Mother of John the Baptist
1st Century B.C.
To this woman was given the honor of being the mother of the one concerning whom Christ said: “Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist.”
Her husband was Zacharias, a priest. The priests were divided into twenty-four courses and served in turn at the temple. The hill country near Hebron was probably the home of Elizabeth and her husband. They were both well advanced in years, and childless. This was counted one of the greatest calamities by the Jews.
While Zacharias was in the temple offering incense and praying, an angel appeared to him and promised that a son should be born to them, notwithstanding their old age. The special characteristics of his son were to be greatness in the sight of the Lord; abstinence from wine and strong drink; and fullness of the Holy Spirit. In his work he would turn back the Lord many of the sons of Israel and make ready the people for the Lord’s coming.
There is a charm about the couple set forth in a single verse: “And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord, blameless.” (Luke 1:6)
We have but one glimpse of John’s childhood and young manhood. “The child grew and waxed strong in spirit and was in the deserts till the day of his showing unto Israel.” (Luke 1:80) He was gathering power to be in faith and fearlessness the Lord’s forerunner and make ready His ways. Blood will tell and so will training. John and his mother and the mountains and God. His father was also his teacher in the intervals of his absence from service at the temple.
Theirs was probably an isolated home and John was accustomed to solitude, but here was formed that rugged character which enabled him, like Elijah of old, to denounce people and princes for their sins and call them back to God.
Reference: Woman: Her Position, Influence and Achievement Throughout the Civilized World. Designed and Arranged by William C. King. Published in 1900 by The King-Richardson Co. Copyright 1903 The King-Richardson Co.