January 22, 2023 | 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)
Few passages in the Bible fill me with as much emotion as this area of Scripture. Imagine the scene with me for a moment . . . As soon as the angel Gabriel pronounced to Mary the amazing, miraculous, world-changing news that she’d give birth to the long-awaited Messiah, she started packing up to go visit her cousin Elizabeth, whom the angel told Mary was also pregnant.
A few days later, she arrived and greeted her cousin. And 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 Mary’s 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 never like this. This was womb worship! It was like when David in 2 Samuel 6:14 (NLT) “danced before the Lord with all his might,” only this time it took place in Elizabeth’s belly! In that moment, through the power of the Holy Spirit, she recognized the leaping occurred because she was in the presence of the Lord, the Son of God, the Messiah and Redeemer. The thrill of hope the very whole of creation had longed for was right there with them. And it caused John, and in turn Elizabeth, to rejoice!
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 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 the Holy Spirit revealed to her that the Savior of the world was in her cousin’s womb? 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’s a joy beyond description when we experience the presence of Jesus. There’s a fullness, a peace, and 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’s nothing else like it in all the world!
As believers, we get to live in this reality every single day. I pray 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.
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 the light of Christ brightest, so everyone we encounter may “see [our] good deeds and glorify [our] Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16 NIV).
Pause: Why did John kick and leap in Elizabeth’s womb the way he did when Mary arrived? What lesson can we take from this exchange?
Practice: Just like Mary did during her pregnancy, we carry the presence of God within us everywhere we go, enabling us to share the light, love, and peace of Jesus with everyone we come into contact with. We carry the glorious gift of God inside of us, a gift we’ve all been called to share with the world! 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 or hear your voice? Is the tangible presence of the Lord within you evident to them?
Pray: Father, help me to shine the light of Jesus and bring the hope of Jesus everywhere I go, that those who are weary may come to rejoice and praise His holy name! Fill me daily with the Spirit and empower me to be Your ambassador to those around me. Amen.
Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.