Luke 1:39-45 – In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah,  and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.  And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit,  and she ex claimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!  And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me?  For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.  And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”
What in the world is this about and how does one get a devotional thought out of it? An unborn infant jumps for joy when the woman pregnant with the Messiah, who he will have the job of introducing to the world, shows up. Are we supposed to believe this? It seems rather incredulous doesn’t it? You know, like God making the world in six days or a world wide flood and an ark with all the animals in it or a a man going to heaven on a fiery chariot or a host of other incredible things. We cannot reject this story simply because it is fantastic. We are dealing with God here.
Taken in the context of the events that are unfolding it is not entirely unexpected. The birth of Jesus is surrounded with incredible extraordinary (beyond the ordinary) events: angelic visits, an inordinate number of dreams directly from God, virgin birth … . These are very special events. We see the devil turning up his assaults against God and those who follow Him (note the slaughter of the innocents in Matthew 2). There is nothing else like it in all that is recorded in the Bible.
That God caused baby John to jump in the womb at the appearance of the mother of the Messiah is just another indication of the magnitude of what God is doing here. God is in the womb.
There will be those who will relegate this jumping to the normal jumping of a baby in the womb. My wife was hardly able to sleep when expecting our son because of all the kicking he was doing (It was a hint at what was to come later). Elizabeth’s conclusion will be seen by some to be the irrational, or hopeful conclusions of a religious zealot who is eager to make everything relate to her desire for God to act.
But let us not lose sight of the fact that God the Son is in that womb of Mary and His prophet is in the womb of Elizabeth. Both conceptions are miraculous. Jesus’ conception is impossible. The created order is amok. The events occurring are off the scale and God is causing incredible things to happen.
There is no indication in the account that baby John was cognizant of the events. But God is doing something outstandingly great here. Nothing has ever come close to matching it. Nothing ever will. That God should cause an unborn infant to react to the presence of his Creator is not that surprising (says something about the humanity of that pre-born child, too, doesn’t it?). He can cause stones to rise up in praise to the very same Son. It would be more shocking if everything continued on in a normal manner.