The Spirit in the Life of Christ

The Spirit was given to Jesus without limit. We too can share in this anointing, but we have to follow Jesus, or else we might run out ahead of him and minister on our own.

This happens often in charismatic circles. Soul power is not the same as the Spirit’s power.

Let’s find out how the Spirit worked in Jesus’s life and ministry.

1.. The Spirit conceived Jesus.

The Spirit came upon and overshadowed Mary (Matt. 1:18-20; Luke 1:34-35). The verb “overshadow” indicates God’s powerful presence on Mary. “Come upon” is the same verb used in Acts 1:8 (and elsewhere) for the Spirit coming upon the disciples.

The baby Jesus never lost his divine attributes, and the Spirit created his human nature at conception, and the Spirit preserved it from sin. John 7:18 says there is no unrighteousness in him, and 1 John 3:5 says that in Christ there is no sin.

2.. He received the Spirit at his baptism.

When Jesus came up out of the water, the Spirit descended on Jesus “like” a dove (Matt. 3:13017; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-22; cf. John 1:32-34). Each passage in the four Gospels uses the hesitant language “like” or “as.” The Spirit was not a dove.

3.. He was filled with the Spirit.

It was during his baptism that he was filled with the Spirit, and Jesus can then be described as “full” of the Spirit, a favorite word of Luke (Luke 4:1).

In a famous verse, Luke records Peter saying to the Roman centurion and gentile Cornelius that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Spirit and power, so that he went about delivering and healing people of demons and diseases (Acts 10:38).

For further development of the theology of Christ ministering in the Spirit’s anointing and his divine attributes, see the next point.

4.. He ministered in the power of the Spirit.

When Jesus entered the synagogue in Nazareth, Galilee, he stood up and read a passage in Isaiah: “1The Spirit of the sovereign LORD is upon me. He has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. (Is. 63:1-2, NIV). The verse goes on to promise vengeance from God on Israel’s sins, but when Jesus quoted it, he did not include it, but stopped before then. This stopping point indicates God was not going to take vengeance on the new people he was forming—Messianic Jew and Gentiles together in the Messiah Jesus (Luke 4:18-21).

Before I explain the interaction between the Spirit’s anointing and Jesus’s divine attributes, let’s recall that Matthew says that Jesus healed people by the Spirit’s anointing because God had promised in the prophet Isaiah that Jesus was God’s servant whom he had chosen, the one he loves and delights in, and on whom he would put his Spirit (Matt. 12:15-21; Is. 42:1-4).

Jesus never lost his divine attributes, nor did he set or lay them aside. Rather, he kept them, but surrendered and submitted them to the Father. This is seen in verses that say he does only what he sees his Father doing (John 5:19). He lives because of the Father (John 6:57). He stands with the Father (John 8:16). The Father knows him, and he knows the Father who sent him (John 8:16). He speaks only what the Father taught him (John 8:28). The Father knows him, and he knows the Father (John 10:15). The Father loves him because he lays down his life (John 10:17). He and his Father are one. He does what he sees the Father does (John 10:37). “I and my Father are one” (John 10:30). What Jesus says is just what the Father told him to say (John 12:49-50, John 12:57).

Perhaps the most important verse about miracles and surrender: “I have shown you many miracles from the Father” (John 10:32).

So what happened in Jesus’s ministry is that he surrendered and submitted his divine attributes to the Father, and the Spirit worked through the Son, the Anointed One, but even the Spirit submitted and surrendered to the Father. The Father hid his Son’s divine attributes behind his humanity, and sometimes we catch a glimpse of them when the Father willed to allow them to shine forth, as Peter, James, and John did on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matt. 17:1-13).

So the Trinity—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—worked together to lead humanity towards repentance and the forgiveness of sins, and salvation, and the infilling of the Spirit.

5.. He offered himself to God through the Spirit.

The blood of goats and other animals did not cleanse permanently, so God needed a new offering, an eternal one. He ordained that Jesus offer himself through the eternal Spirit (Heb. 9:14). Now Christ’s sacrifices can cleanse our consciences permanently, for eternity.

6.. He was raised by the Spirit.

The Spirit raised Jesus to life, and the same Spirit lives in us and empowers our mortal body both now and in the future resurrection (Rom. 8:11). So through the Spirit’s living in us and empowering us, expect divine health.

Jesus appeared in the flesh and was vindicated by the Spirit; in other words, his ministry was proven and declared victorious by the Spirit (1 Tim. 3:16).

Jesus suffered only once for sins, meaning his death on the cross was sufficient for all times, a sacrifice of the righteous for the unrighteous. But he was raised to life by the Spirit (1 Pet. 3:18).

7.. He promised the Spirit.

Jesus said that the Advocate—the Helper, the Comforter, the Stand-by, the Spirit of truth—whom he would send from the Father will testify about Jesus (John 15:26).

Jesus said he was going to send the promise of the Father, and his disciples would receive power.  (Luke 24:49). Jesus repeats this promise when he was discussing the kingdom of God. He clarifies that the promise is the Holy Spirit.

8.. He sent the Spirit at Pentecost.

The Spirit came at Pentecost, and all 120 in the upper room received him (Acts 2:1-14). Some teach that only the twelve apostles received the Spirit, but Acts 1:11-15 names or identifies some of the 120: the twelve apostles, along with the women, Mary, the mother of Jesus, with his brothers. They were all gathered together in prayer. Then Acts 2:1 says that they were all together in one place. After the Spirit fell with power and fire, Peter said this was the promise fulfilled (Acts. 2:33). Then he said the promise is for the people to whom he was preaching, and their descendants, and for those afar off in the distance—you and me.

9.. The Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus.

Paul and his team intended to go into Asia, but the Holy Spirit prevented them. Then they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus prevented them (Acts 16:6-7).

Paul writes that if the Spirit of God lives in you, and then switches over to the Spirit of Christ (Rom. 8:9).

Paul writes that God sent the Spirit of his Son into the Galatians’ hearts, but then just says he is the Spirit (Gal. 4:6).

It is not that the Spirit and Jesus are one person, but they share the same ministry, and the Spirit proceeds from the Son and the Father. The Triunity is united and one.

So how does this post help me get closer the third person of the Triunity (Trinity)?

We Renewalists can minister in the same anointing and power of the Spirit, but we have this anointing in a limited portion. Only to Jesus did the Father give the Spirit without limit (John 3:34). But that is not to deny a lot of God’s power and Spirit in our lives. We share in Christ’s anointing. And though the Spirit we can do greater works because we are many and united, after Jesus ascends to the Father, and we offer the call to salvation after Pentecost (John 14:12). But we must follow the Spirit, or else we will be filled with arrogance and self-rule. “I can do it on my own!”

Some on the web teach that miracles don’t happen today because Jesus worked his miracles only by his divine attributes, and since we don’t share in his divine attributes in the same measure, we cannot work miracles. However, that is misleading.

Jesus surrendered and submitted those attributes to his Father. The Spirit, who anointed Jesus to work the miracles, followed directions from the Father and the Son. So all three members of the Triunity worked those miracles. It is true that we don’t have the same divine nature as Jesus had in the same measure, but we do have a share in the divine nature by the Spirit’s indwelling presence (2 Pet. 1:4). And through him we work miracles and signs and wonders.

But mostly through the Spirit we can get to know Jesus more intimately, because the Spirit testifies about him (John 15:26).

Written by James Malcolm

SOURCES

Works Cited at Renewal Theology

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