Outpouring, Infilling, Leading: These Are the Days of the Spirit

Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel narrative of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ as it was written and recorded by the beloved physician Luke. More specifically, today’s passage begins with the twenty-first verse of the second chapter, and continues through to the final verse of the fourth chapter. THE SONG OF MARY! THE SONG OF ZACHARIAS! THE CHILD IS BORN IN BETHLEHEM! THE CHILD IS BORN IN A MANGER! THE VISITATION UNTO THE SHEPHERDS! THE REVELATION IN THE MIDST OF THE FIELD! A REVELATION IN THE FIELD AND A TREASURE IN A MANGER! WHEN SHEPHERDS MAKE THEIR WAY TO THE MANGER! “FOR UNTO YOU IS BORN THIS DAY IN THE CITY OF DAVID A SAVIOUR, WHICH IS CHRIST THE LORD. AND THIS SHALL BE A SIGN UNTO YOU; YE SHALL FIND THE BABE WRAPPED IN SWADDLING CLOTHES, LYING IN A MANGER” AND SUDDENLY THERE WAS WITH THE ANGEL A MULTITUDE OF THE HEAVENLY HOST PRAISING GOD! THE SHEPHERDS SAID ONE TO ANOTHER, LET US NOW GO EVEN UNTO BETH-LEHEM, AND SEE THIS THING WHICH IS COME TO PASS, WHICH THE LORD HATH MADE KNOWN UNTO US! THEY CAME WITH HASTE! THEY FOUND MARY, AND JOSEPH, AND THE BABE LYING IN A MANGER! WHEN THEY HAD SEEN IT, THEY MADE KNOWN ABROAD THE SAYING WHICH WAS TOLD THEM CONCERNING THIS CHILD! ALL THEY THAT HEARD IT WONDERED AT THOSE THINGS WHICH WERE TOLD THEM BY THE SHEPHERDS! MARY KEPT ALL THESE THINGS, AND PONDERED THEM IN HER HEART! THE SHEPHERDS RETURNED, GLORIFYING AND PRAISING GOD FOR ALL THE THINGS THAT THEY HAD HEARD AND SEEN, AS IT WAS TOLD UNTO THEM! [AND WHEN EIGHT DAYS WERE ACCOMPLISHED FOR THE CIRCUMCISING OF THE CHILD, HIS NAME WAS CALLED JESUS, WHICH WAS SO NAMED OF THE ANGEL BEFORE HE WAS CONCEIVED IN THE WOMB]. THEY BROUGHT HIM TO JERUSALEM, TO PRESENT HIM TO THE LORD! SIMEON’S ENCOUNTER WITH THE CHRIST! ANNA’S ENCOUNTER WITH THE CHRIST! VISIONS IN THE FIELD, ENCOUNTERS IN THE TEMPLE! VISIONS IN THE FIELD, REVELATION IN A MANGER, AND ENCOUNTERS IN THE TEMPLE! AN ENCOUNTER BETWEEN TWO WOMBS!

            When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find and encounter some incredibly strong narratives concerning Jesus the Christ—from the time He was conceived within the womb of Mary and was brought into the company and presence of Elisabeth and the child growing within her womb until the time He would drive out the unclean spirit that possessed and tormented the man within the synagogue. WHEN THE WOMB OF THE VIRGIN AND THE WOMB OF THE BARREN SPEAK TO ONE ANOTHER! WHEN THE WOMB OF THE VIRGIN SPEAKS TO THE WOMB OF THE BARREN! I am convinced that in order to understand the words which are found within these chapters it is absolutely necessary to call and draw our attention to the words which are found in verses thirty-nine through forty-five of the first chapter of this New Testament gospel. If and as you read the words found in this passage of Scripture you will find that Mary would arise from the town of Nazareth where she was living during her time of being espoused to Joseph, and would go into the hill country with haste into a city of Judah. The sole purpose of this visit from Mary was to spend time with Elisabeth whom the angel Gabriel had spoke and revealed unto her was now in her sixth month of being with child. When the angel Gabriel appeared and spoke unto Mary he would reveal how her cousin Elisabeth had conceived and was with child, and how there was absolutely nothing that would be impossible with the Lord. In this particular set of verses we find Mary coming unto the house of Zacharias and Elisabeth, and saluting Elisabeth. It would be when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary the babe within her would leap within her womb, and Elisabeth would be filled with the Holy Ghost. As a direct result of the babe within her womb leaping at the sound of the salutation of Mary—and perhaps not only the salutation of Mary, but also the presence of the Child which was growing within her womb—Elisabeth would be filled with the Holy Ghost. This infilling of the Holy Ghost would be a tremendous and powerful reality found within tis passage of Scripture, for as a result of the Holy Ghost filling Elisabeth she would speak forth with a loud voice and boldly exclaim, “Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she that believed: For there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord” (Luke 1:42-45).

            AND HE SHALL BE FILLED WITH THE HOLY GHOST, EVEN FROM HIS MOTHER’S WOMB! THE HOLY GHOST SHALL COME UPON THEE! [THE POWER OF THE HIGHEST SHALL OVERSHADOW THEE]. ELISABETH WAS FILLED WITH THE HOLY GHOST! AND HIS FATHER ZACHARIAS WAS FILLED WITH THE HOLY GHOST! THE HOLY GHOST WAS UPON HIM! IT WAS REVEALED UNTO HIM BY THE HOLY GHOST! AND HE CAME BY THE SPIRIT INTO THE TEMPLE! THE HOLY GHOST DESCENDED IN A BODILY SHAPE LIKE A DOVE UPON HIM! JESUS BEING FULL OF THE HOLY GHOST RETURNED FROM JORDAN! WAS LED BY THE SPIRIT INTO THE WILDERNESS! RETURNED IN THE POWER OF THE SPIRIT INTO GALILEE! THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME! [VERY EARLY ON IN THE NARRATIVE OF THE LIFE AND MINISTRY OF JESUS THE CHRIST WE SEE THE PRESENCE, THE PERSON AND THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT].

            As I sit here thinking about and considering the words which are found in the opening chapters of the gospel narrative written by the beloved physician Luke I cannot help but see something that would be a dominant and prominent theme in the New Testament book of Acts. We know when reading the New Testament book of Acts that there is a heavy emphasis on the person, the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, however, if you take the time to read the gospel narrative written by the same New Testament author you will find a heavy dialogue about the person and presence of the Holy Spirit. In fact, you cannot read the first four chapters of the gospel narrative written by the beloved physician Luke and not be brought face to face with the revelation of the living God through the angel Gabriel—and not only the revelation of God through the angel Gabriel, but also the person, the presence and power of the Holy Ghost within the lives of many different individuals who would make this gospel narrative. In all reality, I am absolutely and completely captivated with and by the fact that there were so many different parties involved in this narrative of the birth of Jesus the Christ, and how many of these parties would experience the person of the Holy Ghost. What makes this all the more intriguing and astonishing is when you take the time to consider how there was perhaps very little—if any—dialogue and communication about the person of the Holy Ghost for four hundred years prior to these times. It would be after the angelic visitation of Gabriel who came and proclaimed the births of John the Baptist and Jesus the Christ that the person of the Holy Ghost would become incredibly active within the lives of many individuals during those days. What would begin with an emphatic declaration from the angel Gabriel unto Mary concerning the Holy Ghost coming upon her, and the power of the Highest overshadowing her would transition to the Holy Ghost filling Elisabeth at the sound of the salutation and greeting of Mary the mother of the Lord Jesus the Christ. We first read and find record of the Holy Ghost coming upon Mary thus allowing her to conceive within her womb the life of Jesus the Christ, and only a few short verses later we find a powerful reference of the presence and person of the Holy Ghost filling Elisabeth. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this awesome reality, for within the first and opening chapter of this gospel narrative we are brought face to face with just how involved the Holy Ghost would be during those days.

            The more I consider the opening chapters of the gospel narrative which was written by the beloved physician Luke the more am brought face to face with the awesome and powerful reality that after four-hundred years of silence with no open vision, no revelation from heaven, and perhaps no mention of the person, the power and the presence of the Holy Spirit, there would be two angelic visitations from Gabriel who stood in the presence of the LORD, and the person and presence of the Holy Ghost would be incredibly active within the lives of those individuals who were part of this narrative surrounding the births of John the Baptist, as well as Jesus the Christ. It would be when Elisabeth heard the salutation and voice of Mary the mother of Jesus that the child within her womb would leap, and would be filled with the Holy Ghost. What’s more, is that it would be when Zacharias would write and proclaim the awesome truth that the child born unto he and Elisabeth would be named John—not only would his tongue be loosed and his mouth opened, but he would be filled with the Holy Ghost as well. Within the first and opening chapter of this gospel narrative we are brought face to face with the incredibly powerful truth and reality of the person and presence of the Holy Ghost being manifested within the lives of Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as within the lives of the mother and father of John the Baptist. The angel Gabriel declared and proclaimed unto Mary the mother of Jesus that the Holy Ghost would come upon her, and that the power of the most High would overshadow her, thus allowing her to conceive the child within her womb, and it is necessary that we recognize and understand this awesome reality. Concerning the virgin womb of Mary conceiving and bringing forth a male child who would be the Son of the Highest we find the person, the presence, and the power of the Holy Ghost coming upon her to facilitate and bring about this manifestation, and it would be concerning Elisabeth and Zacharias that we not only find the Holy Ghost coming upon individuals as He had done in the Old Testament and during the days of the old covenant, but we find the Holy Ghost filling the parents of John the Baptist.

            JOHN THE BAPTIST WOULD BE FILLED WITH THE HOLY GHOST FROM THE WOMB! ELISABETH WOULD BE FILLED WITH THE HOLY GHOST WHEN SHE HEARD THE SALUTATION OF MARY THE MOTHER OF THE LORD JESUS! ZACHARIAS WOULD BE FILLED WITH THE HOLY GHOST AFTER HIS TONGUE WAS LOOSED AND HIS MOUTH OPENED! Pause for a moment and think about the awesome truth surrounding the person, the presence and the power of the Holy Ghost within the opening chapters of the gospel narrative written by the beloved physician Luke, for when the angel Gabriel spoke and revealed unto Zacharias that his wife Elisabeth would conceive and bring forth a child, he would also declare that the child would be filled with the Holy Ghost from the womb of his mother. This is quite intriguing when you take the time to think about it in direct connection to Mary the mother of the Lord Jesus coming unto the hill country where Zacharias and Elisabeth lived, for it would be while John the Baptist was still within the womb of Elisabeth that she would be filled with the Holy Ghost. The question I can’t help but ask myself and wonder is whether or not it was at this moment when not only was Elisabeth filled with the Holy Ghost, but so also was the child within her womb filled with the Holy Ghost. I cannot help but wonder if when Elisabeth heard the voice, the greeting, and the salutation of Mary the mother of her Lord that she was filled with the Holy Ghost—and not only was she filled with the Holy Ghost, but so also was the child filled with the Holy Ghost. IT would be the angel Gabriel who would speak unto Zacharias and powerfully declare and proclaim unto him that the child which would be conceived within the womb of his wife would be filled with the Holy Ghost from within her womb. It would be the angel Gabriel who would declare that the child which would grow within the womb of Elisabeth would be filled with the Holy Ghost, and it would be when Elisabeth would hear the salutation and greeting of Mary the mother of her Lord that she would most certainly be filled with the Holy Ghost. What’s more, is I would dare say that it might very well be at this moment the child which was growing within her womb would also be filled with the Holy Ghost.

            AND IN THE SIXTH MONTH THE ANGEL GABRIEL WAS SENT FROM GOD UNTO A CITY OF GALILEE NAMED NAZARETH! AND, BEHOLD, THY COUNSIN ELISABETH, SHE HATH ALSO CONCEIVED A SON IN HER OLD AGE: AND THIS IS THE SIXTH MONTH WITH HER, WHO WAS CALLED BARREN! A POWERFUL DELCARATION OF LIFE WITHIN THE WOMB! A POWERFUL DECLARATION OF BEING FORMED WITHIN THE WOMB! A POWERFUL DECLARATION CONCERNING THE ACTIVITY OF THE HOLY GHOST WITHIN THE WOMB AS A CHILD IS CONCEIVED WITHIN IT AND GROWS INSIDE IT! THE PERSON OF THE HOLY SPIRIT BEING INVOLVED WITHIN THE LIFE OF ONE WITHIN THE WOMB WHILE THERE ARE STILL THREE MONTHS LEFT! As I sit here today thinking about and considering the awesome truth surrounding the activity of the Holy Ghost, I can’t help but think about the fact that what we find during these days is more than angelic visitations, and more than a barren womb being opened that it might conceive, and more than just a virgin womb being allowed to conceive, but we also find an increase in the activity of the Holy Spirit. We cannot, we dare not and must not seek to read and understand these days apart from also considering how these days were indeed days of revelation from the living God—revelation that would come through dreams, revelation that would come through angelic visitations, revelation that would come to shepherds who were watching their sheep by night in the fields, and revelation that would come in the form of a star that would lease wise men from the east unto the place of the Messiah—but these days were also days of the person, the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit. If you read the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew you will find a strong presence of dreams which would be used during those days to provide guidance and protection for those individuals who would be linked to the birth of the Messiah, as well as a strong declaration of the fulfillment of the words which the ancient Hebrew prophets had spoken centuries and generations earlier. While in the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew places a great deal of emphasis on dreams which were used during those days, as well as the fulfillment of that which the ancient Hebrew prophets had spoken, the gospel of Luke would place a strong emphasis on angelic visitation, as well as the person, the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit. It is absolutely necessary and critical that we pay close attention to this, for I am convinced that if we are to truly understand the narrative of Jesus’ birth—and not only Jesus’ birth, but also Jesus’ baptism, Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness, and even Jesus’ return from the wilderness into the land of Galilee and unto His hometown of Nazareth—we must recognize and understand that those days were truly and indeed days of heightened and increase spiritual activity.

            I have to admit that the more I read and the more I consider the words which are found in the New Testament gospel narrative of Luke the more I am brought face to face with the awesome and powerful reality that those days surrounding the birth of John the Baptist—the divine and holy messenger who would go before the face of the Messiah—as well as those days surrounding the birth of the Messiah were days of tremendous and powerful manifestations of the Holy Ghost. Those days were days which were wonderfully and powerfully characterized by the person and presence of the Holy Spirit who would not only come upon Mary thus enabling her to conceive and bring forth the life of the Messiah within her womb, and who would not only fill Zacharias and Elisabeth thus allowing them to both speak forth great words of praise before and unto the living God concerning the wonderful works He would perform during those days, but who would also lead Simeon to the Temple of the Lord at the precise day, at the precise hour, and at the precise moment Mary and Joseph would bring the young child to the house of the Lord to dedicate and offer Him as holy unto the Lord. The gospel narrative written by the beloved physician Luke is such that must be carefully understood and considered in light of how active and involved the Lord was during those times, as those were days that were about more than simply the births of two distinct individuals who would alter the course of history. Those days would be characterized by a strong and powerful manifestation of the revelation of the one true and living God who would speak to, lead, guide and direct individuals concerning the Messiah and His messenger.

            Throughout the years I have read the gospel narratives of the apostle Matthew and the beloved physician Luke numerous times, and I have to admit that during and throughout those times I have never really looked at and viewed these gospels through the lens of divine revelation from heaven. After four-hundred years of silence we find the Lord breaking that silence through two distinct angelic visitations—one which would take place in the town of Nazareth in Galilee, and the other which would take place in the city of Jerusalem at the Temple of the Lord. After four-hundred years of silence which would begin after Malachi would speak his final words in the midst of the returned and restored people of God unto the land the Lord would choose to break the silence—first and foremost by sending His angel Gabriel who stood in His presence unto Mary in Nazareth and Zacharias in Jerusalem to announce the births of two individuals who would radically and powerfully alter and change the course of history. The living and eternal God would break the silence of four-hundred years by sending His angel Gabriel unto Nazareth announcing the birth of the Messiah, and unto Jerusalem announcing the birth of the Messiah’s messenger, however, that would be just the beginning of the revelation of the living God during those days. Those days would also contain dreams which would be used by the Lord to guard and protect the life of the Messiah which would be born during those days, for not only would the Lord speak to Joseph in a dream encouraging him to take unto him as wife Mary, but the Lord would also speak to Joseph in a dream instructing him to take Mary and the child down into the land of Egypt to escape the murderous wrath of Herod the king who would seek to kill and destroy all the male children under the approximate age of two or three. What’s more, the Lord would also once more speak to Joseph through a dream instructing him to take the child and his mother and return unto the land of Judaea and Galilee, and would further instruct him not to remain and abide in the land of Judaea, but to return unto the town of Nazareth—that town which the angel Gabriel would previously visit announcing the birth of the Messiah unto Mary. Along these lines of dreams the Lord would also warn the wise men through a dream by night concerning Herod the king of Judaea, and how they were not to report back unto him, but were to depart and return unto their own land by a completely different way.

            The narrative we find surrounding the births of the Messiah and the Messiah’s messenger is absolutely remarkable and astounding when you truly take the time to consider it, for the apostle Matthew would take great lengths and would go to great measures to demonstrate that the events which took place during those days took place that the words which the ancient Hebrew prophets had spoken would come to pass and would be fulfilled. The apostle Matthew chose to place a great deal of emphasis on the use of dreams and the prophetic fulfillment of the words the ancient Hebrew prophets had spoken centuries and generations earlier to demonstrate the sovereignty of the living God over the birth of the Messiah who would be born of a virgin, and which would be born in the town of Bethlehem of Judah. The apostle Matthew being Jewish by birth and by heritage would place a great deal of emphasis on the fulfillment of the prophetic words which the ancient Hebrew prophets spoke and foretold, while the beloved physician Luke—one who perhaps did not have as great an understanding of the words of the ancient Hebrew prophets—would place his attention and his focus on the angelic visitations of Gabriel unto Zacharias in the Temple of the Lord announcing the birth of the Messiah’s messenger, and unto Mary who was a virgin espoused and betrothed unto Joseph who was at that time living in Nazareth of Galilee. What’s more, is the beloved physician Luke would also choose to place a great deal of emphasis on the person, the power and the presence of the Holy Spirit, and the activity of the Holy Ghost during those days. You cannot read the gospel narrative written by the beloved physician Luke and not encounter and come face to face with the awesome and powerful reality that the beloved physician Luke would place a strong and powerful emphasis on the person, the presence, and the power of the Holy Spirit during those days. Just as the beloved physician Luke would write the book of Acts, which would not only be a book that would demonstrate the spiritual body of Christ—which was the early church—and the activity of the Church during the days after the ascension of Jesus the Christ, but also a book that would demonstrate and highlight the activity of the Holy Spirit working with and working in the midst of the early Church and Christians, so also would the beloved physician Luke write the gospel narrative and account of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ and reference the activity of the Holy Spirit during those days and times.

            There is not a doubt in my mind that if you want to understand the words which are found in the New Testament gospel narrative written by the physician Luke you must needs recognize and understand the strong presence and the powerful activity of the Holy Spirit during those days. Those days would indeed be marked by two distinct visitations of the angel Gabriel who would announce the births of the Messiah and the Messiah’s messenger, but the person and presence of the Holy Spirit would be heavily active and very much involved during those days. In fact, the person and presence of the Holy Spirit would find its way into this gospel narrative as early as the angelic visitation of Gabriel unto Zacharias in the Temple of the Lord, for when speaking unto Zacharias concerning his wife Elisabeth conceiving and bringing forth a child in her old age, the angel Gabriel would announce and declare that the child would be filled with the Holy Ghost from his mother’s womb. Please pay close and careful attention to this awesome and incredible truth, for this would be the first mention of the person and presence of the Holy Spirit—and not only the person and presence of the Holy Spirit, but also a very distinct reality of the Holy Spirit which would seem to be introduced in the gospel narrative written by the physician Luke. There would be a number of individuals who would look to the New Testament book of Acts when seeking to demonstrate how the Holy Spirit would fill and dwell within men as opposed to coming upon people in the days of the Old Testament and during the days of the Old Covenant, however, I am convinced that we can find evidence of the Holy Spirit beginning to fill and dwell within men even before the New Testament book of Acts. I am absolutely and completely convinced that we don’t need to journey to the book of Acts in the New Testament to begin to understand the activity of the person and presence of the Holy Spirit, and how the Holy Spirit would seek to fill and dwell within men, for we find this reality presented before and unto us in the gospel narrative which was written by the same New Testament author. If and as you read the words which are found in the New Testament gospel narrative written by the physician Luke you will find evidence of the Holy Spirit beginning to fill people during the days of the announcements and actual births of John the Baptist and Jesus of Nazareth.

            When the angel Gabriel appeared unto Zacharias beside the altar in the Temple of the Lord—one of the declarations and proclamations he would make concerning this child which would be born unto them was that he would be filled with the Holy Ghost from the womb of his mother While the child was still being formed and fashioned within the womb of his mother he would be filled with the Holy Ghost, and even after the child would break the womb and enter into the world he would be filled with the Holy Spirit. This is something of great interest and of great importance, for within this proclamation we find a powerful statement and declaration of life within the womb, and how it is not only life within the womb, but also of the activity of the living God within the womb of a woman as a child is being formed and knit together there in the womb. What makes this all the more astonishing and intriguing is when you think about the fact that when Elisabeth was six months along during her pregnancy her cousin Mary would depart from the town of Nazareth and would come unto her and Zacharias there in the hill country of Judaea. The physician Luke writes and records how when Elisabeth heard the salutation and greeting of Mary, the babe within her leapt within her womb—undoubtedly with joy and jubilation at the presence of the mother of the Lord, as well as the life which would be conceived within her womb. Scripture is unclear whether or not at this time Mary had already conceived the life of the Messiah within her womb, but we do know the tremendous impact and affect her coming unto the house of Zacharias and Elisabeth would have during those times as not only would the babe inside the womb of Elisabeth leap within her womb, but so also would Elisabeth be filled with the Holy Ghost. I have to admit that there is a part of me that can’t help but wonder if it was not at this moment—this moment when the babe inside the womb of Elisabeth would come in contact with, and would enter the presence of the Messiah within the womb of Mary—that he would be filled with the Holy Ghost. The angel Gabriel had announced unto Zacharias that this babe would be filled with the Holy Ghost from the womb of his mother, and Luke is careful to make mention of the fact that it would be when Mary came unto the home of Zacharias and Elisabeth, and after Elisabeth heard the salutation and greeting of Mary that the babe within her womb would leap for joy, and how Elisabeth would be filled with the Holy Ghost.

            While Scripture doesn’t necessarily come out and say that Mary had conceived the life of the Messiah within her womb when she departed from the town of Nazareth to journey unto the hill country of Judaea, I have to say that I am inclined to believe that the life of the Messiah had to have been conceived within her womb, and that when Mary entered into the house of Zacharias and Elisabeth the life of the Messiah was already present within her womb. Stop and think about the tremendous significance of Mary coming unto Elisabeth, for while Mary might very well have come unto the home of her cousin Elisabeth to behold the wonderful thing the Lord had done for her, I am absolutely and completely convinced that the Lord was divinely orchestrating those days and those events. I am inclined to believe that the Lord would divinely orchestrate Mary’s visit unto the house of Zacharias and Elisabeth that He might bring the life and presence of the Messiah unto both Elisabeth and the child growing within her womb that both the mother and the child would be filled with the Holy Spirit. I cannot help but think about the fact that this might very well be the first manifestation of the life of the Messiah bringing forth the manifestation of the Holy Spirit within the lives of others, for it would be after Mary would enter into the home, and after Elisabeth would hear the salutation and greeting of Mary that the babe within her womb would leap inside her, and she would be filled with the Holy Ghost. Pause and think about how absolutely astonishing and remarkable this particular concept would be, as Mary would come unto the house of Zacharias and Elisabeth carrying the life of the Messiah inside of her, and it would be the presence of the Messiah there in the house that would lead to and produce the manifestation of the Holy Spirit within the womb of Elisabeth, as well as within the soul and spirit of Elisabeth. The more I think about, and the more I consider how Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost during those days when Mary the mother of her Lord entered into her house, the more I come face to face with the awesome reality that it might very well have been in and at that moment when not only was Elisabeth herself filled with the Holy Ghost, but so also would the babe within her womb be filled with the Holy Ghost.

            I sit here today thinking about and considering this awesome and powerful reality, and I can’t help but be drawn and captivated with and by the great truth that it was undoubtedly necessary for Mary to depart from Nazareth—if only for a season and short period of time—to journey unto the hill country of Judaea and unto the house of Zacharias and Elisabeth that the life, the person and the presence of the Messiah which would be present within her womb might come in contact with Elisabeth and the child growing within her womb. There is not a doubt in my mind that the Lord was sovereignly and divinely orchestrating the events which would take place during this time that He might bring both the mother and the child growing within her womb unto the home and into the presence of Elisabeth and the child growing within her womb that He might accomplish that which the angel Gabriel had spoken unto Zacharias beside the altar in the Temple of the Lord. I firmly believe that Mary had great need—regardless of whether she was aware of it or not—to journey unto the hill country of Judaea that she might bring the person, the presence and the life of the Messiah growing within her womb into the presence of Elisabeth and the child which was growing within her womb. I am convinced that there needed to be this wonderful and tremendous exchange and interaction between these two women, for it would be as a direct result of Elisabeth and the child within her womb coming into the presence of the life growing within the womb of Mary that both the child and the mother would be filled with the Holy Spirit. I would dare say—and not merely say, but strongly suggest—that this would in all reality be the first manifestation of the indwelling and infilling of the Holy Spirit within the New Testament, as it would be on this particular occasion when Scripture records how Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. With Elisabeth being filled with the Holy Spirit I would absolutely and without a doubt state that John the Baptist who was growing within her womb would also be filled with the Holy Spirit. Stop and think about the awesome and incredible reality that when Mary came unto the hill country of Judaea and unto the house of Zacharias and Elisabeth she did so that as a result of her coming the word which the angel Gabriel spoke unto Zacharias would be fulfilled and completed.

            The more we examine and study the words found in the gospel narrative written by the physician Luke the more we encounter the stunning truth that it would be when Elisabeth came in contact with, and entered into the presence of the holy One growing inside the womb of Mary that she was filled with the Holy Spirit. It was when the life and child growing inside her womb came in contact with and entered into the presence of the life of the holy One which was growing within the womb of Mary that he too would be filled with the Holy Spirit. You would be hard pressed to try and argue—and even convinced me—that it was most likely in that moment that the child within the womb of Elisabeth not only leapt for joy inside her, but also leapt as a direct result of entering into the presence of the Messiah, and being filled with the Holy Spirit. Stop and think about it for a moment—as Scripture records the angel Gabriel declaring unto Zacharias the child would be filled with the Holy Spirit from the womb of his mother, and that when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary the mother of her Lord the child leapt within her womb. It is truly something utterly remarkable to consider the words found in this particular narrative, for I firmly believe that it was at this particular moment when that which the angel Gabriel had spoken unto Zacharias would be fulfilled. We know the words which Jesus the Christ spoke unto His disciples concerning His going away, and how it was expedient that He go away, for if He did not return unto His Father then then Promise of the Father would not be released. We know that Jesus breathed upon the disciples that they might receive the Holy Ghost as is recorded in the gospels, and we know that on the Day of Pentecost it was Jesus at the right hand of the Father who sent the person and presence of the Holy Spirit into that upper room and filled the one-hundred and twenty which were present there together praying and being united in the Holy Spirit.

            It would be the beloved physician Luke who would write in the New Testament book of Acts concerning the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and would record the words which the apostle Peter spoke on that day, and how what took place on that day would be the direct fulfillment of what the prophet Joel prophesied centuries and generations earlier. We know the New Testament book of Acts is a book that describes in great detail the activity of the Holy Spirit working with and working within the early Church and Christians, however, I am absolutely and completely convinced that we can clearly see in the gospel narrative written by the same author the activity of the person and presence of the Holy Spirit. I am absolutely and completely convinced that if we want to understand the activity of the Holy Spirit in the book of Acts we must needs understand it first in direct connection with the words written and recorded within the gospel narrative of Luke. What’s more, is that just as the Holy Spirit would fill John the Baptist prior to his being brought forth from the womb—thus connecting the concept of birth and the manifestation of the Holy Spirit—so also would the Holy Spirit fill the one-hundred and twenty who were present in the upper room and would bring about the birth of the early Church. When the early Church was conceived and brought forth in the midst of the earth it would also be filled with the Holy Spirit as that upper room where they were all gathered together in one accord might very well be considered a womb. It would be in that upper room—it would be in that womb of the upper room—the Holy Spirit would enter into the midst of it and would completely fill and indwell each of the one-hundred and twenty men and women who were present there. Much like the Holy Spirit would fill Elisabeth when Mary came from Nazareth, and much like John the Baptist would be filled with the Holy Spirit within the womb of Elisabeth at the coming and presence of the Messiah within the womb of Mary, so also would the early Church be filled with the Holy Spirit within the womb of the upper room before it would be brought forth and released into the streets of Jerusalem. It would be there in the womb of the upper room the Holy Spirit would be manifested and would fill and bring about the birth of the early Church, and it would be after the Holy Spirit filled those one-hundred and twenty souls the early Church would be birthed within the earth in the city of Jerusalem.

            Building upon this even further it is absolutely imperative that we recognize and understand the words which the angel Gabriel spoke unto Mary there in Nazareth, for when speaking unto her he would emphatically declare unto her that the Holy Ghost would come upon her, and the power of the Highest would overshadow her, thus allowing her to conceive within her womb the life and person of the Messiah. We must needs recognize and understand this, for just as Mary could not have conceived within her womb the life and person of the Messiah without and apart from the Holy Spirit coming upon her, and the power of the most High overshadowing her, so also would and so also could not the early Church be conceived and brought forth into the earth without and apart from the person and presence of the Holy Spirit. What’s more, is that on the day of Pentecost the early Church—and not only the early Church, but each and every disciple and follower of Jesus the Christ thereafter—would be overshadowed by the most High and would experience the Holy Ghost coming upon and filling them that just as the life of the Messiah was conceived within Mary, so also would the life of Christ begin to be formed within them, and would begin to grow within them. Oh there is not a doubt in my mind that Mary herself is a powerful picture of a reality which must needs be manifested within each and every one of our hearts and lives, for Mary is a powerful picture of those disciples and followers of Jesus the Christ who would be overshadowed by the most High, and those disciples and followers whom the Holy Spirit would come upon and infill that the life of the Messiah might be formed and might grow within them. I am absolutely and completely convinced when reading the words found in the New Testament book of Acts that just as the Holy Spirit would fill John the Baptist in the womb of his mother Elisabeth, so also would the early church be filled with the Holy Spirit within the womb of the upper room. It would be there in the womb of the upper room the Holy Ghost would be poured out and would be manifested in the midst of the one-hundred and twenty disciples who were present therein, and would allow them to conceive within their spirits and within their hearts the life of the Messiah.

            I have to admit that I am absolutely and utterly amazed and fascinated with the fact that within the gospel narrative of Luke—not only do we have the person and presence of the Holy Spirit coming upon Mary to allow her to conceive the life of the Messiah within her womb, but we also find the angel Gabriel declaring unto Zacharias that the child which would be conceived within the womb of Elisabeth would be filled with the Holy Ghost from the womb. What makes this all the more captivating is when you think about and consider the fact that when Mary left Nazareth and came unto the house of Zacharias and Elisabeth in the hill country of Judaea—not only did the babe leap within the womb of Elisabeth, but I would also argue that it was in that moment when Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost that the child growing within her womb was also filled with the Holy Ghost. I cannot help but be drawn and captivated by the fact that this child growing inside her womb—when hearing the voice of Mary the mother of the Lord, and coming into the presence of the life of God growing within her womb—would be filled with the Holy Ghost the very same instant and moment Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost. I firmly believe and would argue that it was in that moment when Elisabeth heard the voice, the greeting and the salutation of Mary the mother of the Lord both child and mother alike were filled with the Holy Spirit, and it was in that moment the word which the angel Gabriel spoke concerning the child would be fulfilled. Six months after being conceived within the womb of Elisabeth the child growing inside her womb would enter into the presence of the Lord, and it would be upon entering into the presence of the Lord that we know definitively that Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost. We know from Scripture that it would be Jesus from the right hand of the Father where He ascended after being raised from the dead would pour out the Holy Spirit upon the one-hundred and twenty who were present in the upper room. We know that Jesus promised unto the disciples that when He returned unto His Father who was in heaven He would send the Promise of the Father, which was the person and presence of the Holy Spirit. We even know from the words which are found in the first chapter of the book of Acts that Jesus declared unto His followers how John the Baptist baptized them with water, but how Jesus Himself would baptize them with the Holy Spirit. What’s more, is that it would be John the Baptist who would emphatically declare that it was the Messiah who would not only baptize men and women with the Holy Ghost, but also with fire. It is necessary for us to recognize and understand this, for I am absolutely and completely convinced that the first evidence and the first manifestation of Jesus releasing the person and presence of the Holy Ghost was in the hill country of Judaea in the house of Zacharias and Elisabeth when Mary showed up.

            I continue to be absolutely and completely convinced that it was necessary for Mary—after she had been visited by the angel Gabriel in the town of Nazareth, and perhaps even after she had conceived by the Holy Ghost the Messiah within her womb—to come unto the hill country of Judaea, and unto the house of Zacharias and Elisabeth, for it would be when and as Mary came unto this house the child growing within the womb of Elisabeth would be filled with the Holy Ghost. If you follow closely the words which the angel Gabriel had spoken unto Zacharias in the Temple, if you follow the narrative of Elisabeth herself being filled with the Holy Ghost, if you follow the account of Jesus promising to send the Promise of the Father, and if you follow the words of Jesus as He declared He would baptize with the Holy Ghost, you can and will undoubtedly come to the conclusion that it was in that moment six months into the pregnancy of Elisabeth that the child would be filled with the Holy Spirit. What’s more, is I would ask you to stop and think about the tremendous reality that it would be there in the hill country of Judaea, and during the sixth month of the pregnancy of Elisabeth John the Baptist would be filled with the Holy Ghost, and there would still be three months left of the pregnancy before the child would actually be brought forth from the midst of the womb. It would during the sixth month of the pregnancy of Elisabeth we find record of her being filled with the Holy Ghost, and you would be hard pressed to try and conceive within your mind that the Holy Ghost would fill Elisabeth and would not also fill the child growing within her womb. What makes this even more remarkable is when you think about and consider the debate about when that which grows within the womb of a woman is actually a life, for six months into the formation of John within the womb of Elisabeth the Holy Ghost would fill her—and not only her, but John the Baptist as well. The angel Gabriel would speak and declare unto Zacharias that the child would be filled with the Holy Ghost from the womb, however, he would not pronounce, nor would he proclaim the exact moment when the child would be filled with the Holy Ghost. The angel Gabriel would merely state the child would be filled with the Holy Ghost from the womb, and we are left to perhaps wonder when and how that would take place. I would strongly contend and argue that it was in this moment when the messenger of the Messiah would encounter the Messiah Himself in the womb, and when Elisabeth would not only be in the presence of the mother of her Lord, but also in the presence of the Lord Himself that both she and the child would be filled with the Holy Ghost.

            I find myself being unable to move past the presence of the Holy Ghost within the New Testament gospel narrative of Luke, for within this gospel—not only do we find the Holy Ghost filling John the Baptist within the womb, but we also find the Holy Ghost filling both of his parents. We find the Holy Ghost filling Elisabeth when the mother of her Lord came unto her home in the hill country of Judaea, and we find the Holy Ghost filling Zacharias after the birth of John when family, friends, and loved ones tried convincing them that they should name the child Zacharias after his father. Elisabeth would declare that the name of the child was to be John, and Zacharias would write on a tablet declaring the name of the child was to be John. It was in that moment when Zacharias would confirm the name of the child that his tongue was loosed, his mouth opened, and his being filled with the Holy Ghost. Elisabeth would be filled with the Holy Ghost three months earlier when Mary the mother of her Lord came unto their home, and Zacharias would be filled with the Holy Ghost after the child had been born and brought forth from the womb. Within the lives of Zacharias, Elisabeth and John the Baptist we find the person, the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit, as it was promised the Holy Spirit would fill the child from the womb, and the Holy Spirit would fill both Zacharias and Elisabeth at two different times. It is impossible to ignore the wonderful and powerful presence and person of the Holy Spirit within the opening chapters of the gospel narrative written by the beloved physician Luke, for there is continued and repeated mention and reference of the activity of the Holy Spirit during those days. From the Holy Spirit coming upon Mary and thus enabling her to conceive within her the life of the Messiah, to John the Baptist being filled with the Holy Spirit from the womb, to Zacharias and Elisabeth being filled with the Holy Spirit we clearly see a wonderful picture of the activity of the Holy Spirit within the lives of these individuals. Moreover, I am absolutely and completely convinced that these encounters with the Holy Spirit would be a powerful sign, picture and portent of future activity of the Holy Spirit which would be found and written in the New Testament book of Acts.

            In all the years I have read the words and language found within the gospel narrative written by Luke I have never seen, nor have I noticed the tremendous amount of activity of the Holy Spirit as I did just recently. More often than not when we think about Luke writing concerning the activity of the Holy Spirit we think of it in terms of what was written in the book of Acts, however, very rarely—if ever—do we consider the gospel narrative of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ as being a powerful picture of the presence, the person and the activity of the Holy Spirit. This is actually quite astonishing and alarming considering within the first four chapters alone we find more than a handful of references concerning the Holy Spirit and His presence and activity surrounding the births of the Messiah and His messenger. We find the angel Gabriel declaring unto Mary that the Holy Ghost would overshadow her, and together with the power of the most High would enable her to conceive and bring forth the Messiah into the world. We know the angel Gabriel would also mention the presence and activity of the Holy Spirit within the life of John the Baptist, as the angel would declare unto Zacharias how the child would be filled with the Holy Spirit from the womb. We also know that the Holy Spirit would fill Elisabeth six months into her pregnancy when she would come into contact with, and would enter into the presence of the mother of her Lord, and the Lord Himself. We know that Zacharias would be filled after pronouncing the name of the child in the hearing and company of all those who were present there when the child was being named. We also know that the person and presence of the Holy Spirit would be present within the life of Simeon, as it would be revealed unto Simeon by the Spirit that he would not taste death until he saw the Lord’s Christ. What’s more, is Simeon would be led by the Holy Spirit on the precise day, and at the precise hour, and at the precise moment Mary and Joseph would bring the Messiah unto the Temple to dedicate Him before and unto the Lord. It is absolutely impossible to read the gospel narrative of Luke and not see the activity of the Holy Spirit all over the births of John the Baptist and Jesus the Christ—and not only all over their births, but also at the baptism of Jesus, surrounding Jesus’ journey into the wilderness where He would be tempted of the devil, and even Jesus’ return unto Galilee form the wilderness when He would come unto His own town of Nazareth.

            What’s more, is that we also find in these opening chapters of the gospel narrative written by Luke the account of John the Baptist speaking unto those who mused within their hearts whether or not he was the Christ, and how John the Baptist would declare unto them that he baptized with water, but there was one mightier than himself who would come—the latchet of whose shoes he was not worthy to unloose—and this One would baptize with the Holy Ghost and with fire. How absolutely astonishing and remarkable it is to read these four chapters and not only consider how the living and eternal God would use dreams to lead individuals during those days, and not only how the Lord would send His angel Gabriel to announce the births of the Messiah and the messenger, but also the tremendous activity of the Holy Spirit who would be present during those days. The Holy Spirit would fill Zacharias, Elisabeth and John the Baptist, and the Holy Spirit would descend upon Jesus as He emerged from the waters of the Jordan in the bodily form of a dove. What’s more, is that John the Baptist would emphatically proclaim and declare how Jesus would baptize with the Holy Ghost and with fire, thus demonstrating a powerful distinction between himself and the Messiah, and his baptism of water and the Christ’s baptism of the Holy Spirit. Not only this, but when you begin reading with and from the opening verse of the fourth chapter of this gospel narrative you will find that Jesus—being full of the Holy Ghost—returned from Jordan, and was immediately led by the Spirit into the wilderness where he would be tempted of the devil. The physician Luke would write how Jesus would return from the Jordan River full of the Spirit, while he would also go on to write how after Jesus overcame the temptation(s) of the devil in the wilderness He would return in the power of the Spirit into Galilee. After His baptism in the Jordan Jesus would return full of the Holy Spirit, and after His temptation in the wilderness He would return in the power of the Spirit.

As I prepare to bring this writing to a close I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the tremendous activity of the Holy Spirit in the gospel narrative of Luke—not only in filling Zacharias, Elisabeth and John the Baptist, but also filling Jesus Himself. It is important for us to note and recognize that even Jesus Himself was filled with the Holy Spirit, and that the Spirit was given unto Him without measure according to the words we find in the gospel narrative written by the apostle John. There is a tremendous presence of the Holy Spirit within the gospel narrative written by Luke, as the Spirit would reveal unto Simeon that he would not taste death until he saw the Lord’s Christ. Not only this, but it would be the Spirit that would lead Simeon unto the Temple of the Lord in the city of Jerusalem at the precise moment Mary and Joseph brought the Messiah unto the Temple to be dedicated unto the Lord. Furthermore, John the Baptist would powerfully speak of and proclaim the person and presence of the Holy Spirit when he declared unto those during that generation how the Messiah would baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire. Once we come to the third chapter of this gospel narrative we find the presence and activity in direct relation and connection to Jesus as the Spirit would descend upon Him in the bodily form of a dove in the waters of the Jordan, and will in turn fill Him in that moment. Jesus would emerge from the waters of the Jordan full of the Holy Spirit, and it would be that same Spirit which would lead Him into the wilderness where He would be tempted of the devil—a reality that is actually quite wonderful when you think about the fact that the Spirit would not descend upon Jesus, nor would the Spirit fill Jesus, and then lead Him into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil to leave Him to face the temptation alone. What we must recognize and understand concerning the presence and activity of the Holy Spirit is that the Holy Spirit would fill Jesus at the time of His baptism in the waters of the Jordan, and when Jesus would emerge from the wilderness after being tempted of the Spirit He would return unto Galilee in the power of the Spirit. It would be John the Baptist who would connect the Spirit with fire, and it would be here Luke would connect the Holy Spirit with power, thus we see a glorious and powerful picture of the Holy Spirit producing fire and power within the lives of those He fills, inhabits and dwells within. I am absolutely and completely convinced that if we want to truly understand the activity of the Holy Spirit—particularly and specifically during the days of the New Covenant—we must needs look at an examine the gospel narrative of Luke, for it is in this gospel Luke introduces us to the person, the presence and activity of the Holy Spirit. Perhaps the single greatest question we must ask ourselves—and a question I leave you with—is how active and how involved is the Holy Spirit within your life. How active is the person and presence of the Holy Spirit within your life, and is the Holy Spirit able to fill you, able to speak to you, able to lead you, able to direct you, and able to govern your life within this generation.

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