Women in the Bible – Lesson 5: Mary the Mother of Jesus and Elizabeth

A youth Bible study on Women in the Bible based on the Yale Bible Study.

Lesson Developed by

Jill Olds and Victoria Crook

Goal

God works through everyone

Tips to Prepare

  • If in person, set the room with chairs or around a table for a small group conversation
  • If virtually, schedule in your preferred video platform

Materials Checklist

Scripture Focus

Luke 1:26-56

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.

In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.” And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.” And Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home. 

 

Introduction for Leaders

Gather

  • Begin with a check in with members
  • Open with prayer

Engage

Activity 1: Top 10

  • Give youth paper and writing utensils.
  • Have them make a list of the top 10 people they look up to and a reason why they do.
  • Ask them, if they are comfortable, to share some of their list (or all if you have time). Write these on a larger paper/white board for everyone to see, or you can write down those who have written down the same people or similar (such as their Mom, Obama, Malala, their best friend etc.).
  • Discuss why they each look up to these people, or why they think others might.
  • What can you do to support those you look up to? How can you support those around you currently so that they might be their true selves?

Activity 2: Video

Watch together the video, “Young Activists and Why They March”

Reflect

Read the focal scripture and discuss the following questions together:

  1. What do you make of Mary’s “yes”? Did she have a choice?
  2. It was likely that Mary was a teenager when she became pregnant with Jesus. Who are the other teenagers today, “chosen” to do hard things? (Talk about Malala, Greta Thunberg, Alex’s lemonade stand, etc.)
  3. The exchange between Mary and Elizabeth is the longest between two women in all of the Scriptures. And it is one of only two instances in all of the Bible when named women talk about something other than men (the other is the women as they go to Jesus’ tomb). What strikes you about this story?
  4. Who are your female mentors, to whom you can turn for insight? How can we grant them agency, and a safe space in which to tell their stories?

 

Send Forth

Close the meeting in prayer (either leader or a group member).