One day a little over 2,000 years ago, three truly great people came together in a house located in the hill country of a small, insignificant nation. One was named Mary. In later years, she would become known to billions as the mother of God. People would even falsely worship her as such.
Another person there that day was named Elisabeth. She was the mother of the greatest prophet in Israel’s history. But on this day, in that house, she herself would take on the role of prophet.
A third person in that house–present, but unseen–was Elisabeth’s son who would be born in three months. His name was John. In his role as prophet, he would take up the mantle of the OT prophet Elijah, calling the nation to turn to God in order to receive His blessings. The nation had waited for his appearance for centuries. Years later, after he began his prophetic ministry, people from all over the nation would venture out to the Judean wilderness to hear John speak. He caused a national conversation about what his message meant.
Every student of the Bible would be thrilled to talk with just one of these three people. We would have a thousand questions to ask each of them. Schools, churches, and institutions of higher education have been named after them. Numerous books have been written about them.
What is noteworthy about the meeting of these three people, however, is what they focused on. They were interested in a fourth Person who was also present in that room that day.
When Mary entered the house, John leaped in Elisabeth’s womb. Months earlier, when Elisabeth had been told that she was going to have John, she was also told that he would point people to the coming Christ. Now, though still in the womb, John could already get excited about being in the presence of his King. If he had been able to speak, we can only imagine how joyously he would have spoken about being in the presence of the Lord.
Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, who compelled her to speak boldly. And what did He have her say? The Spirit inspired her to point out that the mother of her Lord was present. In doing so, she foreshadowed what her son John would focus on. She declared that of all women, Mary was blessed because of the One who was in her womb. The King had come to Elisabeth’s home, and she was overjoyed.
Mary, of course, was in complete agreement with Elisabeth and John. She had just been told that the Baby she was going to have would be the Christ, the One who would rule from the throne of David forever (vv. 32-33). Elisabeth reminded her of that same wonderful truth: God had given Mary the great blessing of giving birth to the Son of God. No wonder that Mary immediately broke out into a hymn of praise because of what God had done–and would do–for her through His Son (vv. 47-55).
I think this is a great scene. Mary, John, and Elisabeth are together for the first time. All three would play a large role in the future of their nation. Throughout the centuries since that meeting, people have talked about these three people. But what did these three talk about? Jesus Christ–the fourth Person in the room. They focused on Him. That is what all truly great people do.