Receiving or Rejecting Him
It has always been interesting to me that John, who would be known as John the Baptist, leapt in his mother’s womb when Mary, carrying Jesus, came near. We are all familiar with spiritual sensitivity, where some individuals seem to have a much higher ability to sense the presence of the Holy Spirit in the area. This, however, is to a much higher level where a 6-month old fetus is responding to His presence. God’s favor was resting on Mary and He was filling her womb. God Himself.
Elizabeth, herself, was recorded to be filled with the Holy Spirit in that same moment. Surely, everyone who got near to Mary and her child should have responded in kind. God was among them, even then. Some encountered Him, as they were rewarded for watching for Him or looking for Him. This included the secular wise men or magi, and Anna and Simeon, later. The shepherds got to watch the magnificent display as the angels lit up the night sky with His holy introduction. They got to meet Him early on, as well.
You know who didn’t? The religious. Those who thought they already knew exactly what God was going to do. They thought they had figured out how the Messiah would show up. They couldn’t comprehend or accept anything other than what they had decided it looked like. The others who had a hard time with Jesus coming like He did were the governing leaders. Herod felt threatened by this infant. He felt the entirety of his kingdom being lost to the One whose Kingdom had just come to earth. This would be a pattern for future government leaders.
Think about that for a minute. The ordinary, humble, seeking people recognized Jesus and responded to the Holy Spirit with Him. The religious and government leaders rejected Him and persecuted Him throughout His life. They persecuted His followers, as well. Ask yourself, “Has anything changed?”
Mary prophesied it all in the magnificat:
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant.
For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.
For He who is mighty has done great things for me,
And holy is His name.
And His mercy is on those who fear Him
From generation to generation.
He has shown strength with His arm;
He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
And exalted the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
And the rich He has sent away empty.
He has helped His servant Israel,
In remembrance of His mercy,
As He spoke to our fathers,
To Abraham and to his seed forever.” (Luke 1:46-55; NKJV)
Give Him 15 minutes in prayer:
Worship the Lord.
Ask yourself, who are you? Are you one who is sensitive to the Holy Spirit when the Lord shows up unexpectedly? Or, are you one that is judgmental and suspicious? Correct your heart’s alignment, if need be.
Read the Magnificat, the Song of Mary, in your favorite version.
Did you remember that Mary prophesied the hardness of heart of the religious, the rich, and the powerful?
Intercede with all your heart for the groups that commonly resist the movement of the Holy Spirit—the religious leaders and the governing leaders; the rich and the powerful.
A prayer you can pray:
God. Magnificent One. Holy One. Glorious Father. Precious Savior, Holy Spirit. We worship You. We magnify Your holy name. We exalt You above everything else in all this world. You are worthy of all of our worship. Make us even more sensitive to the Holy Spirit. Stop us right in our tracks the moment we sense You with us. Like John the Baptist in his mother’s womb, make our hearts leap within us when we encounter You. We want You. We long for You. Let us never become complacent toward You. May we be surprised by the way You show up or who You present Yourself to. Never let us think we have You all figured out. We see that is a dangerous position to take. Let us never judge who You decide to use or how You decide to use them. You can anoint anyone You want.
Help us to recognize the work of Your Holy Spirit in even the most unlikely of vessels. Don’t let us harden our hearts as the Pharisees did, or as Herod did. We don’t want to find ourselves persecuting Jesus in our day and age! We pray for religious leaders who are so sure they are interpreting the scriptures right, that they could actually miss You today. Open their eyes, Jesus. Let them see You and become very sensitive to Your Holy Spirit. Save those governmental leaders who know You are going to rattle the earthly kingdoms they have been building. The Church is a constant threat to those kingdoms. Let Your Kingdom come and Your will on earth be done! Let them see that Your Kingdom is the only one that matters. All praises to You, precious lamb of God. Amen.
My spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. Let me make Him known in my generation. Let the humble hear and be glad!