Jesus and the Holy Spirit

Working through Systematic Theology III, and specifically, the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. Last time we talked about the role of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament.

Today we are going to begin talking about the role of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament, and specifically, we’ll spend most of our time talking about the Holy Spirit and Jesus.

The Role of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament:

Now, before we get into the role of the Spirit with regard to Jesus, the Holy Spirit actually shows up in the Gospels before He interacts with Jesus.

And so, the first time that we see the HS showing up in the NT is actually with John the Baptist.

John the Baptist and the Holy Spirit.

First of all, we see John was filled with the Holy Spirit, even before birth.

Luke 1:15 - "For he will be great in the sight of the Lord; and he will drink no wine or liquor, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother's womb.”

This was unique.

It is not a normative reality anywhere in Scripture, and we should not try and build a theology of the HS, the nature of salvation with babies, or Holy Spirit filling.

The Gospel of Luke is historical literature, and simply records what took place.

It is not a “go and therefore do likewise” passage, nor is it a passage that teaches anything about the normal work of the HS.

So to attempt to build a theology of the Spirit off this one verse would be inappropriate and irresponsible.

Second, John starts his ministry by picking up on the OT theme of expectation (which we talked about last time. John spoke of a new, fresh, unprecedented outpouring of the HS-- but, then, he heightens that expectation by associating it with the Messiah (i.e., he invokes the language of the Christ), who is described as being the One Who will baptize them in the Holy Spirit.

So nothing in the OT speaks of the coming Spirit as being associated with the Christ.

Perhaps there would have been a loose association because OT leaders were understood to have an anointing of the Spirit (e.g., Kings, Judges, etc.).

But John then speaks about an outpouring of the HS, in which this Messianic figure will baptize God’s people in the HS.

Luke 3:15-17Now while the people were in a state of expectation and all were wondering in their hearts about John, as to whether he was the Christ, John answered and said to them all, "As for me, I baptize you with water; but One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to untie the thong of His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. "His winnowing fork is in His hand to thoroughly clear His threshing floor, and to gather the wheat into His barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire."

So, here, we can see 2 expectations. And the first is heightened because of the second:

So first, the OT anticipation of the a pouring out of the HS.

But this is, then, heightened, because it was about to be fulfilled within their very generation. All of history was about to come to a head.

Side Note: There’s a lot of talk these days about “fire” or “baptism of fire” or “Holy Ghost Fire,” particularly in the charismatic movement. But nowhere is the use of fire, especially when associated with the Spirit, ever a good thing. Fire is associated with judgment. Notice, Jesus is going to cleanse His floor—that is, He’s going to get rid of all the false, bad things claiming to be of Him, but for the specific purpose of making room for His wheat. He will then burn up the chaff—all that is false, or not of Him.

So “Burning with the Holy Spirit,” or “longing for Holy Spirit fire” is not a good thing within this context.

Jesus and the Holy Spirit:

- Incarnation -

The Gospel accounts emphasize that Mary is a virgin. Therefore, the conception of Jesus is viewed as a miracle wrought about by God.

And so, specifically, the Holy Spirit is the One credited as bringing forth the incarnation of the eternal, second person of the Trinity.

- Baptism -

The Father speaks words of commendation over the Son--

Luke 3:21-22 “Now when all the people were baptized, Jesus was also baptized, and while He was praying, heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven. ‘You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.’”

So, here, the Holy Spirit descending upon Jesus as of a dove.

Now, this event is a fulfillment of OT prophecy (c.f., Isa. 42:1).

Isa. 42:1 - “Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold; My chosen one in whom My soul delights. I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the nations.”

The descension of the dove is an OT symbol of God anointing His “Anointed One.”

The event marks Jesus out for Messianic ministry; and He would now represent God to the people of Israel (which was always the role of “God’s Anointed” in the OT).

Note: Something worth noticing, is that none of the Gospel accounts record any particular immediate manifestations or visible effects with the coming of the Holy Spirit onto Jesus. 

Now, Jesus’ baptism was unique in that the Holy Spirit was “seen in bodily form,” but no manifestation or visible effect happened to Jesus Himself, even though He was now described as being “full of the Holy Spirit.” 

Contrast this with much of what we see happening in charismatic circles—the desire to seek a fuller experience/power/manifestation of the Holy Spirit.

- Temptations in the wilderness -

Immediately after baptism, the Holy Spirit leads (drives/compels-- aggressive language) Jesus into the wilderness for the purpose of being tempted.

Mark 1:12-13 “Immediately the Spirit impelled (ekbaino – “to cast out”) Him to go out into the wilderness. And He was in the wilderness forty days being tempted by Satan…”

Matthew 4:1“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” [infinitive of purpose].

Luke 4:1-2 “Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led around by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil.”

Here, the purpose of the Holy Spirit’s in sending Jesus out to be tempted was to prepare Him for the many hardships and difficulties of ministry that lay ahead.

Many tend to think of Jesus’ wilderness temptations as His most difficult. This is a misunderstanding. They were simply the first of many and reflected much of what awaited Him.

And so, while we can view Jesu’s temptation as a model for how to fight temptation and resist the devil, the overt emphasis is to reveal how Jesus perfectly accomplishes the obedience we cannot (active obedience).

Now He is described as being in the wilderness for 40 days.

This harkens back to Israel's failure to obey God and resist temptation in their wilderness episode.

Israel sinned in unbelief, not trusting God’s promises and Word. 

However, here, Jesus, believing the Word, perfectly obeys God’s will; and therefore, vicariously obeys on our behalf.

In fact, you can see the strong contrast in how Israel sinned by grumbling because of their hunger. And yet, Jesus is recorded as not becoming hungry until after the 40 days were complete (Lk. 4:2). And so, His desires were controlled by the Word and will of God alone.

The point is that Jesus had to be prepared via temptation to be able to say “yes” to the ultimate temptation that would be presented at the cross (i.e., Satan’s “opportune time” -- Lk. 4:13).

In fact, this is why he was able to pray that His desire at Gethsemane be delivered, and yet, was still controlled by a greater desire to fulfill the Father’s will. His resistance of Satan in the wilderness was propleptic of His defeat of Satan on the cross.

Note: Many (esp. charismatics) equate being filled with the Holy Spirit as the impetus for being able to do wonders/miracles/and possess unique power/experiences.

The Gospels record it as the impetus for the beginning of spiritual/satanic attack.

It’s important that we not miss how the first role of the Spirit in the life of Jesus was to put him into a difficult s