Zephaniah 3:14-18; Isiah 12; Luke 1:39-56
Who was the first human to recognise the presence of Our Lord Jesus on this earth? After Mary, His mother - it was John the Baptist, who even before his own birth, 'Lept for Joy' in his mother Elisabeth's womb! Both women were pregnant, and Mary took considerable risks travelling out to see her kinswoman Elisabeth. Elisabeth was an older mother - indeed was considered by everyone to be well beyond the age of child bearing, but wonders of wonders! so she was. Mary rushed out to greet her when she heard of this news. As they meet, Mary gives voice to the Magnificat, the prayer said by the church every day in evening prayer. It is a prayer that sings out the joy of the nation in the fulfilment of all that was promised from long ago. The visitation is assembled from passages of the old testament and is a skilful work composed by a competent scriptural scholar. The magnificat draws on 1 Samuel 2 - Hannahs' song to her son Samuel, and the journey of Mary, the Arc of the Lord, to Elisabeth, is prefigured by Samuel 6 where David takes the Arc of the covenant to Jerusalem with dancing for joy, a stay of three months, and the pondering - 'Why has this been done for me' - all occurring in both Samuel and Luke.
Luke, the evangelist may never have met Jesus but he certainly spent time with Paul and others who had seen Him. Luke was well versed in the historical documents of Israel (the old testament) and was writing for an educated greek audience. His skill in deftly connecting the old testament with the new would have reassured them that this faith was no flash in the pan new age spirituality, but was genuinely built upon the old covenants and based on a new and permanent covenant.
In this meeting of John the baptist, the pinnacle of the old covenant, and Jesus, the creator of the new covenant, the two are drawn together and connected. And it was done by the action of two women, one old, barren, and the other, barely more than a child.