04.03.04 Lk. 1:39-45 Village in Judah
MARY VISITS ELIZABETH
39 In those days Mary set out and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judah 40 where she entered Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped inside her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 Then she exclaimed with a loud cry:
“You are the most blessed of women,
and your child will be blessed!
43 How could this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For you see, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped for joy inside me! 45 She who has believed is blessed because what was spoken to her by the Lord will be fulfilled!”
“You are the most blessed of women.” This phrase could also be translated to read “of all the women most blessed are you.” To the early Church fathers prior to the advent of Mariology doctrines, Mary was seen as a Second Eve. Unlike the first Eve who said, “No” to God’s commandment of obedience, the second “Eve” said “Yes.” Similarly, just as the first Adam failed the test of sin, the “second Adam,” meaning Jesus, passed the test of sin and was sinless.
Mary, just as anyone else, had the freedom to obey or disobey God, and was herself in need of salvation (Rom. 3:23). There would have been no incarnation, if this young Jewish girl had not been obedient. She was righteous, but not sinless. Yet she is called “blessed” because she was chosen to carry the Christ-child. God would never force His will upon anyone, for to do so would injure the image of God in which man was created.
Finally, imagine the elderly mute and deaf Zechariah living with two women who were divinely pregnant. Aside from the humor that must have existed, everyone in the small community knew that God’s hand was in this matter. Word of these events most certainly spread throughout the temple circles through the gossip grapevine. The lives of the parents and the two small infant boys would be carefully observed. No wonder that years later when John and Jesus began to preach, both had waiting audiences.
04.03.04.Q1 Why was it important for Mary to visit Elizabeth?
While the specific reason is not given, understanding the cultural values of the time can frame out a relatively accurate answer. Mary was single and pregnant, and that situation had serious social consequences. Before the town elders of Nazareth had opportunity to judge her at the town gate (Deut. 22:15), she went to the home of Zechariah and Elizabeth because their home provided her a protective environment. Since Zechariah was of a priestly line, his comments concerning her condition had greater authority than did her neighbors in Nazareth. Furthermore, his wife Elizabeth was also pregnant and, therefore, the three of them realized that God was about to do something incredibly profound. Without the miraculous pregnancy of Elizabeth, Mary’s situation could have been dire. She stayed for three months until John was born.
. Zerwick, Analysis of the Greek New Testament. 173.
. Roman Catholics, Egyptian Coptics, and Greek Orthodox may hold different viewpoints on the significance of the Virgin Mary, but they all believe in the salvation message of Jesus.