Compare and Contrast Angels and Humans: Part 2

Continuing this brief series on the similarities and differences between angels and humans, this post will focus mainly on what makes up a human and how God created them. This section has a little bit of contrasting between angels and humans, please see the previous post on what makes up an angel. The next post will give a broader overview on the major differences between the two created beings.


 

Humans

Only humans were created in the “image of God” according to His purpose, plan, and good pleasure (Gen 1:26-27). With this privileged position, “humanity was the only part of creation addressed by God,” told to procreate and have dominion over it (Gen 1:28; Ps 8:4-8).[1] Genesis stresses that being made in the image of God is of fundamental importance to what it means to be human (Gen 1:26-28; 5:1-2; 9:6-7).[2] Mankind, created of both material and immaterial substances (Gen 2:7; Ezek 37:6, 8-10, 14), is so adapted to the purposes and functions of the immaterial man that he is not conscious of any separation between the body and the soul.[3]

Like the angels, mankind was also led into disobedience to God by Satan (Gen 3). As a consequence of sin, mankind became a “dying creature” and dead in sin (Eph 2:1)[4]; that spiritual death has been transmitted to all humanity (Rom 3:10-19, 23; 5:12), except Christ (1 John 3:8).[5] Whereas the angels who sinned are awaiting the judgment day (Matt 25:41), humanity is able to be forgiven (2 Cor 5:21). While man was made lower than the angels, the incarnated Christ took this lower place for a short time to conform the believer to His own image (Rom 8:29; Eph 1:3-4) and lift them up to His own sphere far above the angels (Heb 2:6-10).[6] Therefore, redeemed humans will eventually judge the angels (1 Cor 6:3).


 

[1] Charles Sherlock, “The Doctrine of Humanity,” (Downers Grove, InterVarsity Press, 1996), 36.

[2] Ibid, 31.

[3] Lewis Sperry Chafer, Systematic Theology, vol. 2, (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1993), 146.

[4] Ibid, 149. Also see Dallas Theological Seminary, “Full Doctrinal Statement, Article IV, Man, Created and Fallen,” internet, 2015, accessed February 21, 2015, http://www.dts.edu/about/doctrinalstatement.

[5] Dallas Theological Seminary, “Full Doctrinal Statement, Article IV, Man, Created and Fallen.”

[6] Dallas Theological Seminary, “Full Doctrinal Statement, Article III, Angels, Fallen and Unfallen.”

A Conclusion to The Holy Spirit: His Work and Ministry in the Gospels

This post brings to an end the series on: “The Holy Spirit: His Work and Ministry in the Gospels.” As we started this series we focused our attention to how the Spirit worked in the life and ministry of Jesus. From there, we moved on to what Jesus specifically taught about the Spirit. The work of the Holy Spirit is vast in a believer’s life. It is one that empowers us to live, work, minister and worship. He enables us to do more things that we could ever imagine. It is a reminder that every single breath we take is a gift of our Father. The Spirit helps us in every aspect of our lives. He encourages us and will lift our prayers up to be in perfect harmony with the Father.

As we conclude this series, I posed this question earlier and will restate it: Think of the the ways you not living dependently on the Spirit. Ask God for wisdom to lead you and reveal those areas. But also ask for wisdom to start living a more dependent life on the only thing that can truly help us.


 

It is only by this Holy Spirit that Christians can conduct their ministry of witnessing to all people about Jesus. Just as the disciples received the Holy Spirit, so believers receive “power from on high” (Luke 24:49) to spread the Gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit. The Gospel writers show the Holy Spirit is the identifier in both Christ and believers, is vital for proclaiming and understanding the gospel, is given on faith in Christ, and will guide believers into all truth. His ministry to unbelievers includes conviction of sin, righteousness and judgment. Luke emphasizes the Holy Spirit in Jesus’ ministry more sharply than the other Gospels; in it, Luke “reveals the reality of the Spirit’s power and presence as he is poured upon Jesus. He traces the Spirit of Christ in his public ministry: from his baptism to the cross; from his transfiguration to his resurrection; to the glorious portrait of Christ ascending into heaven.”[1] John provides evidence of the Spirit’s filling by bringing the one in whom He abides to an ever increasing understanding of the Scriptures with all their sanctifying power (John 17:17).[2]

The Gospel writers show that the Holy Spirit was involved in Jesus’ life from conception, while in the womb, in others like Simeon, Zechariah, and Elizabeth, and in His baptism. The Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted. The Spirit empowered Jesus for His earthly ministry to preach, teach and do the miraculous signs and wonders.

The Gospels provide the reader with Jesus’ own teaching on the divine Person and work of the Holy Spirit. Just as the Spirit empowered Jesus for ministry, Jesus taught that the Spirit will empower the believers to preach the good news to all nations and baptize them. He taught that the Counselor will guide believers into all truth and strengthen them to speak in times of trial. The Spirit will reveal the Scriptures and remind the believers of Christ’s teachings. Jesus taught them that the Spirit will indwell the believer as Jesus goes to the Father to intercede for them. The Spirit will make known the message to the believer that originated with Christ. Jesus told us that the Spirit’s work is in glorifying the Son and will lead believers to greater worship of the Father. The Gospels show that the Spirit is an answer to Jesus’ prayer and reveal how the believer needs the Holy Spirit every day, in every way, and in everything.


[1] R. C. Sproul, A Walk with God: An Exposition of Luke, (Great Britain: Christian Focus Publications, 1999), 14-15.

[2] Chafer, Systematic Theology, vol. 6, 222.


Bibliography

Blum, E. A. “John.” In The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, edited by J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 2, 266-348. Wheaton: Victor Books, 1985.

Carson, D. A. The Gospel According to John. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1992.

Chafer, Lewis Sperry. He that is Spiritual. Moody Press: Chicago, 1918.

______. Systematic Theology, vol. 5. Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1993.

______. Systematic Theology, vol. 6. Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1993.

Constable, Thomas. “Notes on John.” Sonic Light. 2015. Accessed 25 January 2015. http://soniclight.com/constable/notes/pdf/john.pdf.

Erickson, Millard J. Christian Theology, 3rd ed. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2013.

Harris, W. Hall “A Theology of John’s Writings.” In A Biblical Theology of the New Testament, edited by Roy B. Zuck, 167-242. Chicago: Moody Press, 1994.

Huffman, D. S. “Luke, Gospel of.” In The Lexham Bible Dictionary, edited by J. D. Barry et al., section “The Holy Spirit.” Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2014. Logos Bible Software.

Manser, Martin. “Holy Spirit,” Dictionary of Bible Themes: The Accessible and Comprehensive Tool for Topical Studies, section 3200. London: Martin Manser, 2009. Logos Bible Software

Martin, J. A. “Luke,” In The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, edited by J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck, vol. 2., 198–266. Wheaton: Victor Books, 1985.

Mathews, S. H. “The Holy Spirit in the Gospel of John.” American Journal of Biblical Theology. Accessed 25 January 2015, http://www.biblicaltheology.com/Research/MathewsSH01.pdf.

Schweizer, Eduard. The Holy Spirit. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1980.

Sproul, R. C. A Walk with God: An Exposition of Luke. Great Britain: Christian Focus Publications, 1999.

White, J. E. “John.” In Holman Concise Bible Commentary, edited by D. S. Dockery, 463-492. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1998.

Wiersbe, W. W. “John.” In The Bible Exposition Commentary, vol. 1. Wheaton: Victor Books, 1996.

Zoccali, C. “Spiritual Gifts.” In The Lexham Bible Dictionary, edited by J. D. Barry et al., section “Gospel Accounts.” Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2014. Logos Bible Software

The Holy Spirit in the Gospels: Worshipping in the Spirit

What does it look like to worship in the Spirit? How does one worship in the Spirit? How does one worship God? Is there something that I must do? 

As we look at what Jesus taught on the Spirit, what the Gospel writers included, we are left with what do we do with this information? We are reminded that when Jesus went away, He sent the Holy Spirit. Believers are indwelt by the Spirit. The Spirit is seen as the Comforter or Advocate. The teachings and advantages of the Spirit and what He does is numerous. The gifts and fruits of the Spirit are some of the incalculable riches of God’s mercy and grace. As we finish this section of what Jesus taught on the Spirit in the Gospels, we conclude this section by looking at what it means to worship the Father, living for His glory, all in the power of the Spirit. This section is to think about what it looks like to depend on the Spirit. What a beautiful thing it is to live dependently on the Holy Spirit. 


Worshipping in the Spirit

In order to worship the Father, the teachings of Christ in the Gospels not only show the deity of the Spirit, but that the Spirit is worthy of worship because He is just like the Father and Son. At numerous times throughout the Gospels, Jesus teaches remarkable concepts about the Spirit, including His deity, His Personhood, and His procession. It is important to remind ourselves that the Holy Spirit is a Person and the third member of the Trinity as Jesus teaches throughout the Gospels. Jesus in fact referred to the Spirit as “He” and not “it” thereby insinuating the Spirit was some type of force. The Holy Spirit has a mind (Rom 8:27), a will (1 Cor 12:11), and emotional feelings (Gal 5:22–23).[1] The Spirit is also linked with the Father and the Son in various events of Jesus’s ministry. All three persons of the Trinity were present at Jesus’ baptism (Matt 3:16–17). Jesus said his casting out of demons was related to the Father and the Spirit (Matt 12:28). In the two blasphemy passages (Matt 12:32; Luke 12:10), the deity of the Holy Spirit is once again taught by Jesus. The conjunction of the Holy Spirit with the Father and the Son in these events is an indication that He is personal, just as they are.[2] It is also important to notice that in John 14-17, the Spirit is sent by both the Father (John 14:16, 26) and by the Son (John 16:7). This section of John “records the central truth relative to the Person and work of the Spirit in this age.”[3]

The new Advocate was to be to men more than the bodily presence of Christ had been. It was better that Christ should go away and that the Spirit should come.[4] The Spirit would come on believers in a new way, namely: to baptize, seal and indwell them.[5] Apart from the help of the Holy Spirit, we cannot live the Christian life as God would have us live it. He is the “the Spirit of Truth” (John 14:17; 15:26) and the “Comforter” (parakletos). As “Comforter,” a term only used by John (14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7), meaning to come “alongside to assist,” shows that the Spirit works in and through the believer.[6] The presence of the Spirit in this world is actually an indictment against the world, for the world rejected Jesus Christ.[7] The Spirit replaced Jesus’ physical presence and mediated God to believers providing a much more intimate relationship than before.[8] The Holy Spirit reveals the Savior in the Word and in this way glorifies Jesus (John 16:13-14).[9] The Spirit teaches, encourages and reminds the believer of the words of Jesus so that they may obey and have peace in times of trial (John 14:25-27; 16:13). John 4:23-24 not only asserts the full divinity of the Spirit (“God is Spirit”), but shows that the human spirit is able to have meaningful communication with God as spirit.


 

[1] W. W. Wiersbe, “John,” in The Bible Exposition Commentary, vol. 1 (Wheaton: Victor Books, 1996), 359.

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

[3] Chafer, Systematic Theology, vol. 5, 151-155.

[4] Chafer, Systematic Theology, vol. 6, 151.

[5] Constable, “Notes on John.”

[6] Wiersbe, “John,” 352.

[7] Ibid, 353.

[8] Blum, “John”, 323.

[9] Wiersbe, “John,” 362.

Ministering in the Spirit

As the series continues on what the Gospels show us on the Spirit, today’s post will focus on what Jesus taught about the Spirit in regards to ministry. What does it mean to minister in the Spirit? Many things can go into this ministry term. There are items like intercessory prayer, listening to the Father, obeying the Father, seeking God and obeying Him as He leads you.

These type of items lead us to think what is my ministry in my current environment? At the workplace or at home, what type of ministry has God called me to? This may change and there will be different seasons of ministry. One season, may be ministering to your family by encouragement, love, support, service, etc.

Maybe your ministry is at your workplace. My current situation, I work in an environment that is surrounded by people of the Hindu faith. I did not choose that type of ministry, but that is what God has currently called me to. It can be something grand like sharing the Gospel message with those around you. It could even be starting a lunchtime Bible study. Or inviting co-workers to church. But lets not forget the importance of the day-to-day and the minutiae of the daily grind. This is where the mission field comes alive. It is the being there for your fellow human, listening to their stories and what is happening in their lives. This is where the invitation to church and the sharing the Gospel message gets it footing. (Because I feel there may be some confusion on this sentence, let me explain. Anyone can go to a stranger and share the Gospel or invite someone to church without any problems. God will use that how He sees fit. For example, if on my first day [or week] of a new job, I invite people to church or share the Gospel, it could be met with some difficulty since the other person does not know me. But, as I do life with them and work with them, be an example, get to know them, it allows the invitation to have more traction because we have done some amount of life together. Their comfort with me and knowing I am not some weird person, will have them be more likely to listen to what I am presenting, plus it allows me to have that background on what their needs and struggles are. All that being said, when God calls you to something, it is best to obey and not delay).

God has put each of us in our current mission field. We may or may not have every expected this is what we would be doing. But as believers, we are all missionaries. We are all ministers. Ministry is not just for those in a church/parachurch organization. Ministry is part of our Christian faith. We are to follow God and obey Him in whatever our setting because He has put us there for a reason. As a believer, you are a minister. God has called you to something that He specifically designed you for. Let us live for God and embrace that ministry all in the power of the Holy Spirit. All we can do is obey, the results and the kingdom building is in God’s hands.


The first mentioned theme Jesus discusses about the Spirit’s teaching ministry is that of unveiling the prophetic Scriptures. “He will tell you what is yet to come.” (John 16:12-15). What also should be observed from this passage is the indwelling Spirit will glorify Christ rather than Himself. Also, the “all things” riches that are to be imparted are the things not only of Christ but also amplified to include the things of the Father.[1] A dominant theme in the John 14-16 discourse is Christ announcing that the coming of the Holy Spirit into the world would continue Jesus’ ministry.[2] When Jesus speaks of the Spirit’s coming, He is emphasizing the Spirit’s ministry of bringing truth to the saved (John 16:13) and the unsaved (John 16:8).

The promise and prayer of Christ to ask the Father to send the Spirit (Luke 11:13; John 14:16) to abide with believers forever is definitively answered. Christ introduces the theme regarding the work of the Spirit in this age that an unregenerate person cannot make an intelligent acceptance of Jesus as Savior until the preliminary work of the Spirit has enlightened an unsaved person’s heart (John 6:44).[3]

In order to enter the kingdom of God, one must be born physically (born of water) and spiritually (John 3:5-8). The second birth of the Spirit are evidence of the remarkable work that the Father does and continues to do in the regenerate person’s life.[4] “The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life,” (John 6:63; see also John 3:34) refers to the Spirit as a life giver and depicts Him as the source of spiritual birth. This section is important because it shows the Spirit active in Jesus’ proclamation and also necessary in the reception of the Christian message. John (7:39; 14:15-17) and Luke (11:13) present the Spirit as a gift of the Father conditioned upon belief in Christ in answer to His prayers. The Spirit indwells the believer and as He hears the divine instructions originating from Christ for the believers specific needs, the Spirit will convey that message to the one whom He abides in.[5] This includes the conviction of sin and call to repentance (John 16:8-11).


[1] Chafer, Systematic Theology, vol. 6, 223.

[2] Lewis Sperry Chafer, Systematic Theology, vol. 5 (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1993), 151.

[3] Ibid, 153.

[4] S. H. Mathews, “The Holy Spirit in the Gospel of John,” American Journal of Biblical Theology, accessed 25 January 2015, http://www.biblicaltheology.com/Research/MathewsSH01.pdf.

[5] Chafer, Systematic Theology, vol. 5, 156. Also see Chafer, Systematic Theology, vol. 6, 37.

What Jesus Taught on Living in the Spirit

Continuing the series on the ministry of the Spirit during the life of Jesus and the teachings of Jesus about the Spirit, this post will focus on what Jesus taught about living in the Spirit. Having concluded the portion on the ministry of the Spirit, we introduced this section last time by looking at what the Gospel writers included in their books on this important subject. Throughout the Gospels, we see a number of references that Jesus makes to the Spirit and His coming. He presents a number of teachings on the Spirit, but the main one is how a person is to live in the Spirit. Through that dependence on the Spirit, we are able to worship, minister, and follow God in the Spirit. By living, we are to depend on the Spirit. In a culture where our independence is celebrated, Christianity stands apart. It calls for one to live a life of dependence on God. In fact, we boast in how much we need Jesus. 

In our own lives, think today of how is independence showing up. What are ways that you can depend on the Spirit. Ask God for wisdom to show you those areas.


 

Christ’s statement in Luke 11:13 to His disciples “How much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him,” shows not only had the disciples not asked for the Spirit, but characterizes a forward step in the progressive relationship of the Spirit with men during the Gospel period.[1] The disciples were now granted this privilege of asking for the Spirit. Jesus prayed to the Father that “the Spirit Who was then with them might be in them and abide. He then breathed on them and they received the indwelling Spirit; yet they were commanded not to depart out of Jerusalem. No service could be undertaken and no ministry performed until the Spirit had come upon them for power.”[2] In the confrontation between the Pharisees and Jesus in Matthew 12:25-32, Jesus condemned the Pharisees and warns them that “anyone who speaks (blasphemes) against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven” (v. 32; Mark 3:29; Luke 12:10) gives evidence of what He had just done was done by the power of the Holy Spirit.[3] This blasphemy refers to people who become enemies of God (Isa 63:10). The awful sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, attributing the work of the Holy Spirit to Satan, has no forgiveness. Failing to recognize the Spirit at work in Jesus’ ministry is to therefore considered to blaspheme the Holy Spirit.[4]

Jesus Himself is the bearer of the Spirit.[5] Being baptized with the Holy Spirit (Matt 28:19; Luke 24:48-49) identifies the believer with God and clothes them with power from God to preach and teach to all nations. Jesus had told the disciples that the Holy Spirit “will be in you” (John 14:17) and adds in John 16:12-15 a great and momentous truth that the indwelling “Spirit of truth” will guide them and lead them into a “measureless ministry” that will glorify Jesus.[6] The Spirit bears “witness” of Jesus Christ (John 15:26; 16:14) and reveals God’s will and truth to the Christian. As God breathed life into Adam (Gen 2:7), so Jesus “breathed” on the disciples, imparting the Spirit upon them (John 20-22-23). This indicated that they were being prepared and empowered (Acts 1:4-5; 2:1-4) for the new movement they will lead.[7] Jesus also taught that the disciples (and believers) should not worry about what to say, specifically when on trial, because the Spirit would give them the words to say “for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit” (Matt 10:20; Mark 13:11).

[1] Lewis Sperry Chafer, He that is Spiritual, (Chicago: Moody Press, 1918), 11.

[2] Ibid, 12.

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

[4] C. Zoccali, “Spiritual Gifts.”

[5] D. A. Carson, The Gospel According to John, (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1992), 301.

[6] Chafer, Systematic Theology, vol. 6, 223.

[7] E. A. Blum, “John,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, eds. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 2 (Wheaton: Victor Books, 1985), 343.

The Teaching of Christ Concerning the Holy Spirit

This post continues the series on “The Holy Spirit in the Gospels.” We have just concluded looking at how the Spirit impacted the ministry of Christ, so we must now turn our attention to what our Lord Jesus spoke of this Helper, Comforter, and Counselor. We remind ourselves that before Christ left this earth, He offered the disciples several words of encouragement about the coming Spirit. This post will provide an introduction to the next section of the overall paper, and will foreshadow what is to come.


 

The Teaching of Christ Concerning the Holy Spirit

The Gospels record Christ teaching about the Spirit in a variety of different ways. As Jesus lived in the Spirit and the Spirit was active in Jesus’ life and ministry, Jesus knew that He must prepare His disciples for his departure. Speaking to the disciples and people of that time, and with future believers in mind, the Gospels record Jesus speaking at lengths about the Spirit: who He is, what He will do, how He will come, why He will come, and when He will come. Jesus taught what it means to live in the Spirit, which includes: the Spirit will indwell them (John 14:17), blasphemy against the Spirit is unpardonable (Matt 12:31-32; Mark 3:29-30; Luke 12:10), the Spirit will guide them into all truth (John 16:12-15), and provide wisdom and words (Matt 10:20; Mark 13:11; John 14:15-16; 16:16). As Jesus ministered in the Spirit, it was important that they knew what it meant to minister in the Spirit, such as: Jesus promised the Spirit to the disciples and all who believe (Matt 10:20; Mark 13:11; Luke 11:13; 12:12; John 7:37-39; 14:15-17, 26), the Sprit would empower, teach and guide believers to preach the Gospel (Matt 28:19; Luke 24:48-49; John 14:26; 15:2-27; 16:13-15; 20:22), open their minds to being born in the Spirit (John 3:5-6, 8). Finally, Jesus knew that in order to live and minister in the Spirit, they must know the Spirit is worthy of worship since He is God, and the Spirit would facilitate true worship to the Father (John 4:23-24). Jesus said it was better that He go and the Spirit would come (John 16:7) since the Spirit is the “Counselor” (John 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7) so that the Spirit would remind the believer of the words of Christ and have communion with the Godhead (John 4:23-24).

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.”

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.