By: Darrelyn L. TuttPredecessor - One who comes before. Precedes. Fore-runner.------We have a deep appreciation for those who go "before" us and lend strength, encouragement, and aid to our own journey. Elizabeth was such a woman; she played a pivotal role in Mary's life by paving the way to an unadulterated hope in the living God and expressing a rock solid faith in His perfect timing. The contrasting connections forged between these two God-fearing, chosen women is a study onto itself and worth exploring.Three points will be laid out for consideration.1) Elizabeth was a godly but "aged" woman well beyond the time-frame of conception.A woman defined by barrenness, she was familiar with the deep gutteral ache and hole etched into a lifeless, dark, empty womb.She was familiar with the stares and "whispered wonderings" of others.She was familiar with vacant arms and eyes.She was familiar with dashed dreams, hopes, and longings.Elizabeth was familiar with tears.At the stage and season of life that Elizabeth finds herself in, conception is an impossibility.Mary, in contrast, is a young virgin just entering the child-bearing years. Her engagement to Joseph secures her with the likely possibility of mothering in a near future. Excitement and anticipation run deep as she begins to prepare for this new chapter of life, marriage, and committment to her beloved Joseph.A pure, devoted, clean love is theirs.No sexual intimacy has taken place.At the stage and season of life that Mary finds herself in, conception is an impossibility.Hmmm ....Elizabeth and Mary are both exposed to universal impossibilities.Elizabeth and Mary will both participate in a God-sized possibility."For with God, nothing shall be impossible."Luke 1:37-------2) Zacharias and Elizabeth are promised a child through the angel Gabriel. So tongue-tied and disbelieving is Zacharias at the time of the angel's appearing and pronouncement (Gabriel appears to him only in the temple), that he is subject to a consequence of being declared mute until the time of his son's birth.Elizabeth, interestingly, appears confident and unquestioning of the angel's declaration. She submits to the reality of a growing womb with wonder, joy, and certainty.Elizabeth will precede Mary in pregnancy;John will precede the Messiah in ministry."John the Baptist" who fills her womb is the miraculous child enlisted, blessed, and ordained to precede the coming of the Messiah and be the living answer to "impossibility."Oh my ... for wonder of it all.Mary, to the contrary, receives a direct sighting of the angel Gabriel and responds in reverential fear, submission, and humility to the news that she will conceive a child born of the Holy Ghost while yet being a virgin.Joseph's initial reaction of haste and departure from his beloved Mary is silenced and put to rest by an angel in his dream. Joseph responds obediently to the charge placed on him and takes Mary as his wife while abstaining from sexual intimacy.Mary finds lodging with the "aged" expectant woman who is carrying the "forerunner" to the Messiah.An unusual, pre-ordained kinship is established and exchanged between Elizabeth and Mary at the intersection called "impossibility." The wombs of two mother's "hearts" are bound by the inextricable link of the Father's will and Gabriel's announcement."For with God, nothing shall be impossible."Luke 1:37-------3) Elizabeth and Mary are two ordinary individuals who faced extraordinary, earthly impossibilities together. God forged and cemented them,prepared and preserved them,loved and intersected them,and brought hope, life, and possibility to us through them.May we be bound in the sacred circle of those who unite on the theme of "impossibility" and declare an unswerving testimony to the God of Holy possibility."For with God, nothing shall be impossible."Luke 1:37------STUDY FOR GROWTH:1) Contemplate the miraculous union of Elizabeth and Mary and the kinship God provided them with in their season of "impossibility."2) Record all the passages on "impossibility" and "possibility" in the Bible and note the context.You'll be super blessed by this assignment!3) What "situation" in your life do you deem impossible and what are your considerations in light of this study?Hmmm ...So much to be blessed by.-------
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