We’ve spent the last few weeks delving deeply into the awe-inspiring faith of Mary. We now turn our hearts toward her place, her chosen destination. The Bible explicitly teaches God’s design for life in community. We are not meant to be alone nor to do life on our own. There’s no sense in denying it: we are simply better together!
The Bible tells us that Mary didn’t waste any time in going to visit Elizabeth. Luke 1:39-40 shows her immediately embarking on a journey to the hill country in Judah to the home of Zechariah and his very pregnant wife, Elizabeth. Coming from her home in Nazareth, scholars believe Mary’s sojourn could have been between 80 and 100 miles. Whether she traveled alone as a teenage girl or as part of a caravan, her pilgrimage likely would have taken her three to five days. Mary was as unwavering in her courageous action as she was in her obedience.
What would you and I have done after an encounter with Gabriel, hearing of how God’s miraculous plan would unfold? What would we do with such news? Mary immediately ran to her safe place, to her older relative, Elizabeth. The news Gabriel brought of Elizabeth’s own miraculous conception would have helped Mary to know she had a confidante, a listening ear, an experienced mentor, and a close friend on the other side of her long journey.
Mary remained with Elizabeth, Luke 1 tells us, for three months. Just long enough to feel safe and confident. Just long enough to know that her pregnancy was firmly established with the Seed of God’s Word quite literally growing within her. Just long enough for her to get somewhat used to the idea that she would bring forth the long-awaited Messiah into the world.
I believe every Mary, every person called by God and surrendered to God, needs an Elizabeth, someone to affirm the will and call of God without jealousy or false motive. This is the heart of sisterhood; this is the heart of God. This is also the foundation of our ministry at Say Hello: Serving Muslim Women.
Continuing with the narrative, Luke 1:42 states: “In a loud voice she exclaimed: ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!’” Something extraordinary takes place in the context surrounding this verse. Remember that Elizabeth’s husband was a priest. For all of her marriage, she had witnessed him proclaiming blessings over the children of God. In their day, according to the Jewish traditions, it was the men who bestowed the blessings on others.
Do you see what is happening? Even from the womb, Jesus was challenging and changing the culture! It is Elizabeth, and not her priestly husband, who blessed Mary and affirmed her faith in God. Yet again, our wonderful Father is showing us how much He delights in His daughters. Muslim women must hear of this; they simply must hear the Truth about Jesus! He deeply values and loves them. He longs to be their eternal place of refuge.