God fills John with the Holy Spirit while he is still in his mother’s womb and onward throughout his whole life. This will empower him for the service of preparing the way for Jesus.
- The service will consist in turning many Israelites to the Master.
- John will have the explosive power of the Holy Spirit in his life from start to finish.
- Imagine living that way.
- How stunning is our God? How amazing are His ways? Ka-boom! Dynamite power!
- John was immersed in the Holy Spirit.
- He was slathered in the Holy Spirit.
Note: This also makes a case for the sanctity of life in the womb!
For he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he [John] will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb.
Luke 1:15 (ESV)
More than this, he himself will proceed ahead of the Master. By implication, the Master is coming—in the person of Jesus, but Luke has yet to reveal that wrinkle. And John will go ahead in the power of God’s Spirit that characterized the ministry of the Old Testament prophet Elijah (compare Malachi 3:1; 4:5).
The purpose and result of this Spirit-empowered ministry will be the uniting of old and young in the obedience to God that alone makes good sense and characterizes the righteous. The further purpose and result will be the preparation of a people, consisting of “many of the sons of Israel,” who are morally ready for the Master when he arrives. Thus Jesus, on his arrival as the Master’s emissary, will have people prepared to have the good moral sense to believe on him.
- Luke 1:41 (ESV) — 41 And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit,
- Luke 1:67 (ESV) — 67 And his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying,
- Luke 2:25–27 (ESV) — 25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law,
Robert H. Gundry, Commentary on the New Testament: Verse-by-Verse Explanations with a Literal Translation (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2010), 223.