Jesus Living by the Spirit

Continuing the study on the ministry of the Spirit in the life of Christ and what Jesus taught on the Spirit, this post will focus on the life and ministry of Christ and how He lived in the Spirit. Right after Jesus was baptized, He was led into the wilderness by the Spirit. From there, we see how the Spirit was active in the life of Christ as He walked this earth fully human, yet fully divine. We see how Jesus depended on the Spirit during the wilderness temptations, which gives modern believers an amazing example we are to follow during our times of trials and temptations.


Jesus Living by the Spirit

Jesus’ ministry was conducted through the Spirit’s power and direction. The immediate result of Jesus being filled with the Holy Spirit (Luke 4:1) after His baptism was the series of temptations at the inception of His ministry.[1] Jesus is described as being led (Matt 4:1; Luke 4:1-2) or sent (Mark 1:12) by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness where the temptation took place. What is noteworthy here is that the presence of the Holy Spirit in Jesus’ life brings him into direct and immediate conflict with the forces of evil.[2] Being led by the Spirit into the desert, and through His victory over temptation, Jesus was now ministering “in the power of the Spirit.” The Spirit’s power was the source of Jesus’ authority, which Luke describes in chapter 4-6.[3]

Luke introduces Jesus’ ministry as a fulfillment of Isaiah 61:1-2, which affirms Jesus will be empowered by the Spirit to fulfill His role as God’s agent of deliverance.[4] Jesus read from Isaiah 61:1–2, and asserted that it was now fulfilled in him (Luke 4:18–21), thus claiming that this ministry was a result of the working of the Holy Spirit in and upon Him.[5] Through His teachings and miracles, Jesus’ whole life was “in the Holy Spirit.” “Jesus was ‘full of joy through the Holy Spirit’ (Luke 10:21) when the seventy-two returned from their mission. Even his emotions were ‘in the Holy Spirit.’ This is a description of someone completely filled with the Spirit.”[6] The Gospel narratives show Jesus and His disciples performing activities that are empowered by the Spirit, such as exorcism (Matt 12:28) and healing (Matt 11:2-5; see also Acts 2:22, 43).

John 3:34 says, “For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit.” This describes that the Father gave the Son the Spirit without limit which is different from the Old Testament prophets where the Spirit came on them for a limited time and purpose (cf. 1 Cor 12:4-11).[7] There is no evidence of growth of the Holy Spirit’s presence in Jesus’ life. “Other than the conception and the baptism, there is no series of experiences of the coming of the Holy Spirit. However, there is a growing implementation of the Spirit’s presence.”[8] The Spirit-led ministry of Jesus in the Gospel of Luke foreshadows the activity of the Holy Spirit initiating and empowering the Church for ministry in the book of Acts.[9] “The New Testament Gospels attest to the activity of the Spirit surrounding the advent and activity of the messianic movement of Jesus of Nazareth.”[10]


[1] Eduard Schweizer, The Holy Spirit, (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1980), 51.

[2] Erickson, Christian Theology, 793-795.

[3] J. A. Martin, “Luke,” 214.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Erickson, Christian Theology, 794.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Thomas Constable, “Notes on John,” Sonic Light, 2015, accessed 25 January 2015,

[8] Erickson, Christian Theology, 785-86.

[9] D. S. Huffman, “Luke, Gospel of.”

[10] C. Zoccali, “Spiritual Gifts.”


Jesus Christ’s Baptism and the Holy Spirit

Throughout Scripture, we see various references to the Holy Spirit in different circumstances appearing in different forms. In this post, as our focus is only in the Gospels, we look at the baptism story of Jesus and how the Spirit was involved in it. The next post will examine what happens after the baptism.

Jesus Christ’s Baptism and the Holy Spirit

“John the Baptist’s announcement of Jesus’ ministry also highlights the place of the Holy Spirit.”[1] John the Baptist emphasized that his baptism was with water, but the Messiah would baptize with the Holy Spirit (Mark 1:8) and attributes the Messiah with the giving of the Spirit.[2] “The Spirit is present in dramatic form from the very beginning of Jesus’ public ministry, when there was a perceivable coming of the Holy Spirit upon him at his baptism (Matt 3:16-17; Mark 1:10-11; Luke 3:21-22; John 1:32-34). John makes clear that John the Baptist also saw the Spirit and bore witness to the fact.”[3] All four Gospels record this momentous event that signaled the start of his public ministry and confirm Jesus as God the Father’s Messiah at His baptism. “The purpose of the baptism was to anoint Jesus with the Spirit and to authenticate Him by the Father for beginning His ministry. Each Person of the Godhead was involved in the activity of the Son on earth, including His baptism.”[4] As the Spirit descended on Christ as a dove and remained on Him, this identified Jesus as the Messiah to John the Baptist. John the Baptist made mention of the Spirit “remaining” on Jesus (John 1:32-33) twice, which is important as it describes the Spirit’s relationship to Jesus because permanence is implied.[5]

Furthermore, these narratives contrasts John the Baptist’s baptizing activity with the Christ, who will baptize with the Holy Spirit (Matt 3:11; Luke 3:16; Mark 1:8; John 1:33).[6] Only a divine Person could baptize with the Holy Spirit, so that John not only spoke of the might of Jesus, but of His deity.


[1] Erickson, Christian Theology, 793.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid, 794.

[4] J. A. Martin, “Luke,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, eds. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 2 (Wheaton: Victor Books, 1985), 212.

[5] W. Hall Harris, “A Theology of John’s Writings,” in A Biblical Theology of the New Testament, ed. Roy B. Zuck, (Chicago: Moody Press, 1994), 197.

[6] C. Zoccali, “Spiritual Gifts.”

The Work of the Spirit in the Conception of Christ

As we continue to look at the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of Jesus, today we start with the conception of Christ and how the Spirit was involved in that event.


Jesus Christ Conceived by the Holy Spirit

The very beginning of Jesus’ incarnate existence was a work of the Holy Spirit as described in the conception narrative (Matt 1:18, 20; Luke 1:35).[1] “The one great generating act of the Holy Spirit occurred when He brought the humanity of Christ into being…. The Spirit caused the humanity of Christ to originate and that is His act of generation.”[2] Luke’s narratives of the births of John the Baptist and Jesus contain many references to the Spirit’s work (Luke 1:15, 35, 41, 67, 80; 2:25–26). Luke details the inspired Spirit filled statements of Elizabeth, Zechariah, and Simeon (Luke 1:41-42, 67; 2:25-28). Both, Luke and Matthew, emphasize the Spirit’s role in the virgin conception of Jesus (Matt 1:20; Luke 1:35). Jesus is proclaimed to be the fulfillment of the Davidic messianic hope (Matt 3:17; Luke 1:31–33; John 1:34; see also Mark 8:27–30; Matt 16:13–16; Luke 9:18–21), and will be the agent of Israel’s promised deliverance and restoration (Mark 1:15; Matt 1:21; Luke 1:67–79; 2:30–32).[3]

[1] Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology, 3rd ed, (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2013), 793.

[2] Lewis Sperry Chafer, Systematic Theology, vol. 6 (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1993), 33.

[3] C. Zoccali, “Spiritual Gifts”, in The Lexham Bible Dictionary, ed. J.D. Barry et al., (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2014), under sec., “Gospel Accounts,” Logos Bible Software.

The Holy Spirit’s Work During the Ministry of Christ – An Intro

As we look deeper into the ministry of the Holy Spirit that is described in the Gospels, this post provides a brief introduction into how the Spirit was involved in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. We will look further into what Christ said and taught about the Spirit in future posts but we first will examine how the Spirit was involved in the conception and baptism of Jesus, as well as how He empowered Jesus. The life of Christ is an example of the powerful presence of living in the Spirit and prompts the modern believer to live with that dependence.

The Holy Spirit’s Work During the Ministry of Christ

“From the moment of his conception Jesus Christ was empowered by the Holy Spirit. Christ’s possession of the Holy Spirit was demonstrated publicly at several points in his ministry. After his resurrection the Holy Spirit demonstrated him to be the Son of God.”[1] Luke portrays the Holy Spirit as active in initiating and empowering the life and ministry of Jesus.[2] While the Spirit was active from the start of Jesus’ life (John 1:32), the Spirit’s full work was to begin at the consummation of Jesus’ own ministry (John 7:37–39). The Spirit brings life (John 3:1–8), a life of the highest quality (John 10:10), and leads believers in the way of truth (John 16:13).[3] Jesus’ life exhibits the pervasive and powerful presence and activity of the Spirit. Both the prediction and the record of Jesus’s birth point to a special working of the Spirit.[4]

[1] Martin Manser, “Holy Spirit,” Dictionary of Bible Themes: The Accessible and Comprehensive Tool for Topical Studies, (London: Martin Manser, 2009), under chap. 3, sec., “3269 Holy Spirit, in the life of Jesus Christ,” Logos Bible Software.

[2] D. S. Huffman, “Luke, Gospel of,” in The Lexham Bible Dictionary, ed. J.D. Barry et al., (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2014), under sec., “The Holy Spirit,” Logos Bible Software.

[3] J. E. White, “John,” in Holman Concise Bible Commentary, ed. D. S. Dockery, (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1998), 491.

[4] Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology, 3rd ed, (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2013), 793.

The Work and Ministry of the Holy Spirit in the Gospels

Today we begin a new series on the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit as presented in the Gospels. This series will not examine the various stories of the Spirit in the Old Testament or the activities linked to the Spirit in Acts and the Church age. The goal of this series is to examine two particular topics: (1) What role did the Spirit have in the life of Jesus; and (2) What did Jesus teach about the Spirit? This second question will be examined as to how it applies to the modern believer. For now, let us look at a further intro into this exciting series.

There is much to learn about the activities and workings of the Holy Spirit and much said about the Spirit of God in Scripture. From the Spirit moving upon the face of the waters  (Gen 1:2), working in men like Balaam, Samson and David to accomplish the Lord’s will, and even being linked to the prophecies concerning the future Messiah (Isa 11), the Old Testament discusses the Holy Spirit frequently throughout its pages. The theme continues in the New Testament as the Person and work of the Holy Spirit is set forth; the Book of Acts displays the Spirit coming upon the disciples at Pentecost, enabling healings, and empowering miracles. But what about the Gospels? What did Jesus say about the Spirit and what role did the Spirit have in the life of Christ and His ministry? The Gospels present the Holy Spirit as a divine Person sent by the Father and the Son to dwell in each believer guiding them in truth to worship and fulfill the will of God for each person just as the Spirit abided in Christ and empowered Him. This paper will examine the ministry of the Spirit during Jesus’ life, specifically the conception, baptism, temptation, and how the Spirit empowered Jesus in His ministry. Jesus’ teachings about the Spirit will be examined by looking at what Jesus taught regarding daily living, ministering, and worshipping in the Spirit. Throughout the Gospels, Jesus describes the Spirit as indwelling, training, educating, cleansing, and revealing truths to the believer.