Filled with the Holy Spirit – Luke 1:39-45 ESV, Rob Harlan, Teaching Team

Filled with the Holy Spirit Luke 1:39-45

Context: 

Luke 1:35-38 “35 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born[e] will be called holy—the Son of God. 36 And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38 And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant[f] of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.”  

The context is an astounding angelic visitation.  BUT, there is a catch -she is the opposite of Zachariah – he is a man, a priest, and very old.  She is a woman, not in a priestly family or the right tribe – and not in the right region, and she is YOUNG. How is anyone going to believe that SHE saw an angel?  She is pregnant out of wedlock, and so an ANGLE told her that would happen? Not so believable. 

Luke 1:39-45 ““39 In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, 40 and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. 41 And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, 42 and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.””

  1. V 39-40 “39 In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, 40 and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.”
    1. Mary goes to Elizabeth- Why? Who is she with?  How does she travel?  The text does not say.
    2. We read in Lev 20:10 that a man or woman committing adultery were to be stoned.  The news may have sounded like a death sentence. One reason that Mary goes perhaps is to avoid what she knows could be a life-threatening situation.
    3. If only Mary had heard this news before the betrothal.  Then getting pregnant, though a scandal, would have not been a life-threatening issue according to the Word of God.  God’s timing sometimes seems like the worst timing in the world, but then how would he build our faith? 
  1. V 41 “41 And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit,”
    1. At this point in the Bible, this term of being “filled” with the Holy Spirit is rare, though we know that there were individuals that had empowering anointings of the Holy Spirit for specific tasks. We have Moses, Joshua, and many others who are said to have had the Spirit of the Lord “come upon them.”
    2. Exodus 31:1-3 – in this passage we have a discussion of how the tabernacle and articles of worship were designed and crafted and we are told of a man named Bezalel who was FILLED with the Spirit of God to take on the great task of making ark of the covenant and all the objects of worship – 
    3. Bezalel had been a slave, but now he was working for God Himself and even though he had the exact measurements, he needed the inspiration, the strength to complete the task. – THIS is the only other place in the Bible up to this point that someone is said to have been FILLED with the Holy Spirit. 
    4. Others were given power from the Spirt – Moses complained that carrying the burden of leadership alone was too hard.  God anointed others and 70 men had the Spirit come upon them and they prophesied in Numbers 11:16-30 – but the passage is careful to note that they NEVER prophesied again.  TEMPORARY.
    5. The baby leaps inside Elizabeth – and Elizabeth is able to interpret the behavior of her unborn baby because she herself is FILLED with the Holy Spirit. 
    6. This is the first person in the timeline of the New Testament to be filled with the Holy Spirit – 
    7. It is a sign at this point – that the person who just entered the house is someone very important.  It is a sign that this is someone who is important to redemptive history. 
    8. It is not a seal, not a promise, and not something that will last, just a sign. It was for a particular person at a particular moment for a particular task.  
    9. That task here was to be a sign to Mary and to the world to Mary’s roll in redemptive history, foreshadowing that she would be the mother of the incarnation of God Himself.  
  1. V 42-45 “42 and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”
    1. Here it is speaking ability, but it can be any ability the Spirit wants to impart for His purposes. As we saw in Exodus 31:1-3, and when David was a boy, and he was anointed by Samuel, it says that the Spirit came upon him MIGHTILY 1 Samuel 16:13, and they very next chapter David is facing down Goliath. 
    2. Look at the results of being filled!  Ability!  Energy! 
    3. She exclaimed in a LOUD CRY.  It was time to announce the coming of the great King.  The Messiah.  God in flesh. 
    4. She starts by focusing on how BLESSED Mary is.  Mary has the privilege of carrying the very God of creation in her womb.  Mary was chosen out of the millions down through the ages to carry this pregnancy. 
    5. She then focuses briefly on the mystery of Christ.  She hints that the baby she is carrying is not only blessed, but the LORD.   
    6. Look at the WAY she confesses this with such gratefulness and humility  to confess that she is not even worthy for Mary to come into her house! Elizabeth is an old woman, and daughter and decedent of the priestly line of Aaron and married to a priest – it means nothing. Nothing compared what just walked through the door of her house. 
    7. Notice the words of knowledge she is given – she knows that the baby was not just kicking or turning over her in her womb, she KNOWS that the baby was leaping for joy. 
    8. Look at what else she knows about Mary – she knows that she has been told that this and that Mary responded in FAITH. It’s like Elizabeth knows everything that happened, even down to the secret thoughts and intentions of the heart.  She knows that Mary was promised that she would be the mother of the Lord and even that Mary had responded in faith. 

Application

  1. Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, are you?  We see the power, insight, boldness, and knowledge this brought to Elizabeth in this moment, but what would it mean for you?  
    1. Can you be filled with the Holy Spirit, like Elizabeth was? Well, in an old testament context and had no promise of the filling of the Holy Spirit – and it may have never happened again in her life.  How much more us – also, We  were promised the Holy Spirit by Christ.  
    2. John 16:7 “Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.” What is he talking about?  Look at verse 13-14 “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.”
    3. The Spirit of Truth is the Holy Spirit, and look at what He is doing – he is doing just what He empowered Elizabeth to do – 1) he declares the things that are to come (mother of my Lord) and 2) glorify Christ (blessed is the fruit of your womb) and 3) she declares that to the people of God – with a loud voice.  
    4. Ephesians chapter 5 goes so far as to command that we be FILLED with the Spirit.  
    5. How do you walk in this blessing? If you notice that in Ephesians 5:18, this is a PASSIVE voice, that is, you don’t do it, God does.  1) Ask for the filling 2) Thanking the Lord for the promise of the Holy Spirit and claiming in Jesus’s name in FAITH.  3) Turning from you sins in repentance because it is those things that grieve the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 4:30 “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”
    6. You can’t lose the Holy Spirit, but you can lose the filling.  1 Thessalonians 5:19 “Do not quench the Spirit.” The word quench here has the idea of extinguishing a fire. 
    7. You can have what Elisabeth had, but You can lose what Elisabeth had – You can lose the power and the influence that the Spirit gives – the comfort, the encouragement, and the empowering, 
    8. Think of the privilege of this.  The Holy Spirit was on Elizabeth and yet she had no promise of it ever filling her again.  That was just the time she lived in, but we live now. 
    9. You lose this, not because He is leaving you, but because you are leaving HIM.  We are so prone to wander that the filling is a DAILY thing – the tense for “be filled” in Eph 5 is a present, passive, and imperative
    10. What would you do to have the filling of the Holy Spirit?  That is a question I’ve been asking myself, because there MAY be things that need to go in your life if you are going to receive the Spirit in its fullness. 
  1. What would you expect if you were filled with the Holy Spirit?  What might that look like? 
    1. Boldness, notice that “Loud cry” – do you have a lack of boldness?  Do you lack courage?  One of the marks of being filled with the Holy Spirit is declarations of truth in boldness.  You see this through the book of Acts when people are touched by the Holy Spirit – this is what amazes the Pharisees when they see Peter and John and the boldness they have.  Acts 4:13 “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished.” 
    2. Being a blessing – “Blessed are you among women” – all this speech is filled with grace. Elisabeth is a blessing and encouragement to others. It is not always clear on how to be a blessing to others. If you want to be a blessing to others, be filled with the Spirit. 
      1. Here this woman comes to her from a situation that involves a pregnancy from outside her marriage.  This is adultery in the eyes of her husband.  What would you say?  
      2. Notice how she is focused on the blessing that this is and how honored she is to see her.  You know that sometimes just saying that you are glad to see someone is a blessing enough to get your mind of the hard times
      3. But she goes beyond to focus on the Spiritual side but in a way that is not insensitive but rather encouraging. If you are filled with the Spirit you will know what to say and how to say it.  You may even have an insight that is supernatural as you see here. You can’t do this without the help of the Holy Spirit. 
    3. Humility – notice there is no jealously or pride or spirit of competition here.  “Why is it granted to me that the mother of my Lord should visit me?” She is grateful and humble. 
      1. She isn’t like, “Well, but you’re not the only miracle girl in town, I’m like 70 years old and pregnant and my husband saw an angel – the in TEMPLE.” 
      2. Elizabeth knows through the Spirit her place, which is a lesser calling than Mary and she responds to that with an expression that she felt HONORED to even be in the Presence of Mary. If you are filled with the Spirit you will consider others as more important than yourself – Philippians 2:3. 
  1. We are to have FAITH: When we are told something in God’s word, we are to respond with faith.  
    1. Do we believe that we are set free from sin, or do we believe that there are sins we just can’t stop doing? Do we believe that we are complete in Christ, or are we trying to earn God’s favor by following lists of do’s and don’ts?  Are we stepping out in faith in ministry, or are bowing to fear and staying in our comfort zones?  Are we trusting God and taking Him at His word in obedience, or are we walking to our OWN understanding and disobeying God because that makes more sense to us?  
    2. Mary was one “who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”  
    3. Is there a promise that God has given to you, that He has revealed to your Spirit, perhaps some call to something that would be a death sentence to you?  Is He calling you?  Look at the example of Mary who said, “Behold, I am the servant[f] of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”
    4. Salvation – it is really a death sentence, with just salvation because we die to self and many of us feel that from the get go because we see that we will lose all of our relationships if we turn to Christ. 
    5. It was faith that caused Mary to, after leaving the house of Elizabeth, turn around and return to Nazareth to fulfill her ministry and it is faith that will be used by God to give US the strength to apply ourselves to what God wants us to do and fulfill our ministry, whatever it is.