Back in the days of Elizabeth and Mary, people got married at a younger age than people do today, often when they were teenagers. Mary may have been only sixteen or so when the angel Gabriel appeared to her and told her she would have a child. Imagine God coming to the earth through a teenager!
Because she was not married to Joseph yet, Mary wondered out loud how she would be able to have a baby. Gabriel explained to her that although the baby would be her son, the child would not be Joseph’s son. He would be God’s son, conceived by the Holy Spirit. He would be the first and only God-man, 100% human and 100% God.
Gabriel told Mary that her son would be given the throne of His ancestor David and that He would “reign over Israel forever” (Luke 1:33). His kingdom would have no end. David was a great king who had ruled over the nation of Israel about one thousand years before the time of Jesus. When David was still alive God had promised him, “When you die, I will raise up one of your descendants….and I will establish the throne of His kingdom forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son….Your dynasty and your kingdom will continue for all time before me, and your throne will be secure forever” (2 Samuel 7:12-16). After David died, his descendants did rule after him for about five hundred years, but since then there has been no descendant of David ruling over Israel.
When Jesus lived on the earth He never did rule over Israel. In fact, the people of Israel killed Him. But God’s promises are true. The Bible tells us that Jesus will one day live in Jerusalem, and from there He will rule the entire world! There won’t be any United States of America then or any other countries—Jesus’ kingdom will be the only kingdom. And His kingdom will never end! Everyone should want to be in that kingdom.
Gabriel told Mary that her relative Elizabeth had also experienced a miracle: she was pregnant in her old age. So Mary journeyed to Elizabeth’s house and stayed with her for three months, probably until John was born. Elizabeth probably appreciated having someone to chat with during those three months since her husband couldn’t talk!
When Mary arrived at Elizabeth’s house, John, who was probably already filled with the Holy Spirit (see Luke 1:15), “jumped for joy” inside his mother. The Holy Spirit in John knew who was inside Mary, and was quite happy about it! So what is the key to being joyful? Being close to Jesus!
Elizabeth may have heard about what Gabriel had told Mary, because when Mary arrived at her door she already knew that Mary was pregnant with a very special child. Or it’s possible that the Holy Spirit inspired her with a gift of prophecy, because we read that she was filled with the Holy Spirit upon Mary’s arrival. Regardless, Elizabeth knew that Mary’s baby was even more special than her own. She called Mary “the mother of [her] Lord” (Luke 1:43), so she knew that God was living inside Mary’s womb.
It seems that Mary was suddenly filled with the Holy Spirit then as well, because she responded to Elizabeth’s greeting by speaking a beautiful poem. It was all about God’s goodness toward her and to everyone who fears Him. The best thing God did for us was to send Jesus! Like Mary, we’re blessed!
Q. Because Mary and Elizabeth were somehow related, we know that Jesus and John the Baptist were distant relatives. Do you know of anyone who is alive today who is related to Jesus?
A. Everyone who believes and follows Jesus is a brother or sister of Jesus!
Q. Jesus lived inside of Mary for nine months. Has He ever lived inside of anyone else?
A. Yes! If you believe in Him, Jesus lives inside of you! He doesn’t live inside you physically, like a baby inside its mother, but spiritually, because the Holy Spirit lives in everyone who believes in Jesus, and the Holy Spirit is just like Jesus and the Father. That is why Jesus once promised everyone who loves Him that both He and His Father would come to live inside them (see John 14:23).
Application: Since Jesus lives in us by the Holy Spirit, we should always remember that He is with us to direct our thoughts, words and deeds.