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Titus 2 describes vibrant covenant life where the pastor teaches sound doctrine and one generation disciples the next generation; and sometimes discipleship is gender-specific: “Older women . . . are to teach what is good, and so train the young women” (vv. 3–4).
Women teach what is good by reinforcing the good doctrine taught from our pulpits. We train by showing how sound doctrine informs and transforms our attitudes and actions. Paul practiced this informational/relational discipleship dynamic. “We were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children . . . we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves,” he writes to the Thessalonians (1 Thess. 2:7–8).
Women spiritually mother women by sharing the gospel and our lives as we encourage and equip them to live for God’s glory. This is so important in the life of the church that when God sent His Son into the world, He provided an older woman to disciple the young woman chosen to mother the Messiah. Elizabeth and Mary embody Titus 2 discipleship.
When Elizabeth became pregnant, she said, “Thus the Lord has done for me in the days when he looked on me, to take away my reproach among people” (Luke 1:25), echoing Hannah’s prayer, “O Lord of hosts, if you will indeed look on . . . your servant” (1 Sam. 1:11).
After the angel’s announcement to Mary, she “went with haste” to Elizabeth’s home. The young woman went; the older woman welcomed.
“Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit” (Luke 1:41). God empowers us to be and to make disciples.
“Blessed is she who believed . . . what was spoken to her from the Lord” (v. 45). Elizabeth teaches Mary that blessedness comes from obedience to God’s Word.
As Mary helps Elizabeth with daily chores, as they talk about being a wife and mother, it’s not hard to imagine Elizabeth frequently saying with wonder, “Mary, Yahweh looked on me. . . . Yahweh looked on me. . . . He took away my shame.” And when Mary sings, there is lovely continuity with her spiritual mother: “My soul magnifies the Lord . . . for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant” (vv. 46–47).
Mary left Elizabeth’s home prepared to glorify God, even at the cross when the Father looked away from her Son because He was covered in her and our sin so we can live coram Deo—before the face of God for the sake of His glory. We can continue telling the story—He looked on me. God calls us to be disciples who make disciples. The covenantal continuity is compelling. The result is also compelling—“that the word of God may not be reviled” (Titus 2:5).