“Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.”Luke 1:45
The Gospel of Luke opens with a contrast between two individuals, an elderly priest called Zacharias, and a young woman named Mary. Both were granted the enormous privilege of an angelic visitation with a promise from God.
Zacharias and his wife, Elizabeth, were righteous people who had for years prayed that God would grant them a child. One day, as Zacharias was serving in the temple, the angel Gabriel appeared to inform him that their prayers had been answered and they would have a son. But though a devout and godly man, Zacharias thought this was impossible– it was too late, and they were too old. And because of his unbelief, he was struck dumb and unable to speak until the child was born and Zacharias gave him the name revealed by the angel, John.
Six months later, Gabriel appeared to Mary with those familiar words, “Rejoice, highly favoured one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!” (Luke 1:28). She was told she would bear a son and was to call His name Jesus (v. 31). She couldn’t understand how a virgin could give birth to a child, but the angel explained, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God” (v. 35).
What a contrast between the simple faith of a young girl from Nazareth and the elderly priest from Judea! For centuries the Jewish people had lived in expectation that God would send His anointed One, the Messiah, the Seed of the woman (Genesis 3:15), the Seed of Abraham (Genesis 12:3), the Seed of David (2 Samuel 7:12). Zacharias doubted but Mary heard the word of the Lord through Gabriel, took God at His Word and said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38).
Mary went at once to visit her elderly relative, Elizabeth. Upon her arrival, Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and cried, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!” (v. 42).
But Elizabeth also identified a principle that always pleases God: “Blessed is she who believed” (v. 45). Like Mary, all who take God at His Word and claim His promises are truly blessed!