Zacharias entered his front door and quietly set the bag and scroll on the table. Elizabeth was working in the kitchen humming the 23rd Psalm. He came behind her and placed a hand on each of her sides.
“Oooohh!!!” Elizabeth jumped, spilling flour everywhere. “Zacharias, you scared me! Why didn’t you say something when you came in?”
She looked into smiling eyes from a distant past. He pointed at her, then at himself before he folded his arms with his palms facing upward. He made a rocking motion.
“Old Man, what’s gotten into you? You’re usually talking non-stop about all that happened at the temple during your duty time there. How old was that juice they served? I think it may have fermented.”
Zac turned and reached into the bag. He brought a piece of fruit up to Elizabeth’s mouth. “That’s one advantage of being married to a priest. You guys get the first fruits. I was just in the market this morning, I didn’t see any mandrakes there.”
When Elizabeth bit into the fruit her mind was quickly rushed back to the times they had tried to eat these to begin a family many decades before. Some of the juice spilled down to her chin. Zacharias gently collected it on his finger and licked it off before he took a bite of the fruit. When they finished eating that one Zacharias took Elizabeth’s hand and led her to the bed.
For the majority of the next five months Elizabeth tried to remember why she had envied other women who complained of morning sickness from their pregnancies. She had to venture out to get what she needed by the time she felt well and she was sure she probably wouldn’t mis-carry. Zacharias just couldn’t seem to get across to the merchants what she needed. As she approached a group of her lady friends a gust of wind pressed her clothes tightly against the front of her. The news spread quickly!
A bit over a month later Elizabeth got a surprise visitor as she was preparing a meal. Mary’s voice was met with a unique movement in her womb, this was no normal fidget from a young boy. This was sheer joy! The Holy Spirit that occupied her son spoke to Elizabeth. Mary never got the chance to announce her secret to her older relative. Elizabeth knew she was in the presence of the Messiah before she ever turned around (even though Jesus was still in His embryonic stage).
The bond those two women shared will never be equaled. Liz kept Mary’s secret as Mary stayed to aid the old woman through her pregnancy.
Zacharias never said a word to anyone, either. He just kept following his finger to the left as he read the scroll of Isaiah. He would occasionally tap the parchment before he would stare up into space and smile that now familiar grin. He finally found his voice at his son’s circumcision ceremony. I find it quite comical that they made gestures to him as to what he wanted to name John. All they had to do was ask, he could hear just fine. Once the Holy Spirit filled him they couldn’t shut him up. I guess nine months of silence will do that to a person.
I’m sure Liz and Mary had many discussions about Mary’s predicament. But, Mary, ultimately, had to face her future without the elder woman’s support. But, I’m sure Mary gained much encouragement from the time she invested in Judea.
Discussion… support… encouragement… three words that cost nothing to carry out financially. But, to the recipient they are priceless. What Paul would later tell Titus to pass on to the women at Crete Elizabeth put into practice BBC (barely before Christ). I have a sneaking suspicion Mary had something to offer Elizabeth by way of prenatal care from her time with her own mother. The Bible doesn’t tell us, but, its possible Mary was the first-born in her family. If so she would have had opportunity to help while her Mom carried her siblings to term (my own Mom was the first-born in her family, that’s what makes me think this way). It would be so like God to give a double blessing in this instance.
We’re also not told how these two women were related, but that they were. So, Mary would have priestly blood to pass on to the Messiah. Perhaps her Dad had to drop out of the priesthood when he married a woman from the tribe of Judah. That could address the need for exile in Nazareth for Mary’s family; or, more likely, Mary’s Mom was Elizabeth’s sister. This is all conjecture from my own pondering of the situation. Don’t put too much stock into these thoughts.
Two women carrying prophesied ones in their wombs simultaneously. It would be a few decades before the Holy Spirit would occupy so many people at one time in the same vicinity. But that is the current environment we find ourselves in because of what these women endured.
Just think, two unexpected pregnancies precipitated by an angelic announcement, they definitely had a special bond. Only half a year earlier their lives were so ordinary. Until God used them to fulfill His story (that’s right… history). Don’t be surprised if God taps you for an assignment. It probably won’t be as elaborate as these two women, but He can use anybody who makes themself available. After I told a new friend at church that God had me writing Christian fiction she said, “Isn’t it amazing how God uses ordinary people to carry out His plans?”
I quickly responded, “He doesn’t have any other choice.” Think about it. We’re all ordinary. It doesn’t matter who your parents are. We all have the same trials and limitations. The same fears and doubts grip each mind. It’s what you do when you sense God telling you to do something that sets you apart from the crowd.
The first step is to offer yourself to God for His service.
I’ll see you later. Wade