We began two weeks ago in Nazareth with Luke’s account of the conception, considering Mary’s willingness to humbly serve the Lord, even under these very difficult and shocking circumstances. Last week, we heard Matthew’s account of Joseph learning of Mary’s pregnancy. And we talked about how Joseph acted with mercy and compassion toward Mary. And because of that, God was able to go to work in a big way.
As you recall, Mary was faced with a very delicate situation. If news got out about her pregnancy, it could be devastating—perhaps even fatal. We can only assume that Mary was very afraid to share news of her pregnancy.
Today we will learn how Mary handled that fear and what she did after learning of her pregnancy through the visit from the Angel Gabriel. It’s interesting, really. Mary, probably only 14 or 15, doesn’t go tell her parents. She doesn’t excitedly share the news on social media with a status update as her announcement. The first thing Mary does after learning that God has conceived in her a child is that she sets off to see her cousin Elizabeth.
Now, it’s not like Elizabeth lives next door, or even in the next village over. No, it is believed that Elizabeth and Zechariah lived in the town of Ein Karem, which is a few miles from Bethlehem in Judea, about a nine-day journey from Mary’s home in Nazareth. Though the scripture doesn’t say, we can guess that part of the reason for Mary’s visit to Elizabeth was to take a side-trip to Bethlehem to share the news with Joseph as well.
Now, as the crow flies, it’s about 80 miles from Nazareth to Ein Karem, but remember that Mary would have been walking—through Samaria—and over three different mountain ranges. She would have had to join with a caravan so that she would be safe from robbers as she made the journey. Obviously, this was a very serious journey that Mary undertook. Clearly, it was extremely important that Mary get to Elizabeth. But why? Why would Mary take this long and dangerous journey, while pregnant, to see her cousin?
Have you ever received news that was so shocking and overwhelming that you needed someone to help you process it all? Sometimes it’s hard for us to deal with something on our own, and it is helpful to share with another person; to be listened to, to reveal our feelings and emotions, our joys and our apprehensions.
Do you find yourself going from ear to ear sharing about your situation until you find the response and advice you like best?
Have you ever considered who your ‘home team’ people are?
Is it difficult for you to receive hard truths from even your trusted friends and family? If so consider why that might be and how you can let Jesus humble you to be a receiver of truth, no matter how difficult.