In reading Luke 1:1-17, these verses are talking about the birth of John the Baptist, verse 15 says “For he will be great in the sight of the Lord; and he will drink no wine or liquor, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother’s womb.” The Holy Spirit is part of the Godhead and has been a real Person from all eternity, yet in the Old Testament there was no permanent residency of the Spirit within any human. The Holy Spirit would “come upon” people for a certain time or task…and then leave, but the housing or indwelling of the Spirit was not available under the Old Covenant, because every person (even the really good ones) was still under the condemnation of sin.
In the case of John the Baptist this is very strange and odd that he would be filled while still in his mother’s womb. Interesting….very interesting. John’s task (as forerunner of the Messiah) is very unique and I believe it marks the beginning of a complete and total change that is about to take place. A New Covenant is going to be established through Christ where the presence of the Living God, by the INDWELLING of the Holy Spirit will be in the life of every believer in Christ. John is the last Old Testament prophet and his “job” is going to be the most important one of the entire Old Covenant time. As he decreases and Jesus increases, it’s a picture of the Old Covenant times coming to an end and a New Covenant being ushered in by Christ.
Now, why do I find it so interesting that he is filled with the Spirit while still in his mother’s womb?! Who cares, right? Except it seems to me that it says something about what Power source is going to be needed to accomplish this task of “preparing the way” of the ending one Covenantal time and a New one beginning. Everything is going to change. Everything.
Years later, while John was imprisoned, Jesus would say of him in Matthew 11:11-13, “Truly I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist! Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force. For all the prophets and the Law prophesies until John. “ John “prepared the way” and prophesied and then Jesus came, the One who is the fulfiller of the Law and Old Covenant - Jesus the Lamb of God who will take away the sins of the world- Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith- Jesus the Light of the world….the Way, the Truth and the Life. Jesus.
John the Baptist was awesome and his “job” was one of a kind and huge….but anyone of us in this New Covenant who has the indwelling of the Holy Spirit with 100% complete access to the Living God at all times and a relationship that beckons draw near is greater- not greater in value but in availability and access to God. The Luke account of breaking the silence to old barren people with news of a filled forerunner of the Messiah is Kingdom altering and life altering for you and me. Wow.