A particular characteristic of Luke’s Gospel is his emphasis on the very real presence and power of the Holy Spirit. This ties in with his concern for the poor and the outcast (see our study entitled “Lifting up the lowly”, and his emphasis on inclusion (see study on “A gospel for the whole world”).
The opening chapters of Luke’s Gospel take us through examples of the Holy Spirit residing in people often excluded from religious elites (Luke 1:15, 35, 41, 67; 2:25–26). Mary the unmarried girl is pregnant by the action of the Holy Spirit. John the Baptist, as yet unborn, leaps in his mother’s womb in response to the presence of his Lord, and is described as being “strong in the Spirit” in childhood. His mother, Elizabeth, who had been barren, was also made fertile by the Holy Spirit’s miracle. Old Anna and Simeon at the Temple are motivated and filled by the Holy Spirit. The old, the women, the little children (even unborn; and see also Luke 10:21), and those socially inferior (the unmarried mother, the barren woman) all are included in this blessing of the indwelling Holy Spirit.
Through his Gospel, Luke teaches that the Holy Spirit is for everyone, and that it is through his power that spiritual ministry is accomplished and the good news effectively passed on.
What would you say is the role of the Holy Spirit in your life? Where do you see him at work?
Can you think of examples of people you know whom you might describe as “full of the Holy Spirit”?
What implications might the Gospel of Luke have for our understanding and treatment of the unborn child?
Holy Spirit of God, without you we are nothing and can do nothing worthwhile. In your love and grace, please fill us; please stay with us and never depart from us. Transform us into the likeness of Jesus so that even the smallest details of our daily lives are illumined by the light of your presence. For we ask it in Jesus’ holy name; Amen.