We’re going through the New Testament and looking for Trinitarian clues to further our understanding of this essential doctrine. Right now, we’re in the gospel of Luke. Last night, we covered the appearance of Gabriel to Mary in Luke 1. We’re going to be continuing that tonight with looking at Mary’s visit to Elizabeth who by a miracle due to her age is pregnant with John the Baptist.
39At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, 40where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth.41When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!43But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?44As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!”
I’d like to focus on an aspect of this I find extremely revealing. Let’s consider the role of Elizabeth. Elizabeth is an elderly Jewish lady and she is married to a priest in the Levitical system. The earlier part of this chapter has this to say about her and her husband.
5In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. 6Both of them were upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commandments and regulations blamelessly. 7But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren; and they were both well along in years.
So when we consider this, we need to realize the unique event that happens when John the Baptist leaps for joy in the womb of Elizabeth upon the entrance of Mary and how Elizabeth is immediately filled with the Spirit.
One important question to concentrate on is “Who is the mother of Elizabeth?” I would contend that Elizabeth was speaking by the Holy Spirit and knew that YHWH had come and taken an incarnate form to dwell among men, which I have shown in prior posts can be deduced from the Old Testament texts.
A hesitating Christian might wonder what it means to speak of Mary as the mother of God. I’m not Catholic as I’ve said, but I believe even my Catholic brethren would agree with me on this. When we speak of Mary as the mother of God, we do not mean that Mary gave birth to God as if God came into being at that point in time.
Remember that persons give birth to persons. Mary is a person who gave birth to a person who in addition to his humanity happened to have the full nature of God. In that sense, Mary is referred to by that title. Those of us who are Protestants disagree with the high place that Mary is given in Catholic circles, but make no mistake about this friends. The Bible refers to Mary as a blessed woman and we have to admit that. Mary was chosen out of all the women to be the mother of the Messiah. While we believe Catholics tend to overdo her role, let us not make the opposite mistake and downplay her role.
Mary was the chosen vessel to bring the incarnation into the world. What about you? Are you going to be the vessel that reveals the good news that happened starting with Mary to the world?