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Why was Mary’s visit to Elizabeth so long?

elizabeth-greeting-maryLet’s do some reflecting on Mary’s visit to Elizabeth, for there is SO MUCH HERE that is particularly heartwarming to us as women.

I believe there were many obvious purposes for Mary’s long visit, and some not so obvious.

Could you share at least one reason you think God orchestrated this visit?

And look at what you learn about the length of Mary’s visit — and do the math. Why do you think she stayed so long? I have a theory, but want to see if you, as women, come up with the same theory! When I first saw it, I was overwhelmed with belonging to a God who is so mindful of us, who looks ahead to help us for the hard road ahead.

I know this is a crazy busy time — but just give us a sentence!

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48 comments

  1. Dee, I believe one of the reasons God sent Mary to Elizabeth was so they could both bear witness to the annoited babies each were carrying.
    I also believe that Mary stayed so long with Elizabeth so she would be there for the birth of John. Gods way of preparing her for the birth of our savior whom she would deliver almost alone in that stable.
    Love,
    Barb

    1. Besides the powerful workings of the Holy Spirit,could it be that Mary stayed for 3 months because, human as she was, she had morning sickness!

  2. Hi Dee,
    Merry Christmas!

    When Gabriel told Mary that elderly Elizabeth was pregnant also, it must have given Mary great relief to know there was someone she could tell this whole story to without fear of being ridiculed or accused of lying or worse. It was probably a long trip from Nazareth to Zechariah’s home, so Mary had a long time to replay the whole amazing visit and the incredible presence of the Holy Spirit upon her. Although a girl of great faith, doubts could have begun eating their way into her thoughts. Having Elzabeth greet her with such amazing prophecy must have given her the assurance that this was really happening. Then hearing Elizabeth’s story of blessed miracle would have cemented her trust in what was happening to her.

    Knowing what happened to Zechariah when he questioned God, Mary probably worried about how Joseph would react when he learned what God had done for them. If he doubted, what would God do to him? Is it possible that this was more her concern for Joseph than how he would take the news that she was pregnant?

    Elizabeth was the only woman who could mentor Mary in this situation. No one else was pregnant in quite the same way. During this time Elizabeth’s baby was already preparing the way for Mary’s baby… making the path straight for the bumpy ride to Bethlehem.

    Do you suppose Mary was there for the circumcision and naming? I think she was. She saw the release of Zechariah’s tongue when he obeyed God’s command for the naming. This would give her confidence in the time ahead to agree to pack up her baby and run to Egypt, no questions asked, just obey and go.

    It is no wonder that Mary often pondered things in her heart. Our Heavenly Father continued to use her as an example for us, long after her saying Yes. She is God’s special gift to all mothers, whether they birth babies or ideas. Wait, listen, ponder, expect, trust, obey … the lessons of Mary.

  3. Wow Janet – great thoughts! I had never thought about how “John” was already preparing the way for the Lord in the womb!

    I think the visit by Mary to Elizabeth was one of mutual encouragement. Elizabeth was a woman well beyond child bearing years, and Mary – a virgin with a child – both impossible situations – except that God had done it! How they must have encouraged each other – their pregnacies, both, a testimony of the power and greatness of God. Elizabeth’s baby “leaping” in the womb – a confirmation to Mary and an encouragement to Elizabeth!

    Perhaps, as Janet said, Mary was there for the “opening” of Zechariah’s mouth thus giving Mary encouragement that God somehow would handle the “news” to Joseph! The “impossible” had already happened to her – she was pregnant – who would know better than her – the “greatness” of that, thus encouraging her own heart – that God could take care of the rest!

  4. Such wonderful insight to such a historic event.I am learning after knowing Jesus most of my life that the word of God is such a living,never ending source of food for thought and growth. I grew up in a denomination where men were the only ones allowed to preach and women were allowed to teach “simple” things of the word.The women of Faith I have been BLESSED to come to know come from all different walks and backgrounds.I now know this: I do not want to be a “great” woman of faith. I want to be a woman of “Great” faith.To God be the Glory!

    I am learning from some of the best in my time.Thank you Dee.

    Barb

  5. I see the graciousness of God in his actions toward Zechariah. Yes, as a loving father, he indeed “disciplined” Zechariah, but that wasn’t the end of the story. Zechariah, was indeed blessed by the coming of the Messiah into the very house of Zechariah. The Messiah, in the form of God in the womb. I think Zechariah must have been humbled by the visit of Mary and Jesus in the womb. What a great exaltation he gives! His words show belief and exaltation – that God has come and redeemed his people! I think it “all comes together” for him, the way he sees the fulfillment of prophecy, the way he recognizes the mercy shown by God to “his fathers”, and the faithfulness he now sees in God – that God has remembered “his holy covenant”. His doubts seem to have vanquished and now he sees clearly.

  6. I’ve known a lot of priests over the years and none has ever been good at “keeping their mouth shut.” It is very humorous that God chose shutting Zechariah’s mouth as a discipline for doubting. Imagine mute Zechariah looking to see who was at the door and overhearing Elizabeth’s prophecy to Mary. Here is the greatest event in a priest’s life, the Messiah has come first to his home, and he can’t tell anyone about it! He can’t preach a sermon. He can’t offer public prayer and praise. All he can do is humbly and silently speak from his heart directly to his God and no one else. Just imagine his prayers!! Our Lord is so aware of what we need and when we need it.

    The sentence in the scripture that captures my imagination tonight follows Zechariah’s song: “And the child grew and became strong in spirit…” Everyone in John’s immediate world knew the story of what had happened at his conception and circumcision. Wherever he would go as a child people might have pointed and whispered, “there’s the one whose father doubted God. His father said he will be a prophet making the way for the Savior. He doesn’t look like a prophet to me.” And they would laugh and move on. Living in that sort of limelight would have certainly contributed to the strengthening of spirit! It is no wonder that young John – and possibly his family? – moved to the desert where he could be away from public display and devote his life to God.

    What did Zechariah and Elizabeth teach him? Certainly all the prophecies about the coming of the Savior and the prophet who would come before him. When did he know that he was that one … really. Did he always know that Jesus, his cousin, was the Christ? When did Elizabeth tell him the rest of the story?

    Zechariah and Elizabeth had been given a big job. Perhaps in his discipline of silence the Lord revealed to Zechariah the way to father John in order to prepare the way for Jesus to begin his ministry. Zechariah’s song certainly would lead us to believe that more had been revealed to Zechariah in that year of silence from conception to circumcision.

      1. I remember an interview with Rich Mullins when he said that when he and his friend would travel long distances driving they would “practice silence” in the truck. That thought has stayed with me.

  7. For me, the most beautiful part of Mary’s Magnificat is the first phrase where she says, “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me – holy is his name.”

    Each time I read that phrase, I am touched, for I think of all that God has done for me – that He has been “mindful” of the humble state of his servant – me! And in a spiritual sense, “all generations will call me blessed” – for the Mighty One has done great things for ME – holy is his name!

    I am both humbled and touched as I think about what the Mighty One has done for me – that He has been minful of the humble state of his servant. I see Mary as a representation of all of us – all of us whom the Mighty One has done great things for. That He is mindful of us – what a thought!

  8. “He will tell you what He needs from you. Beyond what He needs, all He wants is for you to embrace Him and talk to Him.” – Beth Moore, Jesus the One and Only, a fictional account of Elizabeth’s advice to her cousin and mother of her Lord, Mary.

  9. My first thought to the first questions is Mary wanted to know about having sex with Joseph and did not feel comfortable asking her mother or father. Most would find this thought sacrilegious. To me that is all apart of why God chose the birth of Christ to intertwine with the birth of John to restore all unto God’s perspective of life and love. Preparation, Patience, and Passion. I feel God’s desire to unite with mankind has always been God’s motive behind all his stories.

    Elizabeth’s birth was a result of natural sex, Mary’s was a spiritual intercourse, but soon Mary would experience the natural.

  10. I thought of that, thus the patience which Mary saw in Elizabeth and Zechariah. Which having seen it lived out Mary could perhaps convey it to Joseph and together wait.

  11. Could it be that in addition to the powerful work of the Holy Spirit, Mary had morning sickness and was afraid of what was to come. surely Elizabeth would be a wise comforter to her.

  12. In regards to your response, Dee, what a statement of God’s power in a man and woman to the world for abstinence and self control to herald in the birth of Christ.

    As you, Carol, suggested about morning sickness, God is so into us knowing the humanity of our Savior who is acquainted with our grief and sorrows, our frailties and strengths, sexual desires, morning sickness on and on, and I think this all gets overlooked as we spiritualize what God wanted to humanize to awaken and captivate our hearts; not that the other perspectives are not valid.

    In today’s world the majority doesn’t even think God knows anything about sex–especially in the churches, and thus the world explores and exploits it in efforts to have some sort of connection in their lives.

    The birth of Christ heralds in the hope that we can live in divine love, faith, and power to do the impossible …. Peace on earth, goodwill toward men and women, young and old ….

  13. Dear Livingloved,
    Thanks for spurring my thoughts this morning! As I read your last post, I thought about “spiritualizing” things. For me, one supercedes the other. The verse that came to my mind was 2 Cor. 4:18, “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” The verses before that and after that are excellent also: 2 Cor.4:7-5:9.

    I for sure think that people can “overspiritualize” things. As it talks about in James, about having faith with no works! Seeing our brother hungry, and saying to him, be at peace, hope it all goes well with you,(my translation)but we don’t give him anything to eat! But on the other side of that, I think of Jesus, about where it says of him, “who for the joy set before him – endured the cross.” What “joy” was in the cross? A terrible beating, nails driven through his hands and feet, a spear piercing his side – where is the joy?? I believe he was looking beyond that – seeing you and me – and countless others – being reconciled to God through his pain and suffering.

    I think our lives are like that, and I think we do well to “fix our eyes on Jesus.” In this life, we will have trouble. But we are looking “for a city whose builder and maker is God.” I think also of what Jesus said, when he said, “my food is to do the will of Him who sent me.” Was he “overspiritualizing”? Or was it because he had that focus that he could do what His father had sent him to do?

    Thanks for spurring my thoughts – living loved!

  14. Good verses Fellowsojourner. Indeed to fix our eyes on God is key and you are right it does intertwine. I guess if we think about it God is first the Alpha and Omega and yes, He is present in between the beginning and the end.

    Thanks for challenging me, I really like to be challenged. No Jesus was not over spiritualizing when he said “my food is to do the will of Him who sent me.” Yes, it was because he had that focus he could bring heaven to earth. Thank you.

    I just was thrilled to see something about sexual control in this Christmas story I had not seen before. I think its powerful to me as I try to stay in control of my desires, especially during this season, and a single, divorced, mother having to deal with all “his” relatives and “him” and his new “her” around my children its painful, and I need God’s power.

    Thanks, again! Glory to God in the Highest!

  15. Thanks Livingloved! I am sorry for what you are going through this Christmas season. I had a similiar thing happen, where my brother took another “her”, and I know how painful it was to me and my family, and I am not even the “wife”, and I’m sure I can only fathom the extent of your pain.

    One thing I believe the Lord taught me through all of that was that I cannot be responsible for what others do, but I am responsible before God for what I do. Someone’s else’s sin does give me the right to do wrong. It is not an easy place. For me, it took many months of crying out to God, asking him to help me. I argued with God, asking him why I should be kind to someone who has brought nothing but pain and destruction to both my family and myself. This thought came to my mind one day, and I believe it was the Lord who gave it to me: this is someone for whom Christ died and for that reason alone I had no right to treat them with anything but kindness. Perhaps, the Lord may use it to reach them, and if not, I know I have pleased my Father, and been obedient to him. Praying for you – Livingloved! It still is not easy Livingloved, but it is the right thing. And what will we have at the end of it all? – Knowing we have pleased our Father!

    1. Dear ones, I think I am going to have to disagree on this one. After just reading Dee’s Revised, The Friendship of Women, which so brought a precious, deep healing balm to my soul, and God showed me my feelings were no less than than the gift of being a woman and friend, which he gave me, I felt normal, although I did notice the places I need time to grow into and repent of. Grateful to God and Dee for such vulnerability.

      What I am dealing with is an aligator which should not be appeased with what I would call syrupy sentinmentality. I do not feel the Holy Spirit moving this way. There is a time and a place for kindness, but when kindness enables sin, I will not be apart of it.

      This is a tough call, there is so much Scripture to back up a kind response but little Scripture to back up when you have to draw the line. I will draw the line here based on what I have read in Scripture about what marriage is, how God hates divorce, and how when a spouse is with another it is called adultery. Too many Christians have let these biblical truths go off to the wayside for their own selfish pleasure and comfort, I will not.

      This is the harder road, and not popular or supported, but this is where I feel God leading me. We’re probably getting off topic, sorry. I feel we have lowered God’s standard way too low or what others call cheap grace.

      Christs’ birth, death, and ressurrection was costly, so should our lives be as well. I am praying for the return of my husband: Returning to God, me, and my children. (He was a pastor)To me, this is the hope and power of Christmas, as painful as this season is to, not only me, but my children who should not have to go through all this season after season.

  16. This is a tough one Livingloved. And I don’t want to claim to have all the answers. I just know what God has taught me through this. My brother too, was a pastor! (And forgive me also, Dee, I know this is getting “off topic.”)

    I too, do not believe in “syrupy sentimentality”. I think it is insincere and useless. I think there is a time to call evil – evil and sin – sin. This is the kindness. “Tough love” or whatever they call it. But once this is done – what is there left to do? Should I treat them “unkind” – does this accomplish the purposes of God? To me, the answer is no Livingloved.

    I am coming from the other side of the story Living loved. I am not the wife or the one this “happened to”. So, I cannot speak for that. But I do know and have felt the devastating consequences of such a sin.

  17. Thanks FS. I am not talking about being unkind. You pray once it is done, nothing is impossible. Cleaning out the temple, was that unkind? Calling the Pharisees a brood of vipers, etc? I hear you, pray for me. Thanks again.

    1. Praying for you! Pray for me also – it is a tough place. Thank God – He knows! Thanks Livingloved!

  18. Will do sister, will do, hugs. Yes, thank God he does know
    Thank you,
    LL.

  19. I REMEMBER THE DAY CHUCK HAD A MASSIVE HEART ATTACK – WE WERE GETTING READY TO GO OUT TO CELEBRATE OUR 45TH WEDDING ANNIVERSARY – IT WAS FRIDAY, OCT. 13TH, 2006 (OUR OUR ACTUAL WEDDING DAY WAS OCT. 14TH). CHUCK COLLAPSED, WASN’T BREATHING – I CALLED 911 AND GAVE HIM CPR UNTIL THE AMBULANCE CAME AND REVIVED HIM.

    DEE – THE FIRST PAGE OF YOUR BOOK SAYS ALMOST EXACTLY WHAT I CRIED OUT TO GOD ABOUT: “OH SWEET JESUS – NO – PLEASE HELP US – DEAR GOD, PLEASE SPARE MY HUSBAND —-(AND I CHOKED ON THESE WORDS)–NEVERTHELESS, LORD, NOT MY WILL, BUT YOUR WILL BE DONE.” 8 WEEKS LATER, GOD TOOK CHUCK TO HEAVEN TO BE WITH HIM. GOD HEALS THROUGH MIRACLES, MEDICALLY OR TAKES HIS CHILDREN HOME.
    I BELIEVE WHAT GOD SAYS – HE HEARD MY CRY AND PITIED EVERY GROAN – I’M NOT ALONE – GOD IS MY SPIRITUAL HUSBAND. I PRAISE HIM FOR THE CLOSE-PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP I’M BLESSED WITH – AND SO MUCH OF IT HAS TO DO WITH STUDYING GOD’S WORD AND KNOWING HIS PROMISES. HE KNOWS THE PLANS HE HAS FOR ME, AND I TRUST THAT. PSALM 62:1-2 “MY SOUL FINDS REST IN HIM ALONE – HE ALONE IS MY ROCK AND MY SALVATION.”

  20. I personally think that when God places a dream inside you that is bigger than yourself,He finds an Elizabeth someone also carrying a miracle that other people will not believe to encourage you. Somebody like Elizabeth who will just believe God and SPEAK what God speaks because miracles are cavaried by the word of God in our own mouth.
    I think God knew the two women carrying extra ordinary miracles needed each other for comfort and encouragement. I also think that Zaccharah was not allowed to speak as because of his unbelief,he would constantly speak common sense to the two women instead of speaking faith till the end.

    1. absolutely!

  21. The story also has a typological element to it… in 2 sam. 6 the ark stays at the house of the priest for 3 months just as mary  did. It travels to the hill country of judea , and both david and elizabeth parallel The phrase ” who am I that ark/mother of my lord shall come to me…

     

    The ark of old brought the pressence of God, Mary brought the presence of God made flesh…

  22. Hello Ms. Dee, I think Mary knowing that she was carrying “The Messiah” The Holy One that not just any old body could present Him. She was led to anoint the child that was going to make way for The Messiah to come.

  23. Well Elizabeth was already 6 months pregnant when Mary visited her. Mary stayed for 3 months so maybe she stayed to help deliver the child. Furthermore what was the distance of travel for Mary?

  24. Good day Dee, I was searching for some insight in regards to the same question I had in regards to the timeline of Mary’s visit. I am very happy to have found this blog while I was searching. You have a very respectful and knowledgeable group within your community here. Thank you for providing this forum.

  25. No one picked up on a thought I have pondered….Zachariah was a priest (one who was a relative)…..and Mary claimed to be a virgin with child…an impossibility for a mortal woman….was one of the reasons for her long journey to have the priest examine her and confirm that she was indeed a virgin with child??

  26. Mary was under the law and had to go before a priest

    elizebeth’s husband was that priest and could preform the requirement of the law for a women in mary’s Condition

    elizebeth was an older woman and could examine Mary to see if her hymen was still intact

    1. Mary going to Elizabeth and her husband preforming the requirements under the law and Elizabeth examining Mary this confirmed that she was a virgin