Chapter # 1 Paragraph # 4 Study # 2
Thesis: The "point" of the Presence is the exuberance of the participants.
Introduction: Let me set the stage for our study this morning. We are looking at the paragraph contained in Luke 1:36-56. It is the third major "conversation" of Luke's record to Theophilus so that he might know the exact truth of the things that happened in his generation. In the first conversation, we had an older man who was told that his lifelong prayer for a son was going to be answered and that he would be ecstatic when it happened. In the second conversation, we had a younger woman who was told that her destiny was to be God's "blessed" instrument in bringing multitudes to the same ecstasy that Zacharias was going to experience at the birth of John. Now, this morning, we are beginning a consideration of what I have called "the third conversation". In this record, we have the two women, who are to be the instruments of the coming ecstasy, in conversation with each other. In order to enter into a solid understanding of this conversation, there are two things we need to get our teeth into: first, we must identify with Zacharias in the ecstasy of the birth of John; and second, we must understand that in the second conversation, the House of Jacob is the equivalent of Zacharias in the first conversation...i.e. Mary is going to bring forth the ecstasy of the House of Jacob just as Elizabeth is going to bring forth the ecstasy of Zacharias. The point is this: the sons are going to bring what Peter calls "joy inexpressible and full of glory". Now, the question is, How do I get you to identify with this ecstasy? The only way possible is for you to identify how you would feel if suddenly every single burden that you are currently carrying was multiplied in heaviness by a factor of 100 and then suddenly every one of them was completely resolved in a way that absolutely suited you. This is the ecstasy of Zacharias and the House of Jacob. If you can do this, you are ready for our study this morning.
March 7, 2004
- I. What the Text Tells Us.
- A. It tells us that Mary's "greeting" sets off a cascade of reactions.
- 1. First, the unborn son of Elizabeth, in his sixth month of life, strongly kicks out both feet when the sound of Mary's "greeting" comes into the house.
- 2. Second, the Holy Spirit simultaneously responds to the sound and "fills" Elizabeth like water saturates a sponge when it is immersed into it.
- 3. Third, Elizabeth's breath and vocal cords are suddenly commandeered by the Spirit so that she begins to loudly proclaim words of blessing and puzzlement.
- a. She utters two "blessings" -- one upon Mary and another upon the fruit of her womb.
- b. She asks a question -- How is it that the mother of my Lord has come to me?
- B. It tells us that The Presence intends Exuberance.
- 1. Let's consider John's response to Mary's voice.
- a. First, it has little to nothing to do with what she said; the response was to the sound not the content.
- b. Second, it is the response of the Holy Spirit to the Divine Son.
- 1) When John was conceived, the Holy Spirit "filled" the multiplying cells like water fills a sponge: this was according to the prophecy of Gabriel to Zacharias.
- 2) This "filling" was designed to be a pervasive dominance over the whole person.
- a) There are two different kinds of "fillings" that are attributed to the Holy Spirit in respect to people.
- i. One is the kind of "filling" that is so pervasive that the human instrument is effectively made the Body of the Spirit.
- ii. The other is the kind of "filling" that is less dominant and simply enables the human instrument to produce a kind of "focused" manifestation of the life of God so that others can see 'the glory of God in an earthen vessel'.
- iii. The difference in the "fillings" is mostly a matter of the degree of dominance being taken by the Spirit; the former takes over the whole person body, soul, and spirit, and the latter is mostly relegated to dominance over the soul in a way that significantly influences the spirit, which, in turn, energizes the body. The former pretty much projects an infallible manifestation of God while the latter is more like an "odor of Christ" wafting through the air.
- b) The "filling" that was predicted of John was of the first sort, and it is illustrated by the babies' legs' response to Mary's voice.
- 3) The issue here is that the Son in Mary had enough influence over her that her voice carried something of His presence into the air, and through the air, to the babe's ears.
- c. Third, it is the response of extraordinary exuberance.
- 1) When Elizabeth gave her "filled by the Spirit" explanation of the babe's reaction, He/she called it a "leap of joy".
- 2) A "leap of joy" is about as far up the scale of enthusiastic reaction that one can have.
- a) Joy can be expressed by something as slight as a little upturn of the lips.
- b) It can go from that to an overt chuckle...to knee slapping laughter...to what the commander of the flattop did when the C-130 landed successfully...to what is about the most exuberant manifestation there is: the leap.
- 2. Let's consider Elizabeth's response.
- a. When the voice that was influenced by the presence of the Son came into Elizabeth's hearing, the Spirit that was in her womb suddenly flooded her body.
- b. When that "flooding" occurred, it was made manifest by two things...
- 1) By the extraordinary volume of her voice.
- 2) By a double expression of "blessing", followed by a question.
- c. This, though not at the same level as a "leap", was, nonetheless, another expression of an elevated level of joy.
- 1) She had "exuberance" on her mind.
- 2) The loud proclamation of "blessedness" is typical of people who think something pretty fantastic is going on.
- 3. Conclusion: When the Son of God and the Spirit of God are in collusion with each other, their "body language" is extraordinary joy.
- II. What the Text Implies.
- A. The text implies that it is the intention of deity to impart joy to humanity.
- B. The text implies that it is the character of deity to seek joy in humanity.
- III. The Implications of the Implications.
- A. Everyone on this planet knows there is more grief than joy in this part of God's creation.
- B. It is a pretty universal platitude that what God wants He gets.
- C. Thus, it is pretty much a majority conclusion that God doesn't intend nearly as much joy as the Bible seems to declare...after all, it was the Bible that says that we rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory (1Peter 1:8).
- D. So, we have to deal with the question of the divine intention and the reality of our experiences.
- 1. The primary method of "dealing" has to do with what Peter called "believing".
- 2. Remember Luke 6:23...the entire issue there is the issue of whether we believe what we are told.
- 3. Then remember that the fruit of the Spirit is deliberately tied to the issue of our confidence in the word of God.