Saturday, May 20, 2017

Elisabeth


Women In Christ's Time
Elisabeth (Mother of John The Baptist)

Elisabeth: Mother of John the Baptist

Key Scripture: Luke 1:1-80

Her Name Means: "God is my oath" or "my God is my fortune"

Her Character:
She was humble, "blameless in character" and "upright in God's sight."

Her Strengths: She was “righteous” and “blameless” Her focus was always on the Lord, never herself.

Her Sorrow: She was elderly and had never had children. At that time, being barren would have been considered a reproach to Elisabeth.

Her Joy: She bore a son in her old age. She praised God for giving her a son.

Pre-Story: Luke 1:5 says, “There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah. His wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth.” To serve as a priest in the temple, one had to be of the tribe of Levi and, more specifically, of the Levitical family of Aaron. And clearly we see that Elisabeth was also of the house of Aaron.

Zachariah and Elisabeth were a married couple with a profound lineage. They were walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord. They were given specific responsibilities related to taking care of the tabernacle and carrying out the work of the tabernacle.

Her Story: This story of God's love begins with both Elisabeth and Zachariah, who were well advanced in years, and despite much prayer and godly living still remained childless. One day as Zechariah was serving in the temple the angel Gabriel appeared to him and announced that his wife would have a child.

Although Zachariah was moved by the awesome presence of the angel, he could not accept that his aged wife could still give birth. The angel told Zechariah that his wife Elisabeth was to give birth to a son. Zechariah's first reaction was disbelief and a demand for proof. Gabriel then formally introduced himself and left Zechariah mute in punishment for his initial doubt.

When Zachariah told his wife what the angel of the Lord told him, Elisabeth replied, "The Lord has done this for me. In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people." (Luke 1:25). True to the words of the angel, Elisabeth conceived a child.

When Elisabeth was 6 months pregnant the angel Gabriel alerted Mary (Elisabeth's cousin) about the pending birth of Elisabeth's child. Mary hastened to her place to see her. Elisabeth was immediately filled with the Holy Spirit and in a loud voice she exclaimed: "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” (Luke 1:41:45).

The Holy Spirit told Elisabeth of Mary’s condition even before Mary could say a word. These two women of God became true friends as they had much in common to share. Mary came and showed Elisabeth love and support and Elisabeth became a special support and encouragement to Mary. (Mentor). Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.

Elisabeth gave birth to John the Baptist. The baby was publicly named for the first time on the eighth day during the circumcision ceremony. Elisabeth knew what the angel had told Zacharias: “You shall call his name John” (Luke 1:13). But they said to her, "There is no one among your relatives who is called by this name." Then Zechariah asked for a writing tablet, and wrote: “His name is John” (Luke 1:63). He was then immediately able to speak again.

There is no other record of Elisabeth after this and it is certain she died before John became an adult. "And the child grew and became strong in spirit; and he lived in the wilderness until he appeared publicly to Israel. (Luke 1:80). Later, we read an astonishing scripture in Luke 7:28: “Among those born of women, there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist.” Out of her heartbreak, sorrow and unanswered prayer came a woman who brought a blessing.

Elizabeth, a descendant of Aaron, was selected by God to be the mother of the great prophet who would prepare the way before Jesus Christ.

Her Place in God's Divine Plan: Elisabeth had a vital role to play in the plan of God. Her duty in bringing up John the Baptist was a very important one. God chose Zacharias and Elisabeth for the special task of rearing and teaching a miracle child He provided.

Her Challenges Along the Way: Elisabeth was much older when she became pregnant. Because she had been barren, she understands what it means to live with shame and a social stigma. Because of God's favor she saw the potential and purpose in herself.

Her Victories: Elisabeth bore a son in her old age and raised him as God had commanded. Her son became John the Baptist, the prophet who foretold the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ.

Lesson We Can Learn from Her Legacy: We never know what great things God has in store for us. The inability to bear a child is a common theme in the Bible. In ancient times, barrenness was considered a disgrace. But time and again, we see these women having great faith in God, and God rewards them with a child. We should never underestimate God's tremendous love for us. Our God is a God of surprises. Sometimes, when we least expect it, he touches us with a miracle.

Genealogy:
When: She lived "in the days of Herod" who ruled from 40-4 B.C.
Birthplace: Hebron, Palestinian Territory.
Occupation: Homemaker
Siblings: Anne (Sister)
Children: John The Baptist (Son)
Kinswoman: Mary, the mother of Jesus

*Cousins, John the Baptist was about six months older than Jesus (Both of them were executed at about the same time - Jesus crucified, John beheaded).

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