Mothers of the Bible: Elisabeth, Forebearer to Christ

The story of Elisabeth is very reminiscent of that of Sarah in the Old Testament.

Zechariah and Elisabeth were faithful to God

Elisabeth is married to Zacharias, a priest.

Zacharias and Elisabeth are “ And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.”  {Luke 1:6}

The next verse says, “And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years.”  {Luke 1:7}

Zacharias was chosen to enter the holy of holies.  While he was there an angel appeared before him.

The angel appeared to Zechariah but he did not believe him

“But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: because thy supplication is heard, and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.  And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth.” {Luke 1:13-14}

The angel goes on to share about how much God will love this child and how this child will bring many to God.  The angel ends by saying, “to make ready for the Lord a people prepared for him. “  {Luke 1:17}

So, how would you react if an angel appears to tell you all of this?

Zacharias says to the angel “ Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my

Elisabeth was overwhelmed when Zechariah wrote of his encounter with the angel

wife well stricken in years.”  {Luke 1:18}

Zacharias is doubtful, which makes God angry.  Zacharias is struck mute.

The angel says, “And behold, thou shalt be silent and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall come to pass, because thou believedst not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season.”   {Luke 1:20}

 And the people were waiting for Zacharias, and they marvelled while he tarried in the temple.  And when he came out, he could not speak unto them: and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple: and he continued making signs unto them, and remained dumb. And it came to pass, when the days of his ministration were fulfilled, he departed unto his house.”   {Luke 1:21-23}

The people knew God was doing a great thing when Elisabeth became with child

The people did not know what to think when Zacharias appeared and was unable to speak to them.

Imagine what Elisabeth must have thought when he returned home and could not speak.  Then he either signed or wrote out what had transpired in the holy of holies.

The Women of the Bible Devotional says, “God was once again kindling a fire with two dry sticks…Elisabeth couldn’t understand her husband’s response to the angel that had so terrified him…blessed was she who did not doubt that what the Lord had said to her would be accomplished.”

Elisabeth conceived and says, “Thus hath the Lord done unto me in the days wherein he looked upon me, to take away my reproach among men.”  {Luke 1:25}

the babe within Elisabeth jumped for joy when Mary arrived for her visit

The Women of the Bible says, “in Elisabeth we see a mature believer whose years of disappointment deepened rather than destroyed her faith…Elisabeth had a vital relationship with God, when the Holy Spirit filled her, she did not doubt the insights.”

Mary, upon the angel appearing to her, goes to visit her cousin, Elisabeth.  The angel told Mary that “she also hath conceived a son in her old age; and this is the sixth month with her that was called barren. For no word from God shall be void of power.”  {Luke 1:36-37}

When Elisabeth gives birth, Zacharias wrote His name is John

The Women of the Bible says, “She and Zacharias had been content enough in their quiet house these last few months, secluded in their joy.  Each morning she had opened her eyes as though waking to a fantastic dream.  Sometimes she shook with laughter as she thought about how God had rearranged her life, planting a child in her shriveled up, old woman’s womb.”

A young Mary, who the angel said will have a child, goes to visit Elisabeth and the “babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit”.  {Luke 1:41}

Elisabeth honors Mary as being blessed among women.

Elisabeth with the infant, John

Mary stays to visit for three months and was most likely there to witness Elisabeth give birth.

Elisabeth delivered a son.

“And her neighbors and her kinsfolk heard that the Lord had magnified his mercy towards her; and they rejoiced with her.”  {Luke 1:58}

The time came to name the child and the town people thought they should name him after his father.   But Elizabeth insisted his name was John.  When Zacharias was inquired of, he also said his name was John.

The town people marveled that the child was named John.

Zacharias and Elisabeth with John

“And his mouth was opened immediately, and his tongue loosed, and he spake, blessing God”  {Luke 1:64}

Notice the first thing Zacharias does upon being able to speak.  He praises God.

The town people stored up all of these memories and asked “What then shall this child be? For the hand of the Lord was with him.”  {Luke 1:66}

Elizabeth and Zacharias had a strong faith and God proved himself faithful to them.  Even when Zacharias seemed to have his doubts, Elizabeth’s faith remained strong.

Zacharias and John

God provided a miracle through this couple, well advanced in years.

Yet, they never stopped praising God.

Do you praise God in all situations?


For the series on Mary, the Mother of Jesus click here.


Photos courtesy of

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