Mary Visits with Elisabeth

Last week, we took a look at the angel appearing to Mary.  He told her that the Holy Spirit would come upon her and she would be with child.

Mary asked how can this be.  After all, she’s only engaged and has never known a man.

The child in Elisabeth lept with joy

The child in Elisabeth leapt with joy

The angel explains that the Holy Spirit will come upon her.  This is followed up with another bit of shocking news.

Luke 1:36-38 (ASV)
And behold, Elisabeth thy kinswoman, 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.  And Mary said, Behold, the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.

Elisabeth is “well stricken with years” but many commentaries state she was 90 years old {maybe because that’s the age Sarah was when she had Isaac}.  Elisabeth is married to a priest, Zechariah, and the couple has never had any children.

If I were Mary my mouth would be open in shock.  However, I’d like to imagine that Mary had more decorum and better manners than I do.  After all, this is an angel of the Lord telling her this and not the town gossip.

Even at such a young age Mary shows her faith.  She doesn’t question the angel or test him or tell him it is impossible {I would have done all of those things I’m sure}.  Instead she says, “be it unto me according to thy word.”  She accepts what the angel says without hesitation and believes him in her heart.  That is what we call faith.

We have to wonder what Mary must have told Joseph and her parents about her sudden departure to go and visit with Elisabeth and Zechariah. Imagine the surprise they must have felt when Mary knocked on their door.

Luke 1:41-43 (ASV)
And it came to pass, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit; and she lifted up her voice with a loud cry, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come unto me?

Imagine the conversation between two women. Zechariah listening and taking it all in.

Imagine the conversation between two women. Zechariah listening and taking it all in.

Elisabeth warmly greets Mary and re-emphasizes that the angel has already said to Mary.  Can you imagine what must have flashed through Mary’s mind when she looked at her aged relative and saw that she was great with child?

Were Elisabeth and Zechariah expecting Mary to visit?  Were they shocked that she was the one chosen to carry the Messiah?

We know at least Zechariah struggled for a while, because he’d been made mute during this time.

But if we get out of at least our heads, if not Mary’s, we will HEAR that Elisabeth is blessing her.  The Holy Spirit has come upon Elisabeth and she reiterates that Mary is the “mother of my Lord.”

Luke 1:44-49 (ASV)
 For behold, when the voice of thy salutation came into mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.
And blessed is she that believed; for there shall be a fulfilment of the things which have been spoken to her from the Lord. And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For he hath looked upon the low estate of his handmaid: For behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.  For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; And holy is his name.

Elisabeth goes on praising God.  She mentions how the child in her womb leaps for joy when Mary appeared.  Pregnant women love to feel their baby move and there is something miraculous about it.  However, imagine your child leaping in the womb.

Zechariah was silenced because of his disbelief. He was unable to speak.

Zechariah was silenced because of his disbelief. He was unable to speak.

Once Mary is settled, imagine the story she must have heard. Zechariah had been chosen to offer the sacrifice that year in the holy of holies.  This was a high honor and he must have been on an emotional high to have drawn the lot to enter the Lord’s presence.  But, when he gets into the private sanctum an angel appears before him.  We are told that Zechariah was “troubled and fear fell on him.” {Luke 1:12}.

When told that Elisabeth was going to have a child, he did not believe the angel and he questions the angel.  Gabriel is angered by his lack of trust and silences him.

Everyone is anxiously waiting outside the inner sanctum for Zechariah to appear and when he does he’s unable to speak.  Elisabeth must have been anxiously waiting for him to return home, only to discover he is mute.  Can you image the size of her eyes as he wrote out the story for her of what the angel said?

Now, six months later Mary has come to visit and Elisabeth is indeed with child the way the angel proclaimed.


Photo 1 Courtesy of MorgueFile
Photos 2 & 3 Courtesy of

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