Christmas has come and gone, but the power of Jesus’ presence remains! In fact, His power was made known even before His birth. Over the next few days we’ll take a look at the months leading up to Jesus’ birth to discover the impact of His presence, even in us today.
At this time of year, we typically focus on the Christmas story as reported in Luke 2. But the story doesn’t begin in chapter 2, so let’s go back to chapter 1 where we find the angel, Gabriel, foretelling the birth of John the Baptist (whose mother was Elizabeth) and Jesus (whose mother was Mary). Following the announcements, Mary went to visit her cousin, Elizabeth. Hear is the account of that visit:
Now at this time Mary arose and went in a hurry to the hill country, to a city of Judah, and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. And she cried out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And how has it happened to me, that the mother of my Lord would come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord.”
Looking back at Gabriel’s visit to Zacharias (Elizabeth’s husband) even before Mary’s visit, let’s begin to examine the circumstances that reveal the power of Jesus’ presence. Zacharias was a priest, serving in the Temple. Luke 1:6 tells us both Zacharias and Elizabeth were righteous in the sight of God, but Elizabeth was barren and in advanced years. Nonetheless, Gabriel, the messenger angel, appeared to Zacharias, announcing Elizabeth would bear a son.
Can you imagine the scene? Verse 13 says “…your petition has been heard.” Apparently, Zacharias and Elizabeth had prayed fervently for a child, yet odds seemed slim as child-bearing years slipped away. But what joy awaited!
The angel also promised that Zacharias’ son would be great in the sight of the Lord and would be filled with the Holy Spirit, even while in his mother’s womb. It was in that promise that the power of Jesus’ presence became known!
We find, in verse 41 that, upon Mary’s visit, the baby leaped in Elizabeth’s womb. (That baby was John the Baptist, a forerunner of Jesus.) It is not unusual for babies to move in a mother’s womb, so what made this occurrence different? What made the baby “leap in the womb?” Take some time today to read Luke 1. Ponder the fact that Elizabeth was barren and beyond typical child-bearing age. Then ponder that “leap in the womb” in light of the power of Jesus’ presence.
We’ll dig deeper tomorrow…and it’s going to get interesting, so be sure to check in then!