Matthew chapter five opens with a list known as the Beatitudes. Those verses share with us the principles of living lives pleasing to God and they are markedly different from what our culture tells us we should be. These traits are things like meekness, mercy, purity, and peacemaking. When was the last time you saw those character traits encouraged? Maybe that’s part of the problem we have in the world today.
Last week we looked at the song Zechariah sang when the angel Gabriel visited him with the news that he would have a son. That son would be the fulfillment of a promise made by God long before. This week we look at the song his wife, Elizabeth, sings when she encounters Mary and the unborn baby Jesus.
Elizabeth’s song is found in Luke 1:39-45 and is far shorter than Zechariah’s or Mary’s that follows (yes, Mary’s song is next week.) Here are those verses:
(Luke 1:39-45 ESV) In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”
Looking at those words, there are a number of things that are simply amazing. What I want to draw your attention to for this brief look are the words Elizabeth says in verse 43, “And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me?”
This gives us a glimpse into the humble spirit of Elizabeth. She finds herself utterly unworthy of this honor and expresses that in her song. Here on her doorstep is another humble character, more on her next week, and then the greatest gift to humanity ever. Jesus, the Messiah, is right there in her home. The humble home of a humble woman in a humble, unknown village south of Jerusalem. This home where the promised prophet makes his first announcement of the promised Messiah.
In this season, seek the attitudes listed in Matthew 5. Seek the humble example of Elizabeth. Make the next few weeks not about the things we call gifts, but about the greatest gift we could ever receive in that of salvation.
In an age of bitterness and hate, be better than that. Strive to be a peacemaker.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” Matthew 5:8