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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Don Stewart :: The Holy Spirit and Us

Don Stewart :: Should Our Experience with the Holy Spirit Be the Same as Jesus?

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Should Our Experience with the Holy Spirit Be the Same as Jesus?

The Holy Spirit and Us – Question 23

When did Jesus receive the Holy Spirit? Should we look to His life as an exact pattern for our own? Is His experience to be the same as ours? From a study of Scripture we can make the following observations.

Jesus Was Indwelt with the Spirit from His Birth

The Bible tells us that Jesus was indwelt with the Holy Spirit since His birth. In fact, we discover that Jesus was conceived of the Holy Spirit and lived His entire life as the sinless Son of God through the power of the Holy Spirit. However, when He began His public ministry, He had an experience with the Holy Spirit that some say should be a pattern for all believers. It occurred when He was baptized.

And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said, “You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased” (Luke 3:22 NKJV).

In this instance the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus in bodily form at the time of His baptism. What does this mean to us? Should we have a similar experience?

The Holy Spirit Designated Jesus as the Messiah

Jesus received the Holy Spirit at birth, yet at His baptism the Holy Spirit descended upon Him. Does this indicate that the anointing He received for His baptism is something that each believer must receive after the initial salvation experience? No. The Holy Spirit came down upon Jesus for the purpose of designating Him to be the Messiah. John the Baptist explained this.

Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One” (John 1:32-34 TNIV).

Furthermore, the Bible does not say that Jesus received the Holy Spirit at that time. Rather, this was the beginning of Jesus’ revelation of Himself as Israel’s Messiah. The baptism was symbolic of the special anointing that He had as the promised Deliverer. The baptism identified Jesus as the Messiah. The coming of the Holy Spirit upon Him signaled the special empowering of Jesus to fulfill this ministry.

Later, Peter spoke of His ministry in the following manner.

And no doubt you know that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. Then Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the Devil, for God was with him (Acts 10:38 NLT)

Therefore, since His calling was unique, we cannot use it as an exact pattern for us.

We Do Learn Lessons from Jesus’ Baptism

Having said that, there are some lessons we learn from Jesus’ anointing with the Spirit. As Jesus was empowered by the Holy Spirit to proclaim the message of forgiveness of sin to the world, the believer is also anointed with the Spirit to carry a similar message. However, our message consists of spreading the good news of the death of Jesus Christ for the sins of the world, and His resurrection from the dead. We are empowered by the Holy Spirit to bring this message to everyone. Jesus said.

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8 NIV).

Consequently, in that sense, His baptism and empowering of the Spirit, is a pattern for believers to proclaim the message of Jesus.

Jesus Was Given the Holy Spirit without Limit, We Are Limited

Furthermore, Scripture emphasizes that Jesus was given the Holy Spirit without any limit. John the Baptist said.

For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure (John 3:34 ESV).

While Jesus received the Holy Spirit without limit, it is possible for believers not to be filled, or controlled, with the Holy Spirit. Indeed, at any given time we can sin and thus we can grieve or quench the work of the Spirit. This never happened in the life of Jesus.

He Was Sinless, We Are Sinners

Furthermore, His life cannot serve as an exact pattern for ours. Jesus Christ was the sinless Son of God who was conceived and led throughout His life by the Holy Spirit of God. The rest of us are all born as sinners. Indeed, we need a Savior. We receive the Holy Spirit only when we believe in Jesus as Savior. Once we believe, it is possible for us to resist the work of the Holy Spirit in our life. This is something that Jesus never did. Thus we cannot pattern our experience exactly after His.

His Life Is an Example of How We Should Live

While we will not have the same experience with the Holy Spirit as did Jesus, His life does serve as a pattern for us. John wrote.

Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Christ did (1 John 2:6 NLT).

Therefore, as much as we are able, we are to live our lives patterned after His. He is our example!

Summary – Question 23
Should Our Experience with the Holy Spirit Be the Same as Jesus?

Our experience with the Holy Spirit does not have an exact parallel with the life of Jesus Christ. Although Jesus Christ is the example for every believer, this can only be true to a point. There are a number of observations that we need to make.

He alone was conceived of the Holy Spirit. Thus, in contrast to us, Jesus was led of the Holy Spirit from the time of His birth.

Furthermore, at the baptism of Jesus, when the Holy Spirit came upon Him in the bodily form of a dove, this was to mark Him out as the promised Messiah. John the Baptist testified to this. Consequently we cannot have the same experience since Jesus alone was the promised Deliverer.

There are lessons which we can learn from Jesus’ baptism and the Spirit coming upon Him. As He was designated as the Messiah who proclaimed God’s truth to the world we are His ambassadors who also preach His truth to this lost world. In this sense, Jesus entrance into the ministry after His baptism is an example to us.

Yet there are many more differences between our experience and His. The Scripture further says that Jesus was given the Holy Spirit without any limit. Believers do not receive God’s Spirit until they put their trust in Jesus. While He never resisted the work of the Spirit in His life Christians do, at times, resist the Spirit’s work. This is another difference between His experience and ours.

Therefore, His life cannot serve as an exact pattern for believers. However we are to follow His example and walk by means of the Holy Spirit.

Should We Pray Directly to the Holy Spirit? ← Prior Section
Who Is The Spirit Of God? (Introduction) Next Section →
CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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