When Elizabeth was in her sixth month of pregnancy the angel Gabriel which had appeared to Zechariah had another assignment. This time he appeared to a young virgin girl who was betrothed to be married. Betrothed was a step between engagement and marriage in Jewish customs of those days. Engagement was the promise between the fathers and betrothal came with a ceremony but it was a waiting period until the marriage. There had been no relations between the couple. Gabriel appeared to the young virgin girl, Mary and told her that she would give birth to the Son of the Most High, and that she would name Him Jesus.
“And Mary said to the angel, ‘How will this be, since I am a virgin?’” Luke 1:35
Now at first glance this seems to be almost the same question that Zechariah asked but we don’t have the benefit of the original text. It seems that Zechariah’s question was filled with doubt which is why he was struck mute, but Mary’s question was filled with wonder. She didn’t doubt that what Gabriel was telling her could happen, she had faith, she was just wondering how it would happen. This shows that Mary was already a young woman of faith.
Gabriel goes on to tell her how it would happen and he also tells her about her cousin Elizabeth. How kind of God, to give Mary someone she could go to. Mary immediately submits herself to the plan, which is probably why she was chosen in the first place. God knew her faith and He knew that she would submit. Then scripture tells us she arose and went quickly to see her cousin, Elizabeth.
Now I wonder what was going through Mary’s mind as she went. She had already submitted herself to God, but do you think she was wondering what Joseph would think, or her parents, or the people of her town. She was a virgin, betrothed to be married to someone and yet she was pregnant. She seems to have determination and faith in the situation but I wonder if she needed some confirmation that someone else would believe that this was happening to her. We women sometime just need someone to talk to, someone to process things with. I think Mary just needed confirmation that someone would believe her and to be with someone else who was dealing with something miraculous. And that is what she got.
“And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!’” Luke 1:41-42
Again, I am blown away at the kindness of God to give these women each other. Notice that Mary didn’t even have to tell Elizabeth her story. Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and she just knew. Mary received her confirmation and when she did, she was filled with gratitude. Gratitude, I’m sure that she had Elizabeth and gratitude to have been chosen.
“And Mary said, ‘My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.” Luke 1:46-49
We can learn a lot from Mary. There would still be outside influences to Mary’s circumstances that could be difficult to handle, but Mary was grateful to God for calling her, for choosing her to be the mother of His son. And what I love is that she was immediately grateful, even when she knew that the next several months may have some trying times. Mary saw the hand of God and she believed the hand of God.
I hope I am like that. I pray that the Lord always finds me grateful for the things He does for me.
Today I am grateful to Him! My Jesus who came to earth for me and for you! And to Mary for her faith, and for her example of gratitude!