Read: Luke 1:39-45
And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. (v. 41)
Pentecost gets all the attention in terms of the outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit. Certainly that was a momentous day. But God’s Spirit fell upon people all through the Old Testament as well. Also, at the end of John’s Gospel on the evening of that first Easter, Jesus breathed the Holy Spirit onto the disciples. The Spirit has been incessantly active, even at the dawn of creation when the Spirit of God brooded over the primordial waters in Genesis 1.
Still, it is striking that in the New Testament the first person ever to be described as being filled with the Holy Spirit is Elizabeth. Not only is it noteworthy that it was a woman to receive this first New Testament filling of the Spirit, but it is also remarkable to see the same thing we pondered yesterday: God is moving among the least likely of people. It was not the leaders of the scribes and Pharisees to receive the Spirit. It was Elizabeth. It was not the members of the Jewish Sanhedrin upon whom the Spirit fell. It was Elizabeth. This is another powerful testimony to how God operates.
The leaping of the fetus in Elizabeth’s womb is also a wonderful addition to this story. In paintings, John the Baptist is always depicted as pointing a very long index finger in the direction of Jesus. That was John’s job: to point to Jesus. But here, through the Spirit, John points to Jesus for the first time from inside a womb! That is simply amazing! —Scott Hoezee
As you pray, thank God for the coming of God’s Spirit.
About the Author
Scott Hoezee is an ordained pastor in the Christian Reformed Church of North America. He served two Michigan congregations from 1990-2005 and since 2005 has been a faculty member at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he serves chiefly as the Director of The Center for Excellence in Preaching. He is the author of several books, including most recently Why We Listen to Sermons (Calvin Press 2019) and is the co-host of the “Groundwork” radio program.