What is a true friendship? Isn’t it a friendship where love doesn’t grow cold, no matter what? Where things like jealousy, suspicion, and bitterness can’t split up friends?
The story of Mary and Elizabeth, as told in Luke 1, is an example of a true friendship that shines brightly right up until our time.
Both Mary and Elizabeth were very God-fearing. Both had found grace 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 given her the task of being the mother of a man who had been prophesied about long ago. She had found great grace with God because of her godly fear.
But we know that Mary received an even greater task. After the angel had visited her and she had heard the 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 give birth to the Saviour of the world, Jesus Christ. You could say that Mary was greater than Elizabeth.
If there had been any jealousy in Elizabeth’s heart, she wouldn’t be truly glad about Mary’s news. And she could easily have become bitter. But that isn’t what we read! It says that she was so glad to hear Mary’s news 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 cried out, “Blessed are you among women!”
A special visit
The conversation that followed between these two women was only of joy and praise. This would not have been possible if both of them weren’t completely free of pride, jealousy, or anything else that would cause their love to become cold.
Mary then stayed with Elizabeth in her home for about three months. If we think about their conversation on the first day, that must have been a very special visit! It must have been full of joy, love, and true fellowship.
Mary and Elizabeth sincerely loved God. This made their friendship even more solid, loving and pure. How much they must have looked forward to the birth of their sons! Their godly fear must have been very great, since they were both pregnant with sons that would be such important instruments of our salvation!
The next generation
We know that the loving relationship between Mary and Elizabeth went over to the next generation. John the Baptist’s heart was so free from jealousy that he could say about Jesus: “… someone is coming who is much greater than I am. I am not good enough even to untie his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” Luke 3:16 (GNT).
And in John 3:29-30 (GNT) he said: “The bridegroom is the one to whom the bride belongs; but the bridegroom's friend, who stands by and listens, is glad when he hears the bridegroom's voice. This is how my own happiness is made complete. He must become more important while I become less important.” John 3:29-30 (GNT).
He “inherited” a heart that was free of jealousy from his mother. What a great blessing to have such an inheritance! A whole-hearted and God-fearing person can have an influence for a thousand generations. (Exodus 20:6.)
We can be so thankful for Mary and Elizabeth and the tasks that they carried out because of their godly fear. We can also 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 filled with true fellowship!