Luke 1:39-45 10 Responses to Being Filled With The Spirit


We often hear about being filled with the Spirit. We don’t want to confuse that will having some kind of an ecstatic experience where we lose control of our body and flail around on the ground. There’s no work of God like that in the Scriptures. Neither is being filled with the Spirit a mystical experience reserved only for the prophets. Above all we do not want to ignore what it means to have God working in and through us in the power and presence of His Spirit.
It is a vital doctrine that when a sinner comes to God and repents of sin, believing in Jesus Christ that as that person turns from sinner to saint, he is forgiven by God and at that moment the Spirit of God comes and dwells within them. Every Believer in Jesus Christ has God’s Spirit living in them. Being filled with the Spirit is a way of describing not only the active leading of God in us, but the active obedience of us to God.
In this passage and beyond I want you to notice three specific Spirit filling events. First of all, The unborn Baby John the Baptist is filled with the Spirit (Luke 1:15); Second then Elizabeth His mother is filled with the Spirit (Luke 1:41) and finally, in a section we hope to look to next week, Mary the Mother of Jesus is filled with the Spirit (1:46ff) and erupts in spontaneous song.
As Christians we are spirit filled people, because the Spirit of God is in you and I. But what difference does it make? While it isn’t the scope of this morning’s message to uncover all that is meant regarding the Spirit filled life, I do want us to turn to Luke 1:39-45 and to witness in this greeting 10 responses to being filled with the Spirit. Please turn to and read with me, Luke 1:39-45.
When Mary hears from Gabriel that she has been graciously chosen by God to bear the Son of God, the savior of Israel, she submits herself to obedience as God’s slave. And as Faith that is true faith gives way to action, at this time: Mary who has faithfully pledged herself to obey the Lord’s design does not waste any time, she immediately launches into action. She get’s up and rushes to the home of Zacharias and Elizabeth.
The journey on relatively unsafe roads by foot would have covered perhaps up to 90 miles, and taken at least five days if not longer due to the terrain.1 It’s very doubtful to me that Mary would have made the journey alone, or that her Father would have permitted it without some form of security going with her, probably he himself. The contract time of the betrothal brought the bride to be into seclusion in her home until she entered the bridal chamber.2
When Mary enters the home of Zacharias and Elizabeth she calls out a greeting, just as you and I would, a simple “Shalom Elizabeth!” would have been adequate as the two women embraced. At that moment in time, the baby John the baptist makes a sudden movement. Gabriel had promised (v16) that he would be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mothers womb and here that prophecy comes true and is interpreted for us by Elizabeth in verse 44. I want you to notice what happens because the unborn John is Spirit filled.

1. He recognizes God’s work.

He responds to Mary’s voice, which means he recognizes God’s work of redemption through her. By the sixth month of conception, a child already is completely formed with all of it’s nerves and is merely increasing in size and maturity, completing certain already formed organs and systems.
But something else is happening here: when God’s Spirit is in you, guiding and directing you, you will recognize The work of God. Romans 12 states that as we are renewed in our minds, we will be able to recognize and approve the will of God. And with the Spirit empowering you, you will be able to see the hand of God at work.

2. He Responds to God’s work.

Not to put to fine a point on it but back up just a moment to see that he not only recognizes God’s work of redemption, but he responds to the redemptive work of God through Mary. The scriptures say that nobody seeks after God, nobody. In fact unless God draws a person they will not come to Jesus. That same principle continues for the Christian who has come to God. A Spirit filled believer will not only recognize God’s work, but he or she will respond to it. And it won’t be a grudging response either.

3. He responds with JOY to God’s work.

All the unborn infant John can do is jump. Elizabeth reveals to Mary in v44 that the movement is no mere infant movement, but instead is interpreted as a jump for Joy. Also if you look ahead and you see both Elizabeth’s reaction and Mary’s reaction, when they are filled with God’s Spirit they respond with Joy.
Obedience and walking with the Lord is not a burden for us as Christians. His yoke is easy, his burden is light. He calls us to serve Him, and equips us for the task, giving us everything we need and empowering us with His Spirit to serve Him with Joy.
If in your labor for God you’ve lost your joy, it is because you are not being lead by the Spirit of God, but by your own flesh. If you want the joy of the Lord back, than seek after a fresh filling of God’s Spirit in earnest prayer.

4. Elizabeth Honor’s God’s servant

Elizabeth in her turn is also now filled with the Holy Spirit. Through the Spirit of God indwelling and instructing her she understands the reason for her baby’s sudden movement as well as discerning that Mary is both pregnant and even more so the true significance of the pregnancy. The Spirit at work in Elizabeth creates something of an ecstatic utterance. She cries out with a loud voice, and that phrasing is frequently used of prophets crying out the message of God.
In middle eastern culture, it would be normal for the guest to honor the host, and for the young to honor the aged. Keep in mind that Elizabeth is an old woman, past child-bearing years, and Mary is likely a girl in her young teens. But the tables are turned with the baby leaps within her womb and she is filled by the Spirit of God. The Older blesses the younger, the host blesses the guest because God has made Mary more significant in choosing her, therefore Elizabeth recognizes that in her.
The term “blessed” here is different from the one used by Jesus in the sermon on the mount, there Blessed speaks of the state of the one blessed in terms of happiness. But here “blessed” means “celebrated with praises”. When Mary enters and speaks, Elizabeth full of the Spirit honor’s God’s servant.
A spirit filled believer will give honor to God’s servants. Because she also gives honor to God.

5. She bestows honor on Christ.

The holy Spirit’s task is to point people to Jesus. That’s what God’s Spirit does here in Elizabeth, he directs her to the baby in Mary’s womb, and she glorifies him also calling him “blessed”.

6. She confirms the work of God.

Elizabeth blesses Mary, and she blesses the infant Christ. But what she also does is to confirm that Mary is now pregnant in a type of answer to the Angel’s statement to Mary that she would conceive. Until this moment, we have no idea that the conception has already taken place.
It is more than likely at this point that Mary didn’t even know she was actually pregnant yet – but that doesn’t matter. For God directed the words of Elizabeth as she spoke, and that is what happens when the Spirit fills you – God directs also your speech and life to line up with His plans for you.

7. She responds with Humility.

There is another component happening here in this exchange, we’ve already alluded to it when we saw that God has reversed the normal flow, the older is blessing the younger, and the host is blessing the guest. But beyond the exchange of roles, there’s something more than humility on the human level, there is humility from Elizabeth to God.
In a statement that sounds a lot like King David’s fearful request, “how can the the ark ever come to me?” Elizabeth, I think with fear and trembling, asks how it is, that the Mother of her Lord should come to her. Her humility here is due to the Holy Spirit within her. When God is in you, pride is far away. We may be servants of the Living God but we are servants by definition and therefore humble.
She asked Why the Mother of her Lord should visit her, again, Like her son she recognizes the work of God. But notice something else….

8. She submits to Jesus as her Lord.

By calling Mary the “mother of [her] Lord” she is recognizing the Lordship of Jesus Christ even before He is born. If you consider for a moment the words of 1 Corinthians 12:3
Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus is accursed”; and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit. ” (1 Corinthians 12:3, NASB95)
we see that no one call accept Jesus as Lord apart from the Holy Spirit.
In terms of the identity of Jesus Christ (Christology) this is an important verse. Some cults teach that Jesus Christ did not become the son of God until at some point in the future like his baptism or the cross, or that he somehow became deity. But the lesson here is clear, even in the womb – at what appears to be the earliest stage of gestation, Jesus is Lord even as a fetus.
Coming around again to Elizabeth we see in this passage that Being Spirit filled has brought her to submitting to Jesus as Lord. So here’s the lesson: A Spirit filled believer will submit to Jesus’ Lordship.
Finally at the close of this greeting Elizabeth changes the term used for blessed. The first instance in verse 42 is about speaking well of Mary and of the unborn Jesus. But here the word is the same one used in the beatitudes which start the sermon on the mount. This term is more akin to “happy” and is “spoken over those who are judged to possess what is necessary for a joyful life and especially over those who are the recipients of God’s gift of redemption. While the basis of the former “blessing” was Mary’s motherhood and, thus, signal role in the realization of God’s purpose, here she is declared fortunate because of her faith.”3
Mary is Blessed, happy, joyful the recipient of the Joy of the Lord because she believed, but it is the subject of what she believed that I want to end with.

9. She emphasizes faith grounded in the promise of God.

Elizabeth, as a spirit filled individual centers in on the faith of Mary, but ties it distinctly to the promise of God. The Lord had spoken a promise, and beginning with that promise, Mary’s faith had sprung up.
Mary then in her turn responds to Elizabeth with a spirit filled song of praise which we will hope to look into next week. In fact it is Mary’s worship that comprises the 10th result of being Spirit filled in this list.

10. A Spirit Filled believer will Worship God with Love

For now let us consider these points of application.
1. Have you, like Mary believed the promise of the Lord to send a savior through her. In other words have you confessed a personal life changing faith in Jesus Christ the son of God?
2. Are you living in the fullness of the Spirit of God? If you are then you will recognize and respond with Joy to God’s redemptive work. You will Honor other servants of God, and will above all honor God the Father, God the Spirit and God the Son, Jesus Christ. If you’re full of the Spirit will you be humble before both God and man, and submissive to God your Lord. Being Spirit Filled, you will also be faith filled and grounded in the words of God, worshiping with a Spirit powered love.
Does this describe you?
I urge you today, to put faith in these words of Christ to his disciples,
If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” (Luke 11:13, NASB95)
As a disciple of Christ, do you want to seek the Gift of the Filling of the Holy Spirit?
There is nothing mystical about it. It is the reality of every believer that God himself in the Spirit lives inside of them. But being spirit filled is the same as being obedient to the Leading of God’s spirit within you. Will you then ask the Father to fill you fresh with His Spirit, that is to guide, direct and transform you with His Spirit and will you submit to God’s Spirit’s leading then?
Humble yourself before Him, and be filled with God’s Spirit.

1As
the Roman road system was not extended to Palestine until late in
the 1st century AD, such internal travel would have been on the
older road system (IEJ 1, 1950, pp. 54ff.).D. R. W. Wood and I.
Howard Marshall, New Bible Dictionary, 3rd ed. (Leicester, England;
Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1996), 1201.

2Joel
B. Green, The Gospel of Luke, The New International Commentary on
the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.,
1997), 95.

3Joel
B. Green, The Gospel of Luke, The New International Commentary on
the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.,
1997), 96.