3

Before Jesus was born, Elizabeth called him "my Lord" in

Luke 1:43 But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

Later, her son John knew that he was not the Christ in

John 1:25 they questioned him, "Why then do you baptize if you are not the Messiah?"

Did Elizabeth know that Jesus was the Christ when she was pregnant with John?

Matthew 22:41 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, 42“What do you think about the Messiah? Whose son is he?”

“The son of David,” they replied.

43He said to them, “How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him ‘Lord’? For he says,

44“ ‘The Lord said to my Lord:

“Sit at my right hand

until I put your enemies

under your feet.” ’

45If then David calls him ‘Lord,’ how can he be his son?

Had Elizabeth understood these lines from Psalm 110 because she called Mary "the mother of my Lord"?

  • Elizabeth was not a king, as David (and the Messiah) clearly was. – Lucian Jul 28 '20 at 17:04
4

Luke specifies that Elizabeth was "filled with the Holy Spirit", which suggests that she was speaking prophetically. Given that Zechariah seems to know who Jesus is (see e.g. 1:76 - Luke also specifies Zechariah is "filled with the Holy Spirit" here), and Simeon seems to understand who Jesus is simply by the power of the Holy Spirit (2:25), I think it's perfectly possible that Elizabeth is simply speaking the truth as revealed by the Spirit.

Bear in mind that Elizabeth was the mother of John the Baptist, who was the one who was to "prepare the way of the Lord" from Isaiah 40 - where it is quite explicit who he is preparing the way for. So there are a number of prophecies which Elizabeth could have been drawing on.

2

An adult woman should not have called an infant “my lord,” as honor is given by children to their parents (and elders), not parents to children.1 Jesus was an infant and not yet anointed as a king. Nevertheless, she calls him “my lord” in recognition that he is the promised King Messiah.2 Furthermore, as that promised Messiah, he is also Yahveh.3 For that reason, David who was king of Israel, calls his own son the Messiah “my lord,” even though his son, if he were just a man, should still call David “my lord,”4 since David would be elder than his son.

Footnotes

        1 Exo. 20:12
        2 Psa. 110:1; cf. 1 Kings 1:31 where the King of Israel is called “my lord.”
        3 cf. Psa. 110:5 where it is אֲדֹנָי (Adonai) identified as being at Yahveh’s right hand. אֲדֹנָי is never used in reference to men.
        4 Matt. 22:45

1

The phrase Κύριός μου (= My Lord) occurs in the NT quite sparingly, just 11 times, and always refers to Jesus as a formal but still personal form of address. Jesus is often referred to as, "the Lord", as indeed are others such as Caesar, etc; but only Jesus is ever referred to as "my Lord"; for example -

Speaking directly to Jesus or about Jesus: Luke 1:43 (Elizabeth), John 20:13 (Mary), 28 (Thomas), Phil 3:8 (Paul), Matt 22:44, Mark 12:36, Luke 20:42, Acts 2:34 plus some parables as well.

These all appear to be quoting just two OT sources namely

  • Ps 110:1 - clearly a Messianic Psalm as quoted in Matt 22:44, Mark 12:36, Luke 20:42, Acts 2:34
  • Ps 35:23 as per the LXX were we find the phrase, ὁ θεός μου καὶ ὁ κύριός μου = the God of me and the Lord of me. Thomas (John 20:28) particularly appears to almost quote this verbatim!

In Luke 1:43 we have a similar instance about which Ellicott observes:

(43) Whence is this to me . . .?—The sudden inspiration bids Elizabeth, rising above all lower thoughts, to recognise that the child of Mary would be also the Son of the Highest. The contrast leaves no room for doubt that she used the word “Lord” in its highest sense. “Great “as her own son was to be (Luke 1:15) in the sight of the Lord, here was the mother of One yet greater, even of the Lord Himself.

Matthew Poole arrives at a similar conclusion:

Elisabeth in these words acknowledgeth both the incarnation of Christ, and the union of the Divine and human nature in the one person of the Mediator; she acknowledgeth Christ her Lord, and Mary to be his mother.

Hence, by divine inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Elizabeth uttered a sublime truth that was a simple fact - Mary was the human mother of the Lord of the all the earth, whom she correctly addressed as "My Lord". The Pulpit commentary also observes:

And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? But the Holy Ghost (verse 41) raised Elisabeth's thoughts yet higher. Not only did she bless the mother of the coming Messiah, but the Spirit opened her eyes to see who that coming Messiah really was. Very vague indeed was the conception of the coming Messiah in Israel. The truth was, perhaps, revealed, and in rapt moments received by men like Isaiah and Ezekiel; and now and again men like David; Daniel wrote down visions and revelations respecting the Coming One, the true purport of which vision they scarcely grasped. Generally the Messianic idea among the people pictured a hero greater than Saul, a conqueror more successful than David, a sovereign more magnificent than Solomon. ... But here the Spirit in a moment revealed to the happy wife of the priest Zacharias that the Babe to be born of her young kinswoman was not only the promised Messiah, but was the awful Son of the Highest!

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