby lept for joy, with good reason. The unborn baby John knew he was in the presence of God’s unborn Son, Jesus.
Today’s Bible passage is only six verses long. But, in those six verses, we learn how God’s Holy Spirit can enlighten, direct and make us leap for joy.
“At that time, Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice, she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” Luke 19:39-45
The angel Gabriel had recently appeared to Mary, telling her she would give birth to the Son of God. The Bible says,
“At that time,” Mary visited her older cousin Elizabeth. The passage above says, “Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.”
This all happened over two thousand years ago. Then, there were no telephones, telegraphs, Instagram, or Facebook Messenger. So Elizabeth had no way of knowing in advance that her young cousin was with child. But as Mary approached Elizabeth, the Holy Spirit enlightened her.
How else would she know she was pregnant (at this time, Mary would have been a month or less pregnant)? Mary was not ready for the greeting she received from her cousin. Elizabeth greeted Mary with a blessing and mentioned her pregnancy. And then Elizabeth really hits the nail on the head when she says to Mary,
“But why am I so favored, that the mother of My Lord should come to me?”
Finally, Elizabeth praises Mary for believing and having faith.
“Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished.”
One might wonder where this praise that Elizabeth gives comes from. It came from the Holy Spirit, who enlightened her and filled her with joy because she was in the presence of the mother of God Himself.
Oh, and don’t forget one more thing. The unborn baby John leaped in Elizabeth’s womb. This happened when Mary greeted her. So, the unborn child John, who was destined for greatness in the eye of the Lord, knew He was in the presence of Christ.
Perhaps we as Christians should be leaping for joy each Sunday as we worship God, pray, and rejoice in song. Because of what God did for us by sending His son as a living sacrifice and our faith in Christ Jesus, we can now feel confident that we will have eternal life.