How could John the Baptist be filled with the Spirit before he was born?
Baby John didn’t just have the Spirit come upon him or nudge him. The scripture makes it clear that John would be FILLED with the Spirit while he was in the womb.
“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”.–Luke 1:15
Several months later, we read the fulfillment of this prophecy:
When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.–Luke 1:41
Elizabeth explains and clues us in on what caused the baby to leap and why the baby reacted this way.
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.–Luke 1:43
Baby John didn’t possess linguistic skills or analytical reasoning. But here are 7 things we know about Baby John:
1) He had limbs and a body which could express (confess). It is through his bodily action that we see what his heart was feeling and confessing…the baby leaped in her womb.
2) He already had a heart of emotion which could sense things and embrace them emotionally. He was capable of both possessing and expressing joy. For how can you express joy unless you have a heart that can emotionally embrace the cause of it? You cannot give what you don’t have. Baby John’s emotional heart was filled with joy…the baby in my womb leaped for joy.
3) Baby John was in the presence of Christ, which means Christ was presented to John. Babies are capable of sensing many things in the womb like music, smoke, the taste of carrots, and light. He may not have understood much, but that didn’t keep Baby John from emotionally embracing what he sensed in the presence of unborn Christ.
4) Baby John did not understand the death, burial, and Resurrection of the Messiah. The Thief on the Cross did not pray a sinner’s prayer; the Thief showed no knowledge that Christ was dying for his sins; the Thief did not demonstrate that he knew Christ would rise on the 3rd day. Yet in spite of all this ignorance and all the overwhelming mockery around him, the Thief sensed something special about Christ and chose to go against the crowd and embrace what he did know and sense by saying, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom”.
5) Baby John demonstrated faith in the presence of Christ. John rejoiced in Christ’s unborn presence. Baby John had just enough in his infantile state to emotionally embrace what he sensed in the presence of Christ, and God saw that as childlike faith! Emotional embracement is a symptom of faith. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart. John had a reason for rejoicing.
6) I believe Baby John repented. How can anyone yield to the Spirit without turning away from the flesh? I believe that John sensed Christ’s presence as being something greater than himself. It was not something he knew intellectually; it was something he sensed while in the womb. In his own infinitesimal way, he repented and turned from himself, and embraced the idea that outside was someone greater. It is evidenced by his joy! John sensed he was in the presence of someone greater, someone that felt very good. It is later expressed by the words “I am not worthy to untie your shoes“. Therefore, I believe John emotionally turned from himself and embraced the presence of Christ as greater. That’s called repentance.
7) Baby John remained in Christ’s presence continually for three months.
Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.–Luke 1:56
You can correctly interpret that as saying, “Spirit-filled Baby John, who leaped for joy when initially encountering Christ, remained in the presence of Christ for three more months”. I can only imagine how that affected John the Baptist as he remained in the presence of someone greater who gave him such joy. Many years later, I believe that these feelings became words as John would so readily say, “One who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie”.
8) John The Baptist was “born-again”, but in a different order. He was first “filled with the Spirit” as evidenced by Joy while in the womb, and then he was born later. How is this possible? Like I’ve been saying, babies sense things and John was in the presence of Christ and He embraced it by reacting positively. You should read how Helen Keller knew God and His love before she knew words.
In summary, there is a verse which perfectly fits John’s experience in the womb
Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy,–1 Peter 1:8
God will take tiny mustard-seed faith wherever He finds it. It doesn’t matter whether it’s from a dying thief or an unborn baby. God looks highly upon child-like faith. Maybe that’s why Jesus said John was the greatest of those born among women. Why? Because he was born with faith! He was filled in the womb. He may have been the greatest case of child-like faith we’ve ever seen.
Be like John and embrace Jesus Christ with your heart. Don’t wait until you know and understand everything, just embrace Him with what you have. In the scripture, there was a man who still had doubts about Jesus. He said, “Lord I believe, help my unbelief”. If God can miraculously give me answers to questions like the one in this post, then I can know He can do something for you. Jesus said, “Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.”
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