THE HOLY SPIRIT: THE LAST MAN’S CLOSEST COMPANION
(Saturday, April 18, 2020)
God created MAN, in the form of male and female. 1 Corinthians 15 reveals that Adam is the FIRST MAN and Christ is the LAST MAN. Eve was another form of Adam. Eve was not made of dust, but everything of Eve was out of Adam; Adam was the material of which Eve was made. Likewise, Christ is the material for the CHURCH. God used Christ to make the CHURCH. The CHURCH is another form of Christ.
In fact, the life of Jesus can be divided by three great developments in relationship with the Holy Spirit. First, Jesus is conceived by the Spirit in Mary’s womb (Matthew 1:18, 20; Luke 1:35). This was the transition of the incarnation: The Son of God becoming the Son of Man. He was a real man as He had a human mother and went through the ceremony of purification, as the Law of Moses commanded (Luke 2:22-24) and the child grew and became strong (Luke 1:80; Luke 2:40). Then, He is anointed by the Spirit at the Jordan River (Luke 3:21-22; John 1:32-33). Jesus had been alive for about 30 years; the Kingdom of God was still something future for John the Baptist. In the Old Testament, God had promised David that his son would be king of Israel, and that his son’s kingdom would be an everlasting one. Now, Jesus, the Son of David (Matthew 1:1; 21:9), is anointed as King of Israel in fulfilment of this Davidic promise. So, in one sense when the King was anointed it marked the coming of the Kingdom. (Probably this anointing was also for the offices of prophet and priest – see Hebrew 5:5-6; it is very interesting that Jesus did not function in any of these three roles until after His baptism by John) He was the One promised of old who would receive the Holy Spirit in a peculiar way. Centuries of human history had proven that man on his own strength could not be what he needed to be. But now a Man was sent who was not going to live by human power but by the power of God’s Spirit. And in this way He would succeed where all the others had failed. Finally, He receives the Spirit at His exaltation in order to pour out the Spirit upon His church. All through the ministry of John the Baptist and Jesus Himself, there was an expectation that at some point in the future Jesus would give the Holy Spirit to His followers. Each gospel includes verses like Luke 3:16 where John the Baptist says, “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.” And Jesus continued this theme that John began. Just ten days before Pentecost He said to His disciples, “John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” (Acts 1:5; Acts 11:16) Well, on the day of Pentecost what had been long anticipated finally happened. The disciples were baptized with the Holy Spirit. Speaking of Jesus, Peter declared to the gathering crowd at the pouring out of the Spirit at Pentecost, “having been exalted to the right hand of God and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear.” (Acts 2:33)
1. OLD TESTAMENT PROPHECIES OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN JESUS CHRIST’S LIFE
In the Old Testament prophecy of the coming Messiah we read in Isaiah 11:2-3, “And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD. And shall make Him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and He shall not judge after the sight of His eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of His ears.” Psalm 45:2 spells, “Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into thy lips: therefore God hath blessed thee for ever”. Further in Isaiah 42:1 we read, “Behold My servant, whom I uphold; My chosen in whom My soul delighteth; I have put My Spirit upon Him; He shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles, etc.” Zechariah 12:10 says, “And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn”. Isaiah 61:1 reveals “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; He hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound.” Matthew tells us in Matthew 12:17-18, that the above prophecies were fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth.
2. JESUS CHRIST WAS BEGOTTEN OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
We read in Luke 1:35 and Matthew 1:18, 20, “And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee; and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee: wherefore also that which is to be born shall be called holy, the Son of God.” As we have already seen, in regeneration the believer is begotten of God, but Jesus Christ was begotten of God in His original generation. He is the only begotten Son of God (John 3:16). It was entirely by the Spirit’s power working in Mary that the Son of God was formed within her. The regenerated man has a carnal nature received from his earthly father and a new nature imparted by God. Jesus Christ had only the one holy nature, that which in man is called the new nature.
3. THE HOLY SPIRIT AT JESUS CHRIST’S BAPTISM
But another transition occurred when Jesus was thirty years old. Up until that point Jesus had done no preaching, he had performed no miracles. Except for the fact that He was morally perfect, he had lived a rather normal life. But now He is ready to transition into His public ministry, and we come to the next great Holy Spirit event in the life of Jesus. Luke 3:21-22; Matthew 3:16; Mark 1:10 and John 1:32 tell the event: “Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased”. After this something has changed. From this point on Jesus is spoken of as being led and empowered by the Holy Spirit.
4. THE HOLY SPIRIT WITH JESUS CHRIST IN THE WILDERNESS
Jesus Christ was led by the Holy Spirit in His movements here upon earth. We read in Luke 4.1; Matthew 4:1; Mark 1:12, “And Jesus full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness.” Living as a man here upon earth and setting an example for us, each step of His life was under the Holy Spirit’s guidance. Jesus Christ met and overcame temptations as other men may meet and overcome them, in the power of the Holy Spirit. He was tempted and suffered through temptation (Hebrew 3:18), He was tempted in all points like as we are (Hebrew 4:15), but never once in any way did He yield to temptation. He was tempted entirely apart from sin (Hebrew 4:15), but He won His victories in a way that is open for all of us to win victory, in the power of the Holy Spirit.
5. JESUS CHRIST LIVED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT
Jesus Christ was anointed and fitted for service by the Holy Spirit. We read in Acts 10:38, “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with Him.” In Luke’s record of the earthly life of our Lord in Luke 4:14, we read “And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee, and there went out a fame of Him through all the region round about.” In a similar way Jesus said of Himself when speaking in the synagogue in Nazareth, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach good tidings unto the poor; He hath sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord” (Luke 4:18 -19). Further in Luke 10:21 we read, In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight. All these passages contain the one lesson, that it was by the especial anointing with the Holy Spirit that Jesus Christ was qualified for the service to which God had called Him.
6. JESUS CHRIST’S MINISTRY WAS EMPOWERED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT
The Spirit’s role is to glorify and confirm Christ to His people. We see that clearly in the words Jesus spoke in John 16:12-14 “I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He shall glorify Me; for He shall take of Mine, and shall disclose it to you.” (John 15:26 where Jesus says of the Spirit that “He will bear witness of Me.”) In His preaching the presence of the Holy Spirit was witnessed: The Holy Spirit abode upon Jesus in all His fullness and the words He spoke in consequence were the very words of God. We read in John 3: 34, “For He whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for He giveth not the Spirit by measure.” Moreover, Isaiah 61:1; Matthew 12:18; Luke 4:14-21; John 3:34; and Acts 1:2 reveal that the preaching of Jesus Christ was empowered by the Holy Spirit.
Jesus Christ wrought His miracles here on earth in the power of the Holy Spirit. In Matthew 12:28 and Luke 11:20, we read, “I cast out devils by the power of the Spirit of God.” Further we read in Acts 10:38 and Luke 5:17 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. Matthew 12:15-18 says, But when Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself from thence: and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all; And charged them that they should not make him known: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles.
6. JESUS CHRIST WAS VINDICATED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT
In 1 Timothy 3:16 we read, “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory”. For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit (1 Peter 3:18); And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead (Romans 1:4). It was by the power of the Holy Spirit that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead. Further we read in Roman 8:11, “But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you.”
7. JESUS CHRIST PROMISES THE HOLY SPIRIT TO HIS DISCIPLES
In Luke 11:13 we read, “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. (Matthew 10:20). In the Bible, many places such as Mark 13:11; Luke 12:12; John 7:39; John 14: 26; John 15:26 and John 16:13-15 we find the promises of Jesus Christ about the Holy Spirit to his disciples. In John 14:16-20 Jesus says, “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. After a little while the world will behold Me no more; but you will behold Me; because I live, you shall live also. In that day you shall know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.” In the familiar words of Matthew 28:20 Jesus says, “…lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” How is Jesus with us until the end of the age? Once again, it is through the Spirit. Galatians 2:20 says, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.” How does Christ live in us? Through the Holy Spirit! In two places the Holy Spirit is actually referred to as “the Spirit of Christ” (Romans 8:9 and 1 Peter 1:11).
8. JESUS CHRIST GIVES THE HOLY SPIRIT TO HIS DISCIPLES
In John 20:22 we read (before our Lord’s departure from this earth) “And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost”. Moreover, on the day of Pentecost what had been long anticipated finally happened. The disciples were baptized with the Holy Spirit. Speaking of Jesus, Peter declared to the gathering crowd at the pouring out of the Spirit at Pentecost, “having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear.” (Acts 2:33)
As one reward for the successful completion of the mission Christ was given the Holy Spirit to pour out on His followers to empower them to continue to fulfil the task that He had begun. The pouring out of the Holy Spirit must be viewed as part of Christ’s work, just like His teaching and His miracles and His atoning death and His resurrection and His ascension. It is through the Spirit that miracle working power was given to some in the church after our Lord’s departure from this earth (1 Corinthians 12: 9-10), and in the power of the same Spirit, Jesus Christ wrought His miracles. 1Corinthians 15:45 says it this way: “So also it is written, ‘The first man, Adam, became a living soul.’ The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.” Jesus is referred to as a life-giving spirit. What does this mean? Jesus lived His life and now comes back to us, not in body but in Spirit, that is, in the Holy Spirit, who is the giver of spiritual life to us.