What is a true friendship? Isn’t it one where love doesn’t fail, no matter what? Where things like envy, offense, and bitterness can’t drive a wedge between friends?
The story of Mary and Elizabeth as told in Luke 1 is an example of a genuine friendship that shines brightly right up until our time.
Both Mary and Elizabeth were exceptionally God-fearing. Both had found favor with God, and both were chosen by Him for special tasks.
Mary and Elizabeth found grace with God
Elizabeth was pregnant at that time with John the Baptist. God had entrusted her with the task of being the mother of a man who had been prophesied about generations before. She had found great grace with God because of her godly fear.
However, as we know, Mary received an even greater commission. After the angel had visited her and she had heard the extraordinary news of the grace that was coming her way, she hurried to Elizabeth’s home and shared her joy with her.
Elizabeth had been given much, but Mary had received something much greater; she was to bring the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ, into the world. You could say that Mary was more exalted than Elizabeth.
If there had been any envy in Elizabeth’s heart, she would not have appreciated Mary’s announcement very much. If she was lacking in love, she could easily have become bitter. But that isn’t what is written! It says that she was so enthusiastic in her rejoicing that the baby she was carrying actually jumped for joy in her womb! When Mary shared her news, Elizabeth’s excitement was so great that she was filled with the Holy Spirit and she exclaimed, “Blessed are you among women!”
A special visit
The dialogue between those two women right then was only of rejoicing and praise. This would not have been possible if both of them hadn’t had hearts that were completely pure of pride, envy, or anything else that would cause love to grow cold.
Mary stayed with Elizabeth in her home for about three months. Going by the words they exchanged that first day, that must have been some visit! It must have been full of rejoicing, love, and true.
How sincerely Mary and Elizabeth must have loved God! How that must have increased their ability to have a solid, pure, loving friendship. How much they must have looked forward to the birth of their sons! Their Godly fear must have been incomparable, since they both bore sons that were to be such indispensable instruments of salvation!
The next generation
And of course we know that the loving relationship that Mary and Elizabeth shared continued on to the next generation. John the Baptist’s heart was so free from envy that he was able to say of Jesus: “’I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” Luke 3:16. And: “He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friends of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease.” John 3:29-10.
He “inherited” his heart free of envy from his mother. What an incredible blessing to receive such an inheritance! A whole-hearted and God-fearing soul can affect succeeding generations for up to 1000 generations. (Exodus 20:6) How precious these souls are!
We can be so thankful for Mary and Elizabeth and the tasks that they carried out because of their Godly fear. And what’s more, we can follow the examples they set for us and let Godly love rule in our hearts, so that all of our relationships can be pure and we can have true fellowship!
You may be interested in reading more inspiring articles on our topic page about people in the Bible. See the selected articles about Mary below:
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.