Monday, December 7, 2009

The Special Bond of Elizabeth and Mary

Luke 1:36 - 45

"And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month. For nothing will be impossible with God."

And Mary said, "Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.

Now at this time Mary arose and went in a hurry to the hill country, to a city of Judah, and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. And she cried out with a loud voice and said, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And how has it happened to me, that the mother of my Lord would come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord."

I love this part of the story. Mary is told by Gabriel, that her relative, Elizabeth, is also pregnant. Mary knew that Elizabeth was old and barren. She had heard the story of how Zacharias went into the temple to do his duty and came out of there, not able to speak. How strange the gossip surrounding that must have been.

Mary must have felt a kinship with Elizabeth that was strong. They both were pregnant with boys, one in her later years, one in her younger years. Mary knew that she would be ostracized because of this pregnancy. No one would believe that she was visited by an angel of the Lord or that she was still a virgin. So she decided to go visit her cousin, who was in a similar predicament.

The Bible tells us that Mary hurried to the hill country to visit Elizabeth. When she arrived, the baby in Elizabeth leaped! Now, I have been pregnant enough to know what it feels like when a baby kicks. But to have one actually jump! That would be kind of scary! When Mary came close, even the baby knew that there was something special going on here. And Elizabeth realized that Mary was chosen to carry the Messiah because the Holy Spirit filled her.

What a greeting for Mary; that she was blessed among women because of who she was carrying. And God let her know through Elizabeth that he was even more proud of her. Elizabeth also said that Mary was blessed because she believed what Gabriel told her. Would you believe? Would God called you blessed for believing? I think he calls us blessed who believe without seeing all the miracles, deeds, and visions.

There are so many great songs that have come out in the last 10 years about Mary. Mary Did You Know? was written by Buddy Greene and Mark Lowry. There is a new one, that is sung by Faith Hill, that I sang last night at our church's annual Christmas Sing. It is called A Baby Changes Everything. It talks about her predicament. I will use that song tomorrow for more insight into Mary.

So today, dwell on the two women in this story that share some special bonds. Elizabeth and Mary are both pregnant, because of God's choosing. They are both unexpectedly expecting. Elizabeth is carrying John the Baptist, the one who will announce and baptize Jesus. Mary is carrying the Savior of the World. Enough said.

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