Thursday, July 22, 2010

Elizabeth-"God Is My Oath"

I decided to do Elizabeth next since we share the same first name :). Elizabeth was a woman the Bible calls "upright in the sight of God." She is praised for observing all the Lord's commandments and regulations without blame. Does this mean she was sinless and perfect. No. However, she was FAITHFUL and SINCERE. She is also the first to acknowledge Jesus as Lord (more on that to come). Elizabeth's story can be found in Luke 1:5-80.

Elizabeth's husband was Zechariah. He had been chosen to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. While he was doing this an angel, Gabriel, appeared and scared the man half to death. Gabriel said, "Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name John." Being a human, Zechariah's first notion was doubt....wanting to know how he could be sure of this promise delivered by Gabriel. Because of Zechariah's doubt he was not able to speak until the day his son was born.

When Zechariah returned home Elizabeth became pregnant. They remained in seclusion for several months. They did this out of joy, devotion, and gratitude that the Lord had taken away her childlessness. In Elizabeth's sixth month of pregnancy Gabriel made another visit to a young virgin girl to tell her that before long she would also be with child (does the name Mary ring a bell?). For nothing is impossible with God. Elizabeth and Mary were relatives and upon receiving this message from Gabriel Mary decided to visit Elizabeth. I can just picture Mary on her long journey to Elizabeth's home, scared to death about her future, and desperately seeking wisdom from an older woman in her family.

Mary finally made it to the home of Zechariah and Elizabeth. Zechariah greeted Mary and from another room Elizabeth heard Mary's familiar voice. As soon as she heard this voice 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 what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!" Isn't that amazing?? You see, that is why Elizabeth is considered the first to acknowledge Jesus as Lord.

Elizabeth's neighbors and relatives were delighted to hear that she had given birth to a son. It was practice to name a son after his father. But Elizabeth would not have it. She sternly replied, "No! He is to be called John." The group looked to Zechariah for confirmation. Now, remember Zechariah is mute because of his disbelief during Gabriel's visit. Zechariah grabbed a tablet and wrote, "His name is John." Immediately his mouth opened and he could speak again.....praising God. And that, my friends, is how John the Baptist came to the way, the name John means "The Lord is Gracious"

John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" --John 1:29

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