Early Christmas Presence - Day 8
Early Christmas Presence
~John the Baptist~
Early Christmas Presence: The Presence of Jesus activated the anointing of John the Baptist.
Luke 1:41-44 (NIV)— When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.”
What’s in a leap?
How can God’s glory, plan and presence be confirmed among two in the wombs of mere women?
You read those questions correctly.
Today’s devotional is looking exclusively at the two verses that describe John the Baptist as “leaping for joy” in his mother’s womb, when the presence of Jesus (in His mother’s womb) entered the scene.
To understand the scene in the verses above you have to understand the call on John the Baptist’s life. His call was to go before the Lord to prepare His way (Luke 1:76); to give knowledge of salvation to His people (Luke 1:77).
When Zechariah, John the Baptist’s father, received news from an angel about his son— this was the description:
11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12 When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. 13 But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. 14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. 16 He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” (Luke 1:11-17)
The angel of the Lord is speaking to partial fulfillment of a prophecy written four hundred years prior in the Old Testament book of Malachi 4.
5 “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. 6 And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers...” (Malachi 4:5-6)
A few verses earlier in the Malachi 4 it says, “the SUN of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings, and you shall go out leaping like calves from the stall.” (a reference to Jesus as the “Sun of righteousness”)
I believe this is exactly what was happening as John the Baptist leaped in joy at the presence of the Lord. He knew that the fullness of joy had arrived and everything was going to change.
John the Baptist had divine purpose, even from the womb, to make known the way of the Lord when the “sunrise visits from on high” (Luke 1:78) and to “make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Luke 1:17)
So, when the Jesus showed up in proximity — John leaped for joy and THEN his mother was filled with the Spirit and confessed Jesus as Lord (see Devo on Elizabeth in this series for more info).
The presence of Jesus activated the anointing and calling on John the Baptist’s life; John the Baptist bore witness first to his own mother about the presence of a Savior soon to arrive—she was a person prepared for the Lord.
The testimony of John the Baptist was “Jesus is coming;” the testimony of our lives is “Jesus came,” and our lives are changed.
What is the testimony of what Jesus has done in your life?
Does your life create pathways for people to know the Lord?
How does it make you feel to consider that even from the womb God has plans for His children?