In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.
“And she conceived by the Holy Spirit” is something we declare in the creed. In the Old Testament we find the Holy Spirit empowering several individuals to accomplish a divine plan. Samson's mighty deeds were performed when “the spirit of the Lord rushed on him" (Judges 14:6). Joseph’s wisdom caused others to recognize the Holy Spirit in him. Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find anyone else like this—one in whom is the spirit of God?” (Genesis 41:38)
There are several other examples, including the Spirit's work in Moses and the 70 elders of Israel (see Numbers 11:17), in Gideon (Judges 6:34), and in King David (1 Chronicles 28:12). However, in those days the Holy Spirit was given to a few individuals for a limited time to fulfill a particular task. When the task was accomplished, the Holy Spirit would leave the person. However, as long as he lived in them, they did some pretty amazing things.
Now, today, every single believer in Christ has received the Holy Spirit with whom we are “marked with a seal for the day of redemption” (Ephesians 4:30). He will, as our Lord Jesus promised, “be with us forever” (John 14:16). Yet, there is hardly a single believer living today who leads a life of power such as Samson or Moses or Gideon or David led. Why?
Others before us did. All the apostles lived lives of power. The ones who followed them did as well. Men like Stephen, Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas (see Acts 6:1-6). Stephen was a man described as being “full of God’s grace and power (who) performed great wonders and signs among the people” (Acts 6:8). So, why don’t we?
Because we are not led by the Spirit, leading lives that only gratify the desire of the flesh. Consequently, we walk in the ways of the world, not the ways of God. How can we display the power of God if we aren’t with him? So, to quote Paul, let us “walk by the Spirit”, putting aside “sexual immorality, impurity, debauchery, idolatry, witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, and the like” (Galatians 5:16-21).
Then we will become a Holy Spirited people and do great wonders and signs as the heroes of old did!