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, http://soniclight.com/constable/notes/pdf/john.pdf.

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

[9] D. S. Huffman, “Luke, Gospel of.”

[10] C. Zoccali, “Spiritual Gifts.”

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