After she had been told that she was going to have a baby, Mary went to visit her cousin(Elizabeth), who was also having a baby and had found out about in an extraordinary manner.
This story can be divided into two parts which include:
The story in the Bible
According to Luke 1: 5-25
In the era of King Herod who headed Judea, there lived a priest called Zechariah, who was part of the priestly section of Abijah.
He had a wife by the name Elizabeth, who was also part of the generation of Aaron. They both were rightful in the eyes of God, as they kept all of proper regulations and commandments without blemish.
However, they did not have any children, since Elizabeth was infertile, and they had both lived in this manner for many years.
Once, Zechariah was carrying out his priestly duties as required.
He had been designated the duties by Lot, according to the tradition of priesthood, to go to God’s temple and burn the incense.
During that time, all the congregants had gathered outside and were indulging in their daily prayers.
An angel ( Gabriel) who was sent by the Lord appeared to Zechariah, on the right side of the Altar.
Zechariah was overcome with fear when he saw him, but the Angel reassured him and told him not to be gripped by fear because the Lord had answered his prayers.
The Angel told him the news that he would have a son, and that he should give him the name John.
Also, the child will be of delight and joy to Zechariah and that many people would rejoice as a result of his birth; for he was a great person in the eyes of the Lord.
The child was not to be intoxicated with wine or any other fermented drink, and he would as well be full of the Holy
Spirit, right from his birth. He would also bring many of the people back to the Lord, as well as represent God in the form of the power and spirit of Elijah.
John would also conjoin the hearts of the fathers to their children, and make the disobedient get the wisdom of the righteous.
All this will be in preparation of the people for the Lord.
When Zechariah asked the Angel how sure he was about the matter, the Angel replied that he was Gabriel who always stands before God and had been sent by God to give him the good news.
He rendered Zechariah silent and dumb up to the day of the fulfillment of God’s prophecy as a punishment for not believing in his words, which came at the proper time and were true.
The praying congregants were waiting for Zechariah and were surprised as of why he had stayed so long in the temple, and when he came out, he could not talk to them.
They, however, noticed that he had experienced a vision in the temple as he kept on making signs without uttering any word. When his service period was over, he went home.
After this event, his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and remained in isolation.
Elizabeth acknowledged that God had done this for her, and he had shown favor to her and removed away her disgrace among people.
The story of Mary can be found in Luke 1:5-25
During that time, Mary got prepared and went to the hill country (Judea) to visit her cousin-Elizabeth. Immediately Mary greeted Elizabeth, the baby kicked in Elizabeth’s womb, and she was filled with the Holy Spirit.
She then exclaimed in a loud voice that Mary was blessed among the many women and that the child she bore was blessed as well.
Elizabeth also questioned why she was so favored that the Mother of the Lord had visited her.
She told Mary that as soon as the sound of Mary’s greetings reached her ear, her child leaped for joy. Elizabeth also declared blessings for what the Lord had done for her would be accomplished.
Mary, in response, said that her soul glorifies the Lord and that she was happy for the God her savior, who had noticed her humble nature.
From then, all the other descendants will call her blessed, for God had done great things for her and that his mercy extends to those who honor him.
Mary continued with the praises of the Lord declaring how He had scattered the proud, brought down the bad rules, lifted up the humble, helped Israel and filled the hungry while chasing away the rich with empty hands.
Mary remained at Elizabeth’s home for approximately three months and went back to her home.
Elizabeth then gave birth to her son, John, and her relatives and neighbor were witnesses of how the Lord had shown her mercy, and they joined her in the celebration.
Zechariah projected on a piece of paper that the baby should be named John after his relatives had argued what name they would give the child.
After this, his mouth and tongue became loose and he began speaking in praise of God. The neighbors were astonished by the turn of events, and most people were discussing all these happenings.
Everyone who got a glimpse of the story remained in awe of who the child would become, as they had witnessed the control of God over him.
Zechariah prophesied after he became filled with the Holy Spirit and declared that the Lord had brought redemption to his people.
He praised God for all his great deeds and recognized how He had brought an agent of salvation in the household of his servant, as well as deliverance from the oppressors.
Zechariah said that this was in honor of the promises that he had made to Abraham; that he would rescue his generation from the enemies and enable them to praise him in righteousness and holiness all the time.
Zechariah then spoke blessings upon the child John that he would be referred to as the prophet of God, as he would before the savior to make the way clear for him, to give the people the wisdom on salvation by the forgiveness of their sins.
John then grew and became active in Spirit, and stayed in the desert up to when he came back to the public in Israel.
The Background of the Mary and Elizabeth Story
Elizabeth was a descendant of the Priest families as well as a cousin to Mary and was a descendant of the priesthoods of Israel as her father had served as a priest in the temple.
Zechariah was also a priest, probably because he had married Elizabeth, the child of a priest.
He was perceived as a kind and holy man, but some priests looked down upon him as he was from a small village.
Both Elizabeth and Zechariah could have been approximately over 60 years when the events took place since people were perceived as lacking the ability to conceive after they had reached 60 years and above.
Elizabeth and Zechariah did not have any children, and that was a huge social challenge during their time and some people perceived this as a punishment to Zechariah because of his neglect of priestly duties.
Zechariah was not regarded as essential in carrying out priestly duties, and this was his first time burning incense at the temple.
In the Jewish service, only Zechariah would have been at the Altar as he was the incenses priest on that day.
His task was to spread the incense on the golden Altar, bow in respect and worship of God, leave the Altar, and lead the final prayer after the end of the service.
Zechariah spread the incense on the golden Altar, but just before he could bow in worship and leave, Angel Gabriel appeared on the right side of the Altar.
This was queer as an Angel had never appeared on the incense part of the temple in the entire history of the Jewish religion.
The same Angel Gabriel, who appeared to Zechariah, was the one who appeared to Mary.
The underlying meaning behind the name John is ‘God is Gracious,’ and he was to be named this because the Lord had favored Elizabeth and Zechariah by giving them a child at their old age.
Gabriel’s utterances to Zechariah were of the intent that John was the man who would tell the people about the coming of Jesus Christ, and he would be the one to prepare the way for his arrival.
Zechariah doubted the words of Angel Gabriel and asked him to provide evidence that this would happen; thus Angel Gabriel punished Zechariah by making him dumb, up to when he would witness the actual prophecy as declared by the Angel.
Elizabeth became pregnant as prophesied, and she stayed in hiding for the five months probably because she thought people would have doubted the news of her pregnancy.
The word’s that Elizabeth declared to Mary after being filled with the Holy Spirit to indicate that an extraordinary baby was growing in her womb and that they would be linked in some manner with Mary’s baby.
The words that Mary replied after she was filled with the Holy Spirit are referred to as the ‘Magnificat,’ and are a way of appreciation and worship to God.
During the time when Mary left Elizabeth’s home, Elizabeth could have been around nine months into the pregnancy, and Mary would have been approximately three months into the pregnancy.
Mary could have decided to go home at that time because she did not want to get linked with the publicity of the birth of John.
Therefore, it could not have been a long period after Mary had left, that Elizabeth delivered John.
During the naming ceremony of the baby, it was usual for the relatives to think that the child would be named Zechariah, as this was how boys were named in the Jewish religion.
However, Elizabeth knew and insisted that the baby had to be given the name John.
The relatives obviously doubted Elizabeth, and asked Zechariah the name of the child, as he could not speak.
Zechariah wrote down the name John, and there and then, Angel’s declarations were fulfilled, and Zechariah regained the ability to speak.
The afterward prayer that Zechariah declared was the same one that would have been said in the temple after the news was declared, but he was unable to speak.
Now that the fulfillment had been done, Zechariah could speak the intended words. Zechariah praised God for having fulfilled his promise by bringing salvation to the descendants of Abraham.
He also thanked God for turning himself into a man so that he would bring redemption to the nation of Israel and bringing salvation to his people that they would rejoice in righteousness and walk in peace.
Christians have faith that the declarations of Zechariah were about Jesus.
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Main Points About Mary’s Relatives Elizabeth, Zechariah
- Zacharia was a priest, and his wife was Elizabeth who was a descendant of Aron.
- Elizabeth was the Virgin Mary’s (The mother of Jesus) cousin. Elizabeth was barren for so many years.
- Just like the virgin Mary was visited, Zacharia was visited by angel Gabriel, and he was told that his wife would bear a son and he should be called John.
- Zacharia wife Elizabeth was in her sixties (way past menopause), so he doubted the angel.
- Because of his doubt, Zacharia was made dumb. Elizabeth got pregnant and gave birth to a son name John the Baptist. After John was born, Zacharia could speak again.
When Mary was expecting, so was her cousin Elizabeth. Her husband Zechariah, a priest belonging to the priestly division of Abijah, serving the Lord blamelessly, had angel Gabriel appear in front of him telling him that his prayers had been heard.
His wife will give him a son, and that he was to give him the name John and that he would be filled with the Holy Spirit from birth.
Word Cloud for Mary’s Relatives Elizabeth, Zechariah
The following is a collection of the most used terms in this article on Mary’s Relatives Elizabeth, Zechariah. This should help in recalling related terms as used in this article at a later stage for you.
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Chara Yadav holds MBA in Finance. Her goal is to simplify finance-related topics. She has worked in finance for about 25 years. She has held multiple finance and banking classes for business schools and communities. Read more at her bio page.