And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
—Luke 1:35 KJV
The word we translate “come upon,” has several meanings. I love to study the original text because it gives us a greater picture of what the writers meant with the words they chose. It’s the verb eperchomai‘this is the Holy Spirit in action. This is what happens when He enters our space, time, and bodies. It means to arrive and to overtake. Interestingly, one of the root words of this word expands the picture for us even further. It describes the action of the Holy Spirit here as “to come into being; to arise and come forth.” It can mean the power of God on display being established and able to be known in our natural, physical world.
The power of God is always on display in heaven. In heaven, there are no limits as to how God can be experienced. But on earth, there are indeed limiters, even inside of our own bodies. That’s why we so often call how the Lord operates “miracles.” I believe what we call miracles are really just the Lord’s normal way of operating. What we see as impossible isn’t hard for the Lord! It took a miracle for Mary to get pregnant, but I don’t believe it was hard for the Holy Spirit to overtake her to create Jesus in her womb.
Saints in all generations have done mighty things that testify to God’s power to accomplish what He wants, and to deliver His children. They were overtaken by His power and could do what they normally couldn’t. This happens even more so since Jesus’ promise that we would do greater things via the Holy Spirit coming on Pentecost.
It’s not surprising that God can do wondrous and mighty acts. It is His standard operating procedure to be awesome and infinitely able to do whatever He wants according to His loving and just nature.
If we are being honest, we have to admit, Mary was a nobody. She belonged to a people whose promised land was now occupied by another. She wasn’t even from Jerusalem, but a backwater country. She had nothing to offer; her only contribution was half the genetic material required to create a person (and an imperfect set of genes at that). Yet, God saw something in her—faith. Faith is the soil of miracles. What we see as nothing to offer, God, the Holy Spirit, sees as an opportunity to demonstrate His might. So, He condescended to her. He came upon her and created Emmanuel, the long-promised Messiah. He did it through a family whose genealogy didn’t matter anymore. He fulfilled His promise at a time when the chosen ones had long since grown weary of waiting. Yet, since He promised to do it, He did it. He acted in power and might, by His Spirit alone.
He doesn’t need us to help Him, but I believe His preferred way of working is through those who are willing. It doesn’t matter what they look like, where they are from, or what they are capable of in their own strength. The Spirit will come when we ask and when we are open to it. Mary was ready. She was ready to be the vessel for the promise to come through. Are you a willing child today? Are you open for the Spirit to come and use His power to help you, your spouse, your children, and your church?
Come, Holy Spirit, in Your power and whatever way You choose. I desire to be a willing vessel to carry Your promises to the world. I desire to be Your willing child. I know You are able and I know You can. I am open to be used for miracles today, Lord. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Is there anything in the way of the Holy Spirit coming upon you in power today?
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