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January 16, 2022 | Doug Sauder
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“A few days later Mary hurried to the hill country of Judea, to the town where Zechariah lived. She entered the house and greeted Elizabeth. At the sound of Mary’s greeting, Elizabeth’s child leaped within her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Elizabeth gave a glad cry and exclaimed to Mary, ‘God has blessed you above all women, and your child is blessed. Why am I so honored, that the mother of my Lord should visit me? When I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy. You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said.’”—Luke 1:39–45 (NLT)
There’s a great song by Bryan and Katie Torwalt with lyrics that say, “When You walk into the room, everything changes; darkness starts to tremble at the light that You bring. And when You walk into the room every heart starts burning and nothing matters more than just to sit here at Your feet and worship You.”
Few passages in the Bible fill me with as much emotion as this area of Scripture in Luke 1. Imagine the scene with me for a moment . . . As soon as the angel Gabriel pronounced to Mary the amazing, miraculous, world-changing news that the long-awaited Messiah was to be born through her, she started packing up to go visit her cousin Elizabeth, whom the angel had informed Mary was also pregnant.
A few days later, she arrived and greeted her cousin, most likely with the customary “Peace be with you.” And as soon as she walked into the room, as soon as Mary’s voice reached Elizabeth’s ears, something miraculous and amazing happened: The baby in her belly “jumped for joy” in her womb. Just at the sound of her voice, the unborn John who would one day baptize the unborn Jesus, leaped within her. Isn’t that amazing?
Regarding this, theologian Matthew Poole noted, “The motion of the child in the womb of the mother . . . is no unusual thing . . . but doubtless this motion was more than ordinary.” It’s likely that Elizabeth had felt John kicking or moving around in her womb before, but not like this, never like this.
The This was womb worship; it was like David in 2 Samuel 6:14 (NLT), who “danced before the Lord with all his might,” but it took place in Elizabeth’s belly! In that moment, she immediately through the Holy Spirit recognized the cause of the leaping. She knew she was in the presence of the Lord, the Son of God, the Messiah and Redeemer.
And so, she excitedly exclaimed, “Why am I so honored, that the mother of my Lord should visit me?” I love how the New English Translation (NET, emphasis added) of the Bible translates this verse: “And who am I that the mother of my Lord should come and visit me?”
Every time I read this exchange, I’m moved to tears. Can you imagine the feeling Elizabeth must have felt when she realized whose presence she was in, when the Holy Spirit revealed to her It’s Him, He’s here; your Savior and Lord is here in the womb of your cousin!? I’m reminded of Simeon, who, upon seeing Jesus, had the honor of holding the newborn Messiah in his arms, and said, “For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations” (Luke 2:30–31 NIV).
There is a joy beyond description when we experience the presence of Jesus. There is fullness, a peace, an excitement that causes us to break out into celebration and pure, unabashed praise. Chains are broken, scales are removed, healing happens, darkness flees, and the weary find rest. There is nothing else like it in all the world! As believers, we get to live in this reality every single day.
I pray that each and every one of us remember this; that we never lose the wonder, awe, and joy of living every moment in the presence of the Lord through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit that is within us. I pray we never take His presence for granted and that we continually, daily receive a fresh filling of His Spirit.
Just like Mary did during her pregnancy, we carry the presence of God within us everywhere we go. We carry the perfect gift of God inside us, a gift we’ve all been commissioned to share with the world around us! So, what are you doing with it? What is it like when you walk into a room? How do people react when they encounter you, when they hear your voice? Is the tangible presence of the Lord within you evident to them? Is the light of the world shining through your life or have you covered and hidden it?
Friends, as we approach Christmas, a holiday where festive lights fill our cities, I pray that we who carry the presence of the Redeemer within us would shine Christ’s light the brightest, so “that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16 NIV).