He (John the Baptist) will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous – to make a people prepared for the Lord. (Luke 1:14-17)
One morning, I heard divine words, “You got pregnant last night. You will have a son, and he will be great.” Other than giving birth to, loving my son, and passing on a bit of God’s wisdom, I’ll have no part in my son’s greatness. The greatness of my son, and all of us, will depend upon how much he and we let God’s Spirit change our spirits. This is how we’re transformed by the renewing of our minds. (Romans 12:2)
No one has divine power or wisdom apart from the Holy Spirit. That includes Elijah. So, when Gabriel says John will go on in the spirit of Elijah, he’s telling us that Elijah’s spirit and John’s spirit are 100% Holy Spirit. John’s spirit was to be 100% filled with the Holy Spirit when John was born. When we confess our belief in Jesus, we, too, receive God’s Spirit. That mystery is revealed in 1 Corinthians 2:6-16. God’s Spirit joins our spirit, and as we let His Spirit change ours, we receive more of God’s power and wisdom. John the Baptist’s spiritual gift was preparing for redemption people without a heart for their children and people who wouldn’t repent to restore their relationship with God. Know anyone who is a dictator to their children and will never admit they’re wrong? I do. Today I’m asking God to send John the Baptist to that person. If that person repents and my extended family is restored, I’ll be one of many rejoicing in the birth of John the Baptist.
John the Baptist was called not to drink wine. It’s clear from Luke 7:34-35 that Jesus drank wine, so drinking wine in moderation isn’t a sin. Perhaps it was so he couldn’t participate in the Jewish rites that called for wine. Since Moses and John the Baptist were both present at the transfiguration of Jesus, perhaps the calling was symbolic that Christians were no longer under the commands of the Old Testament, but under the commands to love one another and to love God. Then, again, since John the Baptist was unusual perhaps the calling was to let people know he was under the influence of the Holy Spirit and not alcoholic spirits.
We are all called to be great before God. I encourage you to renew your mind with the Holy Spirit’s to discover your contribution to the greatness of His kingdom.