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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Don Stewart :: The Holy Spirit: How He Works

Don Stewart :: What Was the Relationship of the Holy Spirit to the Earthly Life of Jesus?

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What Was the Relationship of the Holy Spirit to the Earthly Life of Jesus?

The Holy Spirit: How He Works – Question 8

The Holy Spirit is not only related to God the Son, Jesus Christ, in His deity, as a member of the Trinity, He is also related to Jesus in His humanity. We learn the following from the New Testament.

The Holy Spirit Predicted Jesus’ Coming through the Prophets

To begin with, we find that the Holy Spirit divinely inspired the prophets to predict the coming of the Messiah. Peter wrote the following.

Some prophets told how kind God would be to you, and they searched hard to find out more about the way you would be saved. The Spirit of Christ was in them and was telling them how Christ would suffer and would then be given great honor. So they searched to find out exactly who Christ would be and when this would happen. But they were told that they were serving you and not themselves. They preached to you by the power of the Holy Spirit, who was sent from heaven. And their message was only for you, even though angels would like to know more about it. (1 Peter 1:10-12 CEV).

Jesus’ coming was anticipated because it was predicted to take place by the prophets through the power of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit Filled the Forerunner, John the Baptist

We also find that the Holy Spirit filled the forerunner of Jesus, John the Baptist. Before Jesus was conceived, the angel Gabriel appeared to Zacharias the father of John. He and his wife Elisabeth were childless. The angel told them they were to have a son.

For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ’to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord (Luke 1:15-17 NKJV).

This son, John the Baptist, would be filled and empowered of the Holy Spirit from birth. He would be the forerunner of the coming Messiah.

The Father and Mother of John Were Also Filled with the Holy Spirit

The father and mother of John the Baptist were also filled with the Holy Spirit. It is said of Elizabeth.

When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped inside her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:41 HCSB).

Here the Spirit of God filled Elisabeth.

The same is true with his father, Zacharias. We read in Luke.

His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied (Luke 1:67 NIV).

The entire family of John the Baptist was filled with the Spirit.

The Holy Spirit Was Involved in the Conception of Jesus

The Scriptures teach that the Holy Spirit was the active agent involved in the miraculous conception of Jesus. We read the following in Matthew.

But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:20 NRSV).

Jesus would be conceived of the Holy Spirit. Luke also records what took place.

The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby born to you will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35 NLT).

The Holy Spirit came upon the Virgin Mary and she conceived the child Jesus. Whereas John was filled with the Holy Spirit from his mother’s womb, Jesus was conceived by the power of the Spirit of God.

As Jesus would later testify, He was from above.

“You are from below,” He told them, “I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world” (John 8:23 HCSB).

Jesus made it clear that He was not from this world system.

The Holy Spirit Was Involved in Jesus’ Baptism

The Holy Spirit was also involved in Jesus’ baptism. When John baptized Him, the Holy Spirit descended in a bodily form, identifying Jesus as the Messiah. Luke records what took place as follows.

And the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased” (Luke 3:22 NRSV).

The Spirit of God identified Jesus of Nazareth the Messiah.

Jesus Was Led by the Holy Spirit to Be Tempted

Luke records that the Lord Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He wrote.

Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness (Luke 4:1 NKJV).

It was God’s Spirit who brought Jesus to the temptation. Thus, this entire episode was something which was “Spirit-led.”

Jesus’ Public Ministry Was Accomplished through the Spirit’s Power

The public ministry of Jesus Christ was accomplished through the power of the Holy Spirit. Luke records that Jesus began His ministry in the power of the Spirit. He put it this way.

Then Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and news of Him went out through all the surrounding region (Luke 4:14 NKJV).

Later, Jesus Himself testified that the Spirit of the Lord was upon Him. When Jesus was at a synagogue in Nazareth He read the following passage.

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free...Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:18, 21 NRSV).

Jesus claimed that this passage was fulfilled that very day.

Peter later emphasized that Jesus’ ministry was one which was anointed by the Spirit of God. He said.

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).

The ministry of Jesus Christ was accomplished through the Spirit’s power. This is the united testimony of Scripture.

Jesus Performed Miracles by the Power of the Holy Spirit

During His public ministry, we are told that Jesus Christ performed miracles by the power of the Holy Spirit. In fact, Jesus Himself said.

If I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come to you (Matthew 12:28 HCSB).

The signs He performed were done in obedience to God the Father through the agency of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit Was Involved in Jesus’ Death on the Cross

The Holy Spirit was also involved in Christ’s sacrifice on the cross of Calvary in some unexplained way. The writer to the Hebrews said.

How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? (Hebrews 9:14 NKJV).

The Holy Spirit was with Jesus Christ in His death.

The Holy Spirit Was Involved in Jesus’ Resurrection

The Holy Spirit was also at work in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Paul wrote to the Romans about this important truth.

But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you (Romans 8:11 NKJV).

The Spirit of God was thus involved in the resurrection of Christ.

Paul also wrote that Jesus was declared to be the “Son of God with power” by His resurrection from the dead through the Holy Spirit. He explained it this way.

Who [Jesus] was appointed the Son-of-God-in-power according to the Holy Spirit by the resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 1:4 NET).

The Holy Spirit, according to Paul, was intimately involved in Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.

The Apostle Peter testified to the same truth. He emphasized that it was the Spirit of God who made Jesus Christ alive. He wrote.

For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit (1 Peter 3:18 NIV).

The Spirit of God brought Jesus back from the dead.

After the Resurrection the Holy Spirit Was Still Involved with Jesus

The Holy Spirit was also directing the life of the resurrected Christ. Luke wrote about this in the first chapter of the Book of Acts where he said the following.

I wrote the former account, Theophilus about all that Jesus began to do and teach until the day he was taken up to heaven, after he had given orders by the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen (Acts 1:1, 2 NET).

It was through the Holy Spirit that the resurrected Christ gave orders to the apostles.

The Promise of Jesus Involved the Coming of the Holy Spirit

The promise of Jesus was that the Holy Spirit would come to His disciples in a unique way. On the night of His betrayal, Jesus said.

I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you (John 16:12-14 NRSV).

Jesus set the stage for the coming of the Spirit to testify of Him. This would take place after His resurrection from the dead.

On the Day of His resurrection, Jesus said the following.

And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22 NASB).

They were to receive the Holy Spirit who would speak to them about Jesus.

Later, before Jesus ascended into heaven, He told His disciples.

And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high (Luke 24:49 NRSV).

The Holy Spirit was called the “promise of the Father.”

On the Day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came down to the disciples of Jesus in a unique way. Peter then said the following about Jesus to the crowd that had gathered.

Now he sits on the throne of highest honor in heaven, at God’s right hand. And the Father, as he had promised, gave him the Holy Spirit to pour out upon us, just as you see and hear today (Acts 2:33 NLT).

The power which these people witnessed was from the Holy Spirit who testified about Jesus Christ. Thus, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to do His work on the earth after He had ascended into heaven.

The Holy Spirit Will Be Involved in the Rule of Christ

When Jesus Christ returns and rules the earth, the Holy Spirit will be intimately involved in the process. The prophet Isaiah wrote of that wonderful day. He said.

For the palace will be forsaken, the busy city abandoned. The hill and the watchtower will become barren places forever, the joy of wild donkeys, and a pasture for flocks, until the Spirit from heaven is poured out on us. Then the desert will become an orchard, and the orchard will seem like a forest. Then justice will inhabit the wilderness, and righteousness will dwell in the orchard. The result of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quiet confidence forever. Then my people will dwell in a peaceful place, and in safe and restful dwellings (Isaiah 32:14-18 HCSB).

Therefore, we find that from the first prediction to Jesus’ coming to the earth, through His everlasting rule, the Holy Spirit has been involved in the ministry of Jesus Christ.

Summary – Question 8
What Was the Relationship of the Holy Spirit to the Earthly Life of Jesus?

As we study the Scripture we find the Holy Spirit played a vital role in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ in so many different ways.

First, the Holy Spirit divinely inspired the Old Testament prophets who predicted Jesus’ coming to the world. We then find that Jesus’ forerunner, John the Baptist, was filled with the Holy Spirit from birth. He prepared the way for the coming Messiah.

The Spirit of God was also involved throughout the life and ministry of Jesus. In fact, Jesus was conceived of the Holy Spirit. Then, at Jesus’ baptism, the Holy Spirit came upon him in the form of a dove. It was the Holy Spirit who next led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.

We are also told that the entire earthly ministry of Jesus Christ was performed through the power of the Holy Spirit. Indeed, Jesus’ miracles were accomplished by means of the Spirit of God.

The Holy Spirit also worked in some unexplained way in Jesus’ death on the cross. It was the Spirit of God, along with God the Father and God the Son, who brought Jesus from the dead. Therefore, throughout His entire life, through His resurrection from the dead, the Holy Spirit was involved in an intimate way.

The Bible says that the Holy Spirit directed Jesus after His resurrection from the dead. Indeed, Scripture says that before Jesus ascended into heaven He promised His disciples that the Holy Spirit would come in them in a unique way. This is exactly what took place on the Day of Pentecost. Today the Holy Spirit is testifying about Christ through the lives of believers.

When Jesus Christ comes back and rules the earth, the Holy Spirit will be also be involved in the process. Therefore, the Holy Spirit has been involved in all parts of Jesus’ ministry and will continue to be involved in it in the future.

Was the Holy Spirit upon Believers during the Old Testament Period but in Them during New Testament Times? ← Prior Section
What Were the Three Occasions When the Holy Spirit Came Down in a Special Way? Next Section →
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