Afterward, Mary arose and hurried off to the hill country of Judea, to the village where Zechariah and Elizabeth lived. Arriving at their home, Mary entered the house and greeted Elizabeth. At the moment she heard Mary’s voice, the baby within Elizabeth’s womb jumped and kicked. And suddenly, Elizabeth was filled to overflowing with the Holy Spirit! With a loud voice she prophesied with power:
“Mary! You are a woman given the highest favor
and privilege above all others.
For your child is destined to bring God great delight.
How did I deserve such a remarkable honor
to have the mother of my Lord come and visit me?
The moment you came in the door and greeted me,
my baby danced inside me with ecstatic joy!
Great favor is upon you, for you have believed
every word spoken to you from the Lord.”
And Mary sang this song:
“My soul is ecstatic, overflowing with praises to God!
My spirit bursts with joy over my life-giving God!
For he set his tender gaze upon me, his lowly servant girl.
And from here on, everyone will know
that I have been favored and blessed.
The Mighty One has worked a mighty miracle for me;
holy is his name!
Mercy kisses all his godly lovers,
from one generation to the next.
Mighty power flows from him
to scatter all those who walk in pride.
Powerful princes he tears from their thrones
and he lifts up the lowly to take their place.
Those who hunger for him will always be filled,
but the smug and self-satisfied he will send away empty.
Because he can never forget to show mercy,
he has helped his chosen servant, Israel,
Keeping his promises to Abraham
and to his descendants forever.”
Before going home, Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months.
Luke 1:39-56 TPT
As far as women in the Bible go, Mary is definitely among the most iconic. She is revered as a woman who responded bravely to God’s call for her life. Her willingness to be obedient is a foundational thing in the faith of many. What I want to focus on, however, is this moment that Mary finds herself in in Luke, directly after the angel Gabriel came to Mary and told her she would be the mother of Jesus.
Immediately after she finds out the news, Mary goes to Judea, where her distant cousin and friend Elizabeth lives. At the time, Elizabeth was pregnant with John the Baptist. Elizabeth, like Mary, had conceived under miraculous circumstances, because of her old age. Because Mary was aware that Elizabeth was in a similar position, she immediately sought her counsel.
This is a really important illustration of community in the Bible. Sometimes it can seem easier to bear our burdens alone, because it can feel like you’re inconveniencing people when you ask for their help. But here, we see one of the most important figures in the Bible go seek help from a friend. And you know what happens when she does? God speaks. Mary had not even had a chance to tell Elizabeth what was going on before Elizabeth started to prophesy and encourage her. Elizabeth, because of her relationship with God, was able to affirm a lot of things in Mary. Mary even stayed with her for an extended amount of time so that she could learn from her and be encouraged by her.
Honestly, that is a really beautiful picture of women supporting women in the Bible. The picture that we see of friendship and mentorship can be projected onto our lives today. I believe this is one reason that Freshley small groups are so great. People come in and immediately have access to people a little bit older and a little bit wiser than them. It’s one reason we hope that everyone signs up for discipleship after their freshman year. We want for people to have access to somebody who can support them, uplift them, and listen to them.
Hear me say this: it is not selfish to seek out someone to mentor you. In fact, it’s actually really healthy. It’s also a beautiful thing to step into that role yourself, whether as a prayer leader or a small group leader or something else. We are designed for connection. It’s why people like Mary seek out someone to walk alongside them!!
God, help me to be a friend like Elizabeth. Help me to have the courage to ask people for help, and to let them know where I am really at. Release community over UGA and open people’s hearts to the people around them. Amen.