38 And Mary said, “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
Before I leave this passage, I wanted to comment a bit on this last verse.
I had missed this in my earlier reading, but Mary gives her willing consent to the Lord’s plans for her. She accepts her role and the burden it would impose on her in exchange for bearing a Son who would redeem mankind.
She chooses to obey God and play her role in facilitating God’s redemptive grace to mankind. And as we read through the genealogy of Christ again, we can reflect back on the Old Testament characters it mentions and see that the road to the Messiah included both men and women, some just and some unjust. Humanity in all of its representative character and genders was used by God to bring about His salvation.
But that was an amazing choice for a woman in Mary’s position. Her Son would be born of her, but His focus and attention would be on all of humanity, not merely His relatives. His devotion would be to each one of us, not simply Joseph and Mary. His first and foremost Parent that He would honor would be God.
That and the stigma that she would bear make Mary’s choice an extraordinary one. And while God has turned her reproach to great honor, that day would have seemed distant to a teen carrying what was thought to be an illegitimate child conceived under illicit circumstances.
39 Now at this time Mary arose and went in a hurry to the hill country, to a city of Judah, 40 and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth.
Interesting that the first place Luke records Mary going after her angelic visitation is her cousin Elizabeth. The angel had told her that Elizabeth was with child, and Mary goes to verify that this is so. Trust, but verify.
God is okay with people who seek the truth.
(Though again, this makes the angel’s response to Zacharias’ question stand out even more as an oddity to me.)
41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 And she cried out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 And how has it happened to me, that the mother of my Lord would come to me? 44 For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy. 45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord.”
And God validates His words to Mary through Elizabeth. Elizabeth is described as being filled with the Holy Spirit and she calls Mary blessed, calls Mary’s Son blessed and her Lord, and indicates that the unborn John knew or could sense that something was special about Mary and the embryonic Christ within her womb. And Elizabeth assures her that she would be blessed for believing in God’s word to her.
And this settles it for Mary, who in the next section will break out into a beautiful song/prayer to God thanking Him for His kindness and the honor bestowed upon her. But I think that section is worth doing on its own.