Elizabeth. Mary. The Samaritan Woman. Lydia. Martha. Priscilla. Each of these women encountered Jesus in a personal way. This month, we will look at women of the New Testament, walking with them as they come face to face with Jesus. Their stories will encourage all of us, both men and women, to follow expectantly after Jesus. Today, we begin in Luke chapter 1.
Elizabeth’s name means “God is my oath.” We learn that Elizabeth was of the priestly line of Aaron just like her husband Zechariah, and she was old. Being both old and barren was a personal tragedy and a public “disgrace” (v. 25). Despite her pain and humiliation, Elizabeth and Zechariah were “blameless” according to all the commandments of the Lord (v. 6). She did not allow her barrenness to foster bitterness. Instead, she continued to serve, to obey, and to pray (v. 13).
God answered their prayers beyond what they could have anticipated. They simply longed for a child. But the angel Gabriel brought good news of a son who would bring both personal joy and corporate redemption. This child, an unexpected gift in their later years, would lead many to the Lord.
When Zechariah questioned the angel’s message, he was struck mute. Can you imagine his attempt to tell Elizabeth what had happened when he went back home (v. 23)? What a remarkable game of charades that must have been! Elizabeth stayed secluded for five months. Perhaps she feared a miscarriage and wanted to protect her health. Perhaps she wanted to savor the experience in solitude. Or she was concerned about the community’s confusion and questioning. No matter the reason, her heart was full of gratitude.
>> Where are you in following Jesus? Whether you are just beginning your journey or are advanced in years, like Elizabeth and Zechariah, we hope this story will encourage you. Ask the Lord to soften your heart like Elizabeth’s to obedience and humble gratitude.
Elizabeth lived for decades without receiving one of her dearest wishes. Just as she did, may we trust You, Lord, with the desires of our hearts, whether You give or take away. You understand all, and we trust You.