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Elizabeth, the Mother of John the Baptist


Can you imagine being barren and old and being told you would bear a son? There would be some disbelief and maybe wanting a sign like Zacharias in Luke 1:18 “And Zacharias said unto the angel, whereby shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years.” It would be hard for most people to believe this, but God can make anything possible for he is the creator. This miracle happened because John the Baptist was to go before, to announce the arrival of our Lord Jesus Christ.

So, who is the mother of John the Baptist? This miracle happened to a woman who was barren, old (past child-bearing age), the wife of Zacharias (a priest), and of the daughters of Aaron. Her name was Elizabeth. It couldn't have happened to a better woman for, “And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless” (Luke 1:6). What joy it must have been to Elizabeth to know that the child she was carrying was not only a miracle but the forerunner of Christ, our Messiah.

And so after she conceived, she hid herself for 5 months saying “Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he looked on me, to take away my reproach among men” Luke 1:25. Back then it was a disgrace to be barren. A child was a blessing and a sign of the favor of God. According to Adam Clarke's Commentary, “John the Baptist was to be the forerunner of Christ; his birth, like that of Isaac, must be miraculous, because, like the other, it was to be a representation of the birth of Christ; therefore his parents were both far advanced in years, and besides, Elizabeth was naturally barren.” There is a parallel here like Sarah and Abraham.

Then while Elizabeth was in her sixth month of pregnancy, the same angel told Mary, her cousin, that she would have a child even though she was a virgin. When Mary went to visit Elizabeth, she became filled with the Holy Ghost, saying “ Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

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For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord” (Luke 1:42-45).

Then it was time for Elizabeth to give birth. What a joyous celebration, birth of a child. There would be tears of joy. “Her neighbors and her cousins heard how the Lord had shewed great mercy upon her, and they rejoiced with her” (Luke 1:58). Through these months, Zacharias had not been able to talk. We see on the 8th day when they came to circumcise the baby, they asked for the name. When Elizabeth said, John, they then asked Zacharias, and he wrote, John. That is when he was able to speak again, which he did by praising God. It is thought that Zacharias had written the name down for Elizabeth since she wouldn't have known otherwise.

So we can see that Elizabeth had an important role to play even though she's not mentioned anywhere else. I would love to meet her one day in Heaven. It is thought that Elizabeth died on August 17, A.D. 22 when John the Baptist was 28 years of age but we are not sure since it is not written in the Bible. Elizabeth in Hebrew means, “My God is an oath, or “My God is abundance”.

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