So often we read the story of Mary and Elizabeth through the perspective of the birth of Christ, but when you look at it through the perspective of friendship, there is more to see — and I’m excited to see what this exceptional group sees.
Have you ever had the sense that God was leading you to a friend? When you begin to suspect that God is involved, it makes you pause, wondering, Why? What purpose is there here? That’s what He did with Mary and Elizabeth. I love this scene from The Nativity where Mary and Elizabeth are rejoicing in what God has done. Two women who were blessed with miraculous pregnancies were also going to face enormous pain — God knew it, and used them to strengthen one another for the hard road ahead.
Share a time when the Lord led you to a friend. What made you think He was involved? Looking back, what purposes might He have had in mind?
Read Luke 1:5-7
A. Elizabeth was “blameless.” Since no one is without sin, what would it mean to walk blamelessly?
B. Many translations say she was “blameless and barren.” What do you learn about God and about life from
seeing those two words together?
C. In that society, it was a shame and a disappointment to be barren. It might have been hard for Elizabeth to
understand why God was allowing this — yet she obviously trusted. How would this “wilderness”
particularly equip her to mentor Mary?
D. What rough waters have you made it through that might equip you to mentor others? Be alert — is there anyone who comes to mind who might be in the midst of those same rough waters?
2. Zechariah was a godly man, yet, as is true of many left-brained males, he had trouble immediately believing Gabriel. This did not add up.
A. Describe the dialogue and everything you discover in Luke 1:12 to 1:20. What do you think about Zechariah
asking for a sign? Why is Gabriel shocked?
B. Skip ahead and look at Zechariah’s song when God loosed his tongue in Luke 1:67-80. What does this tell
you about how he responded to the Lord’s chastisement?
C. Research corroborates that women’s intuition may very well be a gift based on their global brain functions,
whereas many men think primarily with the left logical side. What are the advantages of
each kind of thinking? Why does this also show that women need women?
D. Research shows that married women with close women friends have stronger marriages than women who
expect their husbands to be all things to them. If you are married, has that been true for you?
E. The Scripture also says that God sets the solitary in families. What advantages are there for both married
women and single women to have friendships together? What sensitivities are needed?
3. Read Luke 1:28-38
A. What similarities and differences from Zechariah do you see in Mary’s response to Gabriel in Luke 1:28-38?
B. Mary doesn’t ask for a sign, yet Gabriel gives her one. What is it?
C. Why would this propel her to Elizabeth’s home? (Extra credit 🙂 How far did she walk?)
D. Think about a time when something propelled you into a friendship — and then you realized God was behind
4. Being led in friendship is all about hearing the still small voice of God and acting on it. The worldly way of making friends is by looking for someone who is like you, who may be useful to you. While it is not wrong to enjoy similar interests, we absolutely need to be open to all kinds of people. Evaluate your friendships from God’s perspective. What do you see?