“…the Lord has dealt with me…”
Luke 1:24, 25; 42-45; 60
(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
Elizabeth was the wife of Zacharias and the mother of John the Baptist. John was a miracle baby because, as Luke 1:7 tells us, “…they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were well advanced in years.” But God had other plans! Gabriel, the messenger angel, appeared unexpectedly to Zacharias as he burned the incense in the temple, Gabriel told him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear a son, and you shall call his name John.” (Luke 1:13).
In the last Gem, we explored the age of this elderly couple. Most likely, they were well into their sixties! But there is nothing definitely recorded concerning their ages. In Luke 1:18 Zacharias, in disbelief, said to Gabriel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years.” But apparently, Elizabeth didn’t have any trouble believing the message delivered by the angel Gabriel!
We don’t know a lot about Elizabeth. We only ‘hear’ her speak in six verses in Luke chapter 1.
Luke 1:24 and 25 – “Now after those days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and she hid herself five months, saying, ‘Thus the Lord has dealt with me, in the days when He looked on me, to take away my reproach among men.’ ”
- “…my reproach among men…,” what did she mean? A couple without a child, especially a male child, was looked upon as out of favor with God!
✡ Deuteronomy 7:13 and 14 describes the LORD’s promise for obedient Israelites: “...He will love you and bless you and multiply you. He will also bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your land.... there shall not be a male or female barren among you....” ✡ So, the thinking was, if a couple was barren, they must be disobedi- ent before God and under His curse!
- Being childless was especially devastating for Zacharias and Elizabeth! According to Luke 1:5…
✡ Zacharias was “...a...priest...of the division of Abijah.” ✡ Elizabeth “...was of the daughters of Aaron....” ✡ Both of them were of priestly line- age! And it says in Luke 1:6, “... they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.”
Luke 1:42 through 45:
Then [Elizabeth]...spoke out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a ful- fillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.”
- Mary had just arrived at the home of Zacharias and Elizabeth. She entered and greeted her aged relative. (The Bible does not specify exactly how Mary and Elizabeth were related).
- At Mary’s greeting Elizabeth joyfully told her, “…the babe leaped in my womb for joy.” (Luke 1:44).
✡ According to Luke 1:36, the angel Gabriel told Mary concerning Eliza- beth, “...this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren.” (Luke 1:36). So John the Baptist was about six months older than Jesus! ✡ Apparently, John the Baptist in utero leaped for joy!
• God had Elizabeth give forth her greeting with the same words that Gabriel had spoken to Mary: “Blessed are you among women…” (Luke 1:42 – compare Luke 1:28).
✡ I think the Lord did this to put to rest any doubts Mary might have had concerning the content of the angel’s message! ✡ But Elizabeth didn’t stop there. She continued, “...and blessed is the fruit of your womb!” (Luke 1:42).
- Then the elderly woman asked an interesting question: “But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Luke 1:43).
✡ She was referring to the yet-to-be- born Jesus as her Lord! ✡ The Greek word here for Lord is κύριος (pronounced koo’-ree-os) and meaning (according to Strong’s Greek Dictionary) “...supreme in authority, that is (as noun) con- troller; by implication Mr. (as a respectful title)....” ➔ κύριος is found in the New Testa- ment 748 times, 667 times which refer to God the Father and/or to Jesus Christ. ➔ For instance, in Philippians 2:10 and 11, Paul uses κύριος in de- scribing Jesus’ full deity: “... that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow...in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord [κύριος], to the glory of God the Father.” ✡ Mary was carrying in her womb the in- carnate God of all!
- The last part of Elizabeth’s greeting was both a blessing and a challenge: “Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.” (Luke 1:45).
✡ All that had happened to Mary, to Zacharias, to Elizabeth... ➔ ...came from God! ➔ ...would be fulfilled! ✡ Mary did believe! And in believing, she would be blessed! But she would also be challenged! ➔ She was pregnant and unmarried – a situation that was not just gossip fodder, but was to be punished by death! (see Leviti- cus 20:10). ➔ As the mother of Jesus she would experience much heartache! As Simeon prophesied in Luke 2:34 and 35, “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against.... Yes, [directed to Mary] a sword will pierce through your own soul also...” ➔ The challenge would be for Mary to stand fast in God’s word, and continue believing in Jehovah God’s plan and purpose!
The last of Elizabeth’s recorded words are found in Luke 1:60. When her son was eight days old, it was the custom to officially name the baby at his circumcision ceremony. Those participating were ready to call “…him by the name of his father, Zacharias.” (Luke 1:59). That was the obvious name according to tradition. But “…his mother answered and said, ‘No; he shall be called John.’”
- Remember, Zacharias was stricken dumb for more than the nine months of his wife’s entire pregnancy because of his unbelief (see Luke 1:18-20).
- The guests at the circumcision and naming of the baby asked for his input on the matter.
✡ “And he asked for a writing tablet, and wrote, saying, ‘His name is John.’” (Luke 1:63). ✡ “Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, praising God.” (Luke 1:64). ✡ “And all those who heard [about all that happened]...kept...these sayings ...in their hearts...[and said,] ‘What kind of child will this be?’” (Luke 1:66).
- What kind of a person was John the Baptist?
✡ He was the forerunner of Jesus, the Messiah! (see Isaiah 40:3-5; Malachi 3:1; 4:5). ✡ Jesus, in Luke 7:28, even said of him, “...I say to you, among those born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist.; but he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.” ✡ John was God-ordained to be the greatest prophet who would prepare the way for Jesus Christ! But his upbringing by his godly father and mother certainly helped mold him for his great ministry!
Elizabeth was a devout woman of the Lord!
And she was blessed by Him because of her faith!
Let her faithful example inspire us!