Mary and Jesus:
For the next 5 months following the news from Zacharias, Elizabeth hunkered down in seclusion. I can’t imagine it being the easiest 1st trimester for an elderly lady. She probably didn’t have many people to ask advice of either. Her friends had all been through this when they were young. They were caring for grandchildren, and here she was pregnant. This is the definition right here of a geriatric pregnancy.
In Elizabeth’s 6th month of pregnancy, Gabriel pays her cousin Mary, a visit. In contrast to Elizabeth, this time he visits a very young woman. Mary’s problems are pretty much the exact opposite of Elizabeth’s in every way.
Elizabeth: Old Mary: Young.
Elizabeth: Married. Mary: Single.
Elizabeth: Barren. Mary: Virgin.
Their one similarity is precisely where it gets complicated.
Elizabeth: Pregnant Mary: Pregnant
When Gabriel is explaining to Mary what’s going on, and Mary is struggling to wrap her hands around the fact that she, a virgin, is pregnant, Gabriel references Elizabeth. He gives Mary an anchor. [Luke 1:26-38]
In essence, Gabriel is telling Mary, “That elderly cousin of yours, who has been barren all these years, she’s pregnant too. If you can’t believe that I am at work in you, look at how I am at work in your cousin. God’s capable of doing anything He wants to do.”
Mary responds really similarly to Zacharias, actually. She asks how it’s POSSIBLE to be pregnant when she’s a virgin. Gabriel and God respond much more gently to Mary. I’ve wondered about this. Why WAS God so much more gracious to Mary in her unbelief than He was to Zacharias? I believe there might be 2 reasons for it:
1. It’s possible that Mary’s questions are rooted in sincere wondering, rather than a lack of faith. Maybe Mary’s questions aren’t disbelief but purely wondering how she’ll have the seed of life planted in her without the act that causes pregnancy.
Or maybe it was this:
2. Zacharias was old, and had walked with God his entire life. God had proven his faithfulness and the fulfillment of promises to his family for generations. Mary was probably 13-15 years old. She didn’t have the benefit of having seen God’s hand at work decade after decade. She’d just passed the 1-decade mark of her life. This was her very first story of God’s revelation and fulfillment of His promises, while this was maybe among the last for Zacharias and Elizabeth.
Stop with me now and recount the years of your life to remember the stories of God stepping onto the scene of your life. Where has God moved into the circumstances of your life to orchestrate His greatest good?
Where have you seen God moving and breathing in the stories that make up your life?
What gives you confidence that He is and will be faithful to you?