Chapter 2 - Two Very Special Women
Helen Dowd

But Elizabeth was not ready yet to share her good news with everyone. For five months she hid herself, keeping her secret from her neighbors, a secret just between God and her, and Zechariah.

Women, since the days of Isaiah's prophecy had dreamed of being the one chosen by the Most High to be the mother of God's Son. Isaiah 7:14 - "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel."

Historical setting:
Time: About 6 B.C.
Place: The Town of Nazareth
Persons: Mary, the Angel, Gabriel, Zacharias and Elizabeth
Scripture: Luke 1:26-44

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 child.

"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.'

When 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 mankind.

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.

Mary's Song
Luke 1:46-55

And Mary said: "My soul magnifies the Lord,
And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant;
For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.
For He who is mighty has done great things for me,
And holy is His name.
And His mercy is on those who fear Him From generation to generation.
He has shown strength with His arm;
He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
And exalted the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
And the rich He has sent away empty.
He has helped His servant Israel,
In remembrance of His mercy,
As He spoke to our fathers,
To Abraham and to his seed forever."

Continue with Study 3 - His Name Is John

Helen Dowd


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