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Elizabeth and Mary

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.

Luke 1:39-40
Elizabeth and Mary Book Cover

sharing in the joy of the lord

In today’s passage, we get to see a beautiful picture of Elizabeth and Mary, two women from different generations and life stages share in one another’s joy. What would it look like if we could do the same? If we, despite all of our doubt or hurt, could celebrate what the Lord is doing in the lives of others, he could be glorified through our relationships. In order to have a better understanding of the context, we have to read a little further back, beginning in verse 5. Elizabeth was the wife of Zechariah, a priest, and they were “well advanced in years” (Luke 1:18). This verse is slightly comical because, in the original Greek, it could be paraphrased as “my wife already has one foot in the grave.” Zechariah was in the temple burning incense and praying for the people when an angel of The Lord appeared and declared that Elizabeth would have a son—even though Elizabeth was “barren” (Luke 1:7).

Infertility is a tough subject. The pain and long-suffering of yearning for a child, only to be met with empty arms, can be unbearable. In biblical times, it was not only emotionally painful, but it was also a source of great shame. Women who struggled to have children were considered cursed. They were scorned and looked down upon.

On the other side of the spectrum is Mary, a betrothed teenager, visited by an angel of the Lord. She, too, would give birth to a son. The angel shared with Mary that Elizabeth was in her sixth month of pregnancy before he departed. She responded with a faithful, “Let it be so,” and journeyed to Elizabeth’s side.

When Mary greeted Elizabeth, “the baby leaped in her womb” (Luke 1:41). There was no comparison or condemnation. Elizabeth was not bitter or jealous. Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, blessed her.

blessed are you

Today, the Holy Spirit indwells us. We can bless others, even when circumstantially or emotionally, it may feel impossible. Elizabeth had endured a lifetime of ridicule and pain because of her barren state. Mary was young and unwed, something even more taboo then than it is today, and still Elizabeth was filled with joy because she could see what the Lord had done.

When they entered into each other’s joy, their hearts’ response was to praise The Lord. Oh, that this would be our heart’s stance before one another! Let us search out what God is doing in the lives of others, bless them, and praise God together.

There are two things about this friendship that we can glean. First, Mary and Elizabeth both loved the Lord and desired, above all things, to be His servants. Because of this, there was no jealousy or comparison between them, only joy and love for one another. They did not measure one another’s worthiness or value based on their own circumstances. They found their fulfillment in God. God does amazing things through the so-called “everyday” relationships. Our friendships are no different. He enables us to love, and through that love, He grows and stretches us. He takes hard circumstances and uses them to reveal more of Himself to us and those around us. There is no doubt that the spiritual bond and friendship between Mary and Elizabeth shaped their sons’ lives.

Imagine how your friendships can shape those in your circle of influence.

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How can you be more intentional with your relationships?

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Comments (2)

Being intentional in all relationships is important and can be hard and overwhelming. I try to text or touch base at least one a week but as my circle grows it gets harder to keep up and sometimes get overwhelmed with life and someone falls through the cracks. I intentionally try to keep my casual friendships in a group setting so that I can keep time for deep friendships and personal relationships…but even with at I fail at times. But true friendships don’t hold grudges and let each other grow and fail with out condemnation.

Friendships ….real ones…..are strongest when the times are tough. A real friend does not stray from you when you are at your worst. They rise up and take care of you and you will do the same when they need you. I can be more giving with my time and love to my friends and not be so scared to get hurt. When I feel in my heart that this person deserves my love, I should not run and hide from that intense feeling, but rise up. At the end of the day, if I fall flat on my face, there is still a lesson to be learned. Sometimes we hurt but love is so worth it.

I can make deliberate phone calls and texts and or gestures to my friends just letting them know I love them and appreciate them. I can also make sure to ask about what is going on with them and truly care and follow up on what is going on in there life.

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