My Come, Follow Me studies for this week took me to Matthew 1 and Luke 1. These chapters cover the births of John the Baptist and Jesus Christ. The lesson was introduced in the following paragraph.
From a mortal perspective, it was
impossible. A virgin could not conceive—nor could a barren woman who was well
past childbearing years. But God had a plan for the birth of His Son and the
birth of John the Baptist, so both Mary and Elisabeth, against all earthly
odds, became mothers. It can be helpful to remember their miraculous
experiences whenever we face something that seems impossible. Can we overcome
our weaknesses? Can we touch the heart of an unresponsive family member?
Gabriel could easily have been speaking to us when he reminded Mary, “With God
nothing shall be impossible” (Luke
1:37). And Mary’s response can also be ours when God reveals His will: “Be
it unto me according to thy word” (Luke
are numerous principles taught in the two chapters, but I will discuss this
one: “God’s blessings come in His own time” (Luke 1:5-25, 57-80). Most of us
have, at one time or another, been forced to wait for something that we dearly
wanted. Such was the case with Elisabeth and Zacharias who longed for a baby
for many years.
in Luke 1:5, we learn that Zacharias was a priest, and he and Elisabeth are
described as being “righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and
ordinances of the Lord blameless (verse 6). However, they had no child and were
“stricken in years” (verse 7). The day came when it was Zacharias’s turn to be
the priest who offered incense in the temple of the Lord (verses 7-8).
people were praying outside when Zacharias entered the temple (verse 10). As he
entered, “an angel of the Lord” appeared and stood “on the right side of the
altar of incense (verse 11), and he was “troubled” and fearful (verse 12).
13 But the angel said unto him, Fear
not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee
a son, and thou shalt call his name John.
14 And thou shalt have joy and
gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth.
15 For he shall be great in the sight
of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be
filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb.
16 And many of the children of Israel
shall he turn to the Lord their God.
17 And he shall go before him in the
spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,
and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared
for the Lord.
could not believe what the angel had said, “for I am an old man, and my wife
well stricken in years” (verse 18). The angel answered, “I am Gabriel, that
stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee
these glad tidings” (verse 19). As a sign that he was telling the truth, the
angel said that Zacharias would be dumb and unable to speak until the baby was
born “because thou believest not my words” (verse 20).
exited the temple, and the people “marvelled” that he had been so long in the
temple (verse 21). When he could not speak to them, “they perceived that he had
seen a vision in the temple” (verse 22). Zacharias completed his days in the temple
and went home. “Elisabeth conceived, and hid herself five months” (verse 24).
the sixth month of Elisabeth’s pregnancy, a newly pregnant Mary came to visit
and stayed for three months. The unborn baby in Elisabeth’s womb jumped in
recognition of the unborn Christ. Mary stayed with Elisabeth for three months
and went home. Soon after she left, Elisabeth gave birth to her baby, and he
was called John. Zacharias and Elisabeth were surely happy to have their long-desired
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland gave the following counsel: “While we work and wait
together for the answers to some of our prayers, I offer you my apostolic
promise that they are heard and they are answered, though perhaps not at the
time or in the way we wanted. But they are always answered at the time
and in the way an omniscient and eternally compassionate parent should answer
them” (“Waiting on the Lord,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2020,
and Elisabeth remained faithful through many years of waiting for their prayers
to be answered. If you find yourself waiting for a blessing, remember these two
faithful people and follow their example.