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.
Elizabeth was such a woman. Both she and her husband Zechariah were old, she past child-bearing years, yet she conceived through the grace of God. The angel Gabriel told Zechariah the news in the temple, then made him mute because he did not believe.
Just as the angel foretold, Elizabeth conceived. While she was pregnant, Mary, the expectant mother of Jesus, visited her. The baby in Elizabeth's womb leaped for joy on hearing Mary's voice. Elizabeth gave birth to a son. They named him John, as the angel had commanded, and at that moment Zechariah's power of speech returned. He praised God for his mercy and goodness.
Their son became John the Baptist, the prophet who foretold the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ.
Both Elizabeth and Zechariah were holy people: "Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord's commands and decrees blamelessly." (Luke 1:6, NIV)
Elizabeth bore a son in her old age and raised him as God had commanded.
Elizabeth was sad but never became bitter because of her barrenness. She had enormous faith in God her entire life.
She appreciated God's mercy and kindness. She praised God for giving her a son.
Elizabeth was humble, even though she played a key role in God's plan of salvation. Her focus was always on the Lord, never herself.
We should never underestimate God's tremendous love for us. Even though Elizabeth had been barren and her time for having a baby was over, God caused her to conceive. Our God is a God of surprises. Sometimes, when we least expect it, he touches us with a miracle and our life is changed forever.
Unnamed town in the hill country of Judea.
Referenced in the Bible:
Luke Chapter 1.
Ancestor - Aaron
Husband - Zechariah
Son - John the Baptist
Kinswoman - Mary, the mother of Jesus
But the angel said to him: "Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God." (NIV)
When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 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!" (NIV)