When Elizabeth was six months pregnant,
a second wonderful thing happened.
In the nearby town of Nazareth, lived a relative of
Elizabeth, her young cousin Mary. She was not married. One day
Mary was in her house doing her work. Possibly she was
humming, thinking about Joseph and her upcoming wedding. She
was engaged to a good man, Joseph, a carpenter from the family
line of King David of old - Suddenly something startled Mary.
She turned her head. Standing beside her was an angel. In
those days many people believed that if you saw an angel you
would die. So when Mary saw the angel, she was terrified and
confused. She tried hard to think of anything wicked she may
have done, but nothing came to mind.
But wait! The angel was speaking. What was he trying to say
to her? Why had he come?
"I am Gabriel," said the angel. "I am sent from
God - Greetings. You are greatly favoured. The
Lord God is with you!" The angel saw the fear on
Mary's face. He continued, "Don't be afraid, Mary. God has
chosen you to be the mother of the Son of the Most High. You
are going to give birth to the Christ Child. You will name the
baby' Jesus'. He is the promised Messiah, Immanuel. He is
coming to save people from their sin. He will eventually set
up His Kingdom, which will last forever."
"But how can this be? How can I have a child?" asked Mary,
still a little frightened. "Joseph and I are not yet married.
I am a virgin."
Gabriel answered: "The Holy Spirit will
come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow
you. So the baby born to you will be holy, and he will be
called the Son of God." He went on to tell Mary
that her cousin, Elizabeth, was also going to have a special
"Elizabeth!" thought Mary. "But she is too old to have a
baby!" Gabriel went on to say, "I know what you are
thinking, that she well beyond child-bearing years. She could
never have a child, but I am telling you that she is. She is
already six months pregnant. Nothing is
impossible with the Lord."
Young women down through the ages had dreamed of being the
one chosen to bear the Son of God. The words of the prophet
Isaiah--Isaiah 7:14 - "A virgin
will conceive a child, whose name will be Immanuel"
were well known to all the Jewish people. They were
read the Scriptures weekly when they came to the Temple. But
to have this wonderful thing happen to her�Mary! It was
amazing! But whom could she tell? No one would believe her. In
fact - she left the thought unfinished. She knew what people
would think -- would say, if she mentioned to anyone about this
wonderful thing that was about to happen to her. She
couldn't even to tell Joseph yet. She thought again of
what Gabriel had told her about her cousin Elizabeth. So she
packed a bag and went to the nearby city of Judah, where
Elizabeth and Zacharias lived.
When Zacharias and Elizabeth saw Mary at their door their
eyes lit up with joy and surprise. What ever had brought their
young cousin all this way to visit them? She couldn't have
been more welcome. They opened their arms wide to her.
Elizabeth especially could hardly contain her joy at seeing
Mary. At last she had another women to talk to about her good
news of bearing the 'Forerunner of the Messiah.'
Mary and Elizabeth were alone in the room, Mary told Elizabeth
HER good news, of being chosen to bear the Christ Child.
Immediately, as soon as Elizabeth heard the good news, she was
filled with the Holy Spirit and felt the child within her
jump. As God said He would, He filled the baby with the Holy
Spirit right then, while he was still in his mother's womb.
Both the women began to praise the Lord, for they were
truly two very special women, chosen of God to bear
two very special people: John the Baptist, who
was later called, "The voice of one crying in the
wilderness," and Jesus Christ, the Savior of
Mary remained with Zacharias and Elizabeth
for three months, returning to her own house just before
Elizabeth gave birth to her son, John the Baptist. Six months
later Jesus was born. These cousins, sons of two very
special women, did not meet each other until thirty years
later, when John, the son of Elizabeth and Zacharias, baptized
Jesus, the son of God and Mary. And that was the beginning of
Jesus' special ministry on earth.