In Elizabeth, we have yet another woman of the Bible who had trouble conceiving, & we know how important it is to have children, especially in those uncertain times.
She & her husband, Zacharias, were righteous before God & followed all of the laws of the Lord, but remained childless until…
Zacharias was in the temple praying & was visited by the angel Gabriel. This is what he was told, according to Luke 1:13-15:
13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John. 14 You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He must never drink wine or strong drink; even before his birth he will be filled with the Holy Spirit.
It’s not good, of course, to doubt the word of an angel, but Zacharias & Elizabeth were both quite old by this time, & it’s hard to blame him for being skeptical. Gabriel was having none of this doubting though, so he made Zacharias unable to speak until the prophecy was fulfilled.
Elizabeth did become pregnant & during this time Gabriel also visited her relative, Mary, & told her she would conceive by the Holy Spirit & bring forth a son called Jesus. But back to our story…
Mary came to visit Elizabeth & when she arrived Elizabeth’s baby “leaped in her womb” & Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. She told Mary, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” (Luke 1:41-45)
Elizabeth’s son was born hail & hearty & all the neighbors rejoiced. They were going to name his Zacharias, but Elizabeth said, No; he is to be called John.” Zacharias still couldn’t speak, so they gave him a tablet & asked what the babe should be named. Everyone was surprised when he wrote, “His name is John.” It was in this moment that Zacharias tongue was freed & he began to speak, praising God.
This is the prophecy of Zacharias:
67 Then his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke this prophecy:
68 “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
for he has looked favorably on his people and redeemed them.
69 He has raised up a mighty savior for us
in the house of his servant David,
70 as he spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,
71 that we would be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us.
72 Thus he has shown the mercy promised to our ancestors,
and has remembered his holy covenant,
73 the oath that he swore to our ancestor Abraham,
to grant us 74 that we, being rescued from the hands of our enemies,
might serve him without fear, 75 in holiness and righteousness
before him all our days.
76 And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
77 to give knowledge of salvation to his people
by the forgiveness of their sins.
78 By the tender mercy of our God,
the dawn from on high will break upon us,
79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
80 The child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the wilderness until the day he appeared publicly to Israel.
— Luke 1:67-80
And so it was to be.