Posted by: Jivani Lisa | December 9, 2013

Mary’s Journey

“And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God.”
(Luke 1:36-37)
The archangel, Gabriel, has just appeared to Mary and told her that although she is a young unmarried virgin, she will conceive and bear the Messiah by the power of the Holy Spirit.  She is, understandably, a bit confused and uncertain about this.  So Gabriel uses Elizabeth as a concrete example of what God’s power can do.  If an old woman past child-bearing age can conceive, then a virgin can conceive without having sexual intercourse.
Elizabeth was barren.  For a Jewish woman in those days, barrenness was the worst curse in life.  If she couldn’t bear children, then her life was useless because she couldn’t produce the only kind of fruit that really mattered to her husband and community.  God blessed Elizabeth abundantly by removing her barrenness.
The example of Elizabeth given by Gabriel seems to be enough to convince Mary to trust his message because she responds with, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.  May it be done to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38).  She knows God is good – and His plans are good.
However, I find it interesting that Mary immediately set off to “the hill country” to visit Elizabeth.  The usual explanation given for this is that she wanted to assist Elizabeth with the remaining time of her pregnancy and with the birth of her son.  Being a skeptic (one who tends to question most accepted teachings), I wonder if one of the reasons – maybe the main reason! – Mary visited Elizabeth was to see with her own eyes whether Elizabeth was pregnant.  Why not?  Would that take away from Mary’s trust in God?  I don’t think so.  I think it shows her more in her humanity, just like the rest of us.
In any case, Mary declared herself to be the handmaid (servant, slave) of the Lord.  She was willing to obey His wishes without fully understanding what was going to happen.  She shows us how to put our faith and love for God first in our decisions. 
Nothing is impossible.  God can choose to work miracles through His creatures.

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