Summary: Jesus lived as He wants us to live, full of the Spirit of God. What did that look like in His own life while here?
IN THE LIFE OF JESUS
15 "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." 18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. 20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit."
The Old Testament line of prophets ends with John the Baptist. Here it is prophesied that he shall be filled with the Holy Spirit inside of his mother. The fullness of this Presence for so long in this human being is probably what earned him Jesus’ highest recommendations. Yet he stops short of claiming John’s superiority beyond that, even commenting that the least of Kingdom people will be greater than John. John worked no miracles. No signs and wonders. No healings. No one raised from the dead. No outpourings from him to others. Only a message of the death required in repentance followed by a symbolic watery grave. True kingdom-anointed folks do all of the above and a whole lot more.
But of course, that line of reasoning doesn’t follow if the gifts are not for today. Today we have great preachers, bringing many to repentance and water baptism. How then can they be said to be greater than John? John had the Holy Spirit all of his life. No follower of Jesus can claim this. So how are we greater if we do not have access to greater power? Would holiness and separation from the world fulfill Jesus’ words? But can anyone lay claim to a holier life than was John’s?
As an aside, it is good to reflect on the nature of the unborn here. Anyone that can be filled with the Spirit of God ought not to be murdered. John was not a fetus. He was fully human and full of God. He was a sacred trust given to Elizabeth. Mom herself benefited from this bundle of joy, as John leaped up in the presence of Christ, a similar unborn, that he perceived in Mary when she visited (Luke 1:39-45). Immediately Elizabeth was filled with that same Spirit, and prophesied. It’s contagious. Being around those who are filled with the Spirit is a privilege of relatively few.
Speaking of Mary, the Spirit’s work is to produce, or re-produce the Son of God in us. Those who claim to be filled with the Spirit today ought to be producing the life of Jesus Christ both in character and in power. What sort of image does your Christ and mine present to the world around us? That’s not an encouragement to try harder, that’s a mandate to be filled with the Spirit, whatever it takes.
13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. 14 And John tried to prevent Him, saying, "I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?" 15 But Jesus answered and said to him, "Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." Then he allowed Him. 16 When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. 17 And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."
It was not a dove, you know. The visible Spirit creature descended like doves descend, graciously, beautifully. But it was not a bird. However it looked, it descended on the Son of God after He was baptized in water by John. Can it not be said that God’s Spirit is the seal for all of us, to show the approval of the Father? If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His, says the apostle. And how does one know one has received that guarantee of Christ’s ownership? Should there not be some outward evidence? Was there not such in every case in the Book of Acts? Can God enter a human without the human knowing it?
33 "I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, 'Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.' "