Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Holy Spirit and Jesus

13 Then Jesus arrived from Galilee at the Jordan coming to John, to be baptized by him. 14 But John tried to prevent Him, saying, ‘I have need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?’ 15 But Jesus answering said to him, ‘Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.’ Then he permitted Him. 16 After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him, 17 and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased’.” (Matthew 3:13-17 NASU)

It seems evident that the Holy Spirit coming in the complete bodily form of a dove indicates Jesus receiving the fullness of the Spirit as opposed to being in part. Therefore He also received the fullness of power. Thus it appears that John, and the others with him, witness God the Father anointing His Son Jesus with the fullness of the Holy Spirit at the beginning of His ministry.

In the book of Acts we read the following.

“You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.” (Acts 10:38 NASU)

Hence the Holy Scriptures bear witness also that following the baptism with water He was also baptized or anointed with the Holy Spirit.

The question is often raised, why Jesus should have needed the Holy Spirit for His ministry?

The explanation is:

  • When God breathed the breath of life into man He put His Spirit in him.

  • Thus man is dependant on the Spirit of God for life and for his daily performance of his true functions (Genesis 2:7).

  • Apart from God’s Spirit man malfunctions and fails to accomplish his true destiny.

  • In becoming a man The Word of God (John 1:1-2) emptied Himself of His godly nature and put on the human nature (Philippians 2:8; John 1:14);

  • Thus, he required the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit, notwithstanding that He was sinless, thus full of life and having a divine nature; setting him apart from sinful man who He came to save.

The gift of the Spirit in fullness to Jesus at His baptism was no doubt His formal and public anointing for His Messianic work. The baptism of Jesus could not have the same significance with that of sinful men; for the symbolic cleansing from sin had no meaning for the One who was sinless. Yet as an act of formal public consecration it was appropriate for Him, for in doing so He began to establish baptism by water as a sign of the New Covenant. It also signified the close of His private life and marked the beginning of His ministry of salvation of mankind.

It is likely that there is a connection of the anointing of the Spirit with that of water baptism, as seen in the Book of Acts, is traceable to the anointing of the Spirit of Jesus at His own water baptism. But we note that baptism in the Spirit did not supersede water baptism.

The anointing of Jesus with the Holy Spirit qualified Him in two particulars for His ministry. The Holy Spirit was the source of His own endowments of power for the endurance of temptation, for teaching, for casting out demons, causing the lame to walk, the blind to see and the healing the sick, for His sufferings and death, for His resurrection and ascension.

The Holy Spirit’s coming upon Jesus in fullness also qualified Him to bestow the Holy Spirit upon His disciples. John the Baptist proclaimed that it is He who shall baptize in the Holy Spirit (Matt 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16; see also John 20:22; Acts 15:1). It was especially true of the King of the kingdom of God that He be anointed for His office, and the term Messiah (Mashiach, equivalent to the Greek ho Christos), meaning the Anointed One, points to this fact.

In the book Matthew Chapter 4, verse 1 we are told that after Jesus was baptized and received the Spirit that He was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. In the book of Mark, chapter 1, verse 12 declares that after the baptism “straightway the Spirit driveth him forth into the wilderness (KJV).” In the book of Luke, chapter 4, verse1 more fully declares that Jesus was “full of the Holy Spirit,” and that He was “led in the Spirit in the wilderness during 40 days (KJV).” The impression that the narratives of the temptation give is of energetic spiritual conflict. The spirit of Satan warring against the Holy Spirit of God as Satan makes his attack upon “The Word of God” in human form. Therefore as Jesus entered into His ministry He was subject to the ordinary conditions of other men in an evil world.

One should not entertain the thought that the temptations of Jesus ended at the close of the forty days. Later in His ministry, He refers to the disciples as those who had been with Him in His temptations (trials) (Luke 22:28-29). Jesus did not walk the earth as God, but as human and a part of the world that He must overcome, so while it is true that He came into the world sinless and righteous, it can also be said of Him that He achieved righteousness.

James C Sanford

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