The mother of the unborn Jesus meets the mother of the unborn John the Baptist, and there is immediate supernatural recognition. Elizabeth interprets her baby's movement as a 'jump for joy'; filled with the Spirit, she is given insight into who Mary really is - the mother of her Lord. Elizabeth's message must have been a great encouragement for Mary.
The word 'blessed' translates two Greek words. The first word, in v.42, literally means 'you have been well spoken of'. When someone speaks a blessing, they are speaking words that bring good. God is the one who brings that good to pass; Elizabeth sees that both Mary and her unborn baby have been blessed by God. That may not mean material benefits; a person may be blessed because of what God is going to do through them rather than to them, and they are blessed because of the privilege of being involved with God in this way. This holds true even when accomplishing the task involves suffering, as it did for Mary and for Jesus.
The other word for 'blessed' is in v.45; this word means 'happy' or 'fortunate'. Mary is blessed because she believed the angel's message, and therefore will see its fulfilment. (For a contrast see Luke 1:20).
ISSUES FOR TODAY
Supernatural knowledge: this may be a gift of the Spirit as here; but not every person who exhibits supernatural knowledge has received it from the Holy Spirit. Some have it because of past occult involvement by themselves or a family member. Others seem to have it just as an innate ability. The issue for Christians is what we do with such knowledge, and how we should react when others display it. Any gift of the Spirit needs to be used to glorify God and build up his people.
Blessing: In the Old Testament priests were to bless the people (Numbers 6:22-27). Fathers blessed their children (Genesis 27), village elders blessed individuals (Ruth 4:11,12). In the New Testament we are to bless even our persecutors (Romans 12:14). In an age when tongues can be used so negatively, should we speak more blessing?
1. At Christmas time what difference does it make to believe God's promises?
2. In what ways are we blessed? In what ways can we be a blessing?
IDEAS FOR MEETINGS
Welcome question: Has anything happened or been said to you recently which has been a real blessing to you?
Worship: We bless God by praising him, we bless one another by encouragement, using spiritual gifts, praise, appreciation, intercession for one another and our concerns. Have a time of blessing!