descended from Aaron, the first high priest, and the wife of the priest
Zechariah. Their great sorrow was not having any children. Now they were
well beyond their child-bearing years. Because she remained barren in spite
of all their prayers to God, Elizabeth may have thought she had failed
to please God.* Even so, she and Zechariah
continued to trust and observe “all the Lord’s commandments and regulations
One day, Zechariah was serving as a priest in the temple in Jerusalem, burning incense according to the temple regulations. He was startled when the angel Gabriel appeared next to the altar of incense and spoke to him. He was more than startled; he was worried and “fear took possession of him.” (Luke 1:12, Amplified Version.)
Gabriel assured him he had come to bring Zechariah good news. God had heard their prayers and Elizabeth would conceive and give birth to a son. The child would be filled with the Spirit “even in and from his mother’s womb.” (Luke 1:15, Amplified Version.) Zechariah’s response revealed that he doubted that God would or could cause Elizabeth to conceive. After all, he and his wife were too old to have children.
Since Zechariah did not believe, he would not be able speak until after his son was born and named John. Zechariah completed his tour of duty at the temple and then returned to the hill country of Judea with Elizabeth.
When Elizabeth was six months into her miraculous pregnancy, she had a visit from her cousin, Mary of Nazareth. She felt the baby leap in her womb and she 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. Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!” (Luke 1: 42-45, NIV)
Mary stayed with Elizabeth through the last three months of Elizabeth’s pregnancy.
On the eighth day after the birth, her neighbors and relatives came to circumcise and name the child. Elizabeth objected when they wanted to name him Zechariah, “No! He is to be called John.”
Surely not; no one in the family was named John. They turned to Zechariah and made signs to him to find out what name he wanted. As soon as he wrote on a tablet, “His name is John,” he became able to speak again. Then Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied.
The Holy Spirit had filled each member of this family of three. Each had a message from God. The baby leaped for joy in his mother’s womb and matured into a prophet who was strong in spirit. His father Zechariah foretold the work John would do to prepare for the salvation God had promised. Elizabeth by the Spirit recognized that the baby in Mary’s womb was her Lord. **
God filled them with his Spirit for a purpose. Each Christian is encouraged to be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18.) Being filled with the Spirit is a choice we make, but God fills people so they can do his work, speak his message, and honor God in thanksgiving and telling others of his greatness.
*Manners & Customs of Bible Lands by Fred H. Wight, page 107, Copyright, 1053, by The Moody Bible Institute of Chicago, “Sterility in marriage was considered to be a divine visitation or curse. Hannah’s barrenness was ‘because the LORD had shut up her womb’ (I Samuel 1:6). To have a child after being a long time barren, as was the case of Elisabeth, meant the Lord had taken away her reproach among men (Luke 1:25).”
same Greek word is translated Lord in Matthew 22:44, which quotes Psalm
110:1, and in Luke 1:43. Matthew used the Greek word kurios to translate
the Hebrew words YHVH and adon from Psalm 110:1. This author believes Luke
(in quoting Elizabeth) uses the Greek word “kurios”, which is translated
Lord, to refer to God in the same way Matthew did.
For the Scripture References and related Bible Study Guide, go to Bible Study Guide: Filled with the Spirit.