This is a Mother’s Day thought, and I want to speak about a mother named Elizabeth, how we might relate to her today, and how she points us to Jesus.
I am thankful for the righteous and blameless life of Elizabeth, an example of a great mother, who Jesus said of her, in Matthew 11:11 “Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist”. How is that for a Mother’s Day Blessing? For those of you who are mothers, as a church we want to, as Proverbs says, arise and call you blessed.
In Luke Chapter 1, we are introduced to Elizabeth and her husband Zechariah, the mother and father of John the Baptist. Elizabeth’s name means My God is an Oath, or My God is Abundance. An Oath is a stronger promise because it invokes God’s name.
Jesus’ life and death resulted in the fulfillment of all of the Messianic oaths of the Old Testament, resulting in the most abundant provision of salvation, of which we are brought into all the riches of the heavenly places in Christ.
For some, Mother’s Day is a hard day, perhaps it is a reminder that you do not have the children you desire, or perhaps you are missing a child, who is awaiting your arrival in heaven. Elizabeth went through most of her life barren and childless. She understood the pain of a childless Mother’s Day. Perhaps you are single or widowed this Mother’s Day… Church history tells us Zechariah was murdered, and Elizabeth would have experienced the grief and sorrow of separation from her husband. She also understood the struggles of single parent child rearing.
Jesus, we are told was a man of sorrow, and acquainted with grief, came down from Heaven to a world of sinners, bearing our sin, and enduring the separation from His Father, and made a way for all of us to become Children of God. We can cast all our cares on Him, for he tenderly cares about you. Jesus is our man in heaven who as Hebrews 4:15 says, can sympathize with us.
Elizabeth was hospitable and safe, who during her miraculous pregnancy protected and hosted Mary in her miraculous pregnancy. Mary would have faced reproach being pregnant before marriage, with a child that was not Joseph’s, and chose Elizabeth as her place of refuge. Every wild story Mary brought to them, being told of the pregnancy through angels, that she was a virgin, and Angels visiting Joseph… , Elizabeth could relate to with experience and wisdom.
Jesus was a miracle child, who experienced regular hospitality, and gave it. Through His hospitality experiences we have the Upper Room Ministry, the stories of Mary’s worship, the institution of the Lords Supper, and the restoration of Peter over breakfast on the beach. Jesus was safe. Mothers brought their children and begged that they sit on his knee and be blessed and prayed for by Him.
Elizabeth was Spirit Filled, and blessed Mary. Elizabeth breaks what Bible scholars call the 400 silent years, or the “intertestamental period”, where for 400 years there is nothing recorded of the prophetic words of God. God, through Gabriel, mutes Zechariah in the temple, and then waits with five more months of silence, and Elizabeth speaks the first new Scripture in 400 years. Blessed are you amongst women.
Jesus was Spirit Filled and Blessed. At His Baptism, by Elizabeth’s son John the Baptist, Jesus experiences the Holy Spirit coming in the form of a dove, and then hears the thunderous blessing of God the Father, “This is My Beloved Son In Whom I am Well Pleased”.
Elizabeth was a protector and provider. Elizabeth was old when she had John, and most likely John was orphaned young. Our pal Josh Hoffert keeps talking about the Desert Fathers, but the Qumran society was doing it before it was cool. Most likely, John grew up near or with them, in the desert, near the Dead Sea and the end of the Jordan river, learning scripture, and adopting their eating and dressing habits. This community was dedicated to the preservation of the scriptures, by copying it, and hiding it, giving us what is known today as the Dead Sea Scrolls. Elizabeth and Zechariah were active, serving priests in Jerusalem, and chose to immerse their son in scripture rich society versus the corrupted, legalistic, religious leaders, the Pharisees, who hung around the temple. Are we giving our families the gift of scripture? Are your kids being raised to be scripture rich?
Jesus was the son of God, but raised by Mary and Joseph, and at age 12 was astounding the temple scholars with his understanding of scripture, and continued to do so in His public ministry. Jesus went on to be a protector and provider for us, in that when He ascended to Heaven, sent us the Holy Spirit, our protector and continues the heavenly work of making intercession for us always. He was the ultimate provider, in providing for our most urgent need, the provision of Eternal Life.
Elizabeth was into social distancing. She got pregnant, and spent five months in isolation. Perhaps you are struggling with isolation these days. Elizabeth knows how you feel. Jesus, launched His public ministry with baptism, followed by 40 days of fasting in the wilderness. He lived a life where he frequently went off to be alone to pray to His Father in Heaven. Are you making the most of the social distancing these days, by being alone with God and praying to your Father in Heaven?
Elizabeth was blessed. God blessed her with the gift of a mute husband through her isolation and her pregnancy. Someone to listen to her as she went through this weird stage of being elderly and pregnant. Zechariah couldn’t even ask for a sandwich but could listen. Perhaps you are stuck at home these days, with social distancing, and are wishing for a mute partner. Or perhaps you are wishing for the opposite – someone to talk to you. Elizabeth also had Mary to talk to for several months.
God is the best listener. He longs to hear our prayers. He says 1 Peter 5:7 says Give all your worries and cares to God, for he tenderly cares about you. He speaks in a still small voice. To name John, Zechariah needed to write on a tablet.
Jesus speaks to us today reliably through the Bible, the written Word of God.
Elisabeth’s name means My God is an Oath, or My God is Abundance.
Jesus’s promise to us is John 10:10 (TPT) 10 I (Jesus) have come to give you everything in abundance, more than you expect—life in its fullness until you overflow!
This communion thought we started by talking about the righteous and blameless life of Elizabeth. As we take communion today, we are thankful for the righteous and blameless life of Jesus, God’s beloved Son, the greatest Man in the History of the World. Who procured our salvation, and adoption as children into the family of God.
Finally, I am thankful for my mom this Mother’s Day. There is only one Elizabeth in the Bible. My Mom’s name is Elizabeth, and I am thankful that she is someone who reminds me of Jesus.