Jesus filled with the Holy Spirit



One very precious aspect of the work of the Holy Spirit concerns the purpose of the life and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Clearly His delight and work is to present Christ and magnify Him in the hearts of men. We read in John 15:26, ?But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, He shall testify of (or concerning) me (Christ),? and in 16:14 the Lord tells us that ?He shall glorify Me: for He shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.?  In the Person and ministry of the Lord Jesus, therefore, we would expect to find the definite and active working of the Holy Spirit, and we do find it as we look at the precious  Word of God.


We can find the identification of  the Holy Spirit with Christ long before the incarnation. We read in I Peter 3:18-20 of an event that took place long before the coming of Christ into the world. Peter, through the Holy Spirit, reveals truth to us about the men whose spirits are now in prison because of their disobedience in the days of Noah. We find out that the Spirit Who quickened the Lord Jesus from the dead also preached to them while they were yet in this life.  Some think that the Lord preached to them after His resurrection while they were in prison. The question should be asked, ?What was preached to them and why?? if that were the case. The point of the apostle is that these believers were in similar conditions as were true in the days of Noah. They also were enduring persecution and suffering from a world of unbelief and opposition to the truth they embraced as strongly as did Noah. They also bore the stigma of being small numerically, of being in the minority. Peter was reminding them that the same was true in Noah?s day, when only eight souls were saved through the water. In addition, it was the same Spirit of Christ Who preached in Noah?s day Who was the Spirit in them in their day. He was empowering them to preach Christ and the truth. In addition, in Noah?s day, Christ was not physically present and the believers were small in number; this was also true in the day of these saints to whom he is writing.

Peter also uses the same expression in I Peter 1:11. There we read that the Spirit of Christ in the prophets signified things concerning the Christ in His sufferings (those belonging to Him) and the glory that should follow. It was the Holy Spirit preparing the way for Christ to come through the Messianic prophecies pointing forward to Him. Through them He was making ready a people for the coming of the Lord. So we can see that God is emphasizing that the delight and purpose of the Holy Spirit is to point men to the Saviour and Lord, never to speak from Himself or attract to Himself (John 16:13-15).


It is evident that in a sacred and mysterious way, the Holy Spirit was the Divine Instrument in the incarnation of the Lord Jesus. In two references, Matt.1:20 and Luke 1:35, we are impressed with the Divine agency connected with this unique and precious event. It was by the power of the Holy Spirit, controlling all the conditions and events surrounding the conception and birth of our blessed Lord, that this wondrous Gift was given. The One coming into the world was ?Emmanuel? (Matt.1:23) and ?God manifest in flesh,? (I Tim. 3:16, John 1:14). He was Holy from eternity, Holy in His birth and life, impeccable within or without, and every aspect of His Person was guarded by the Holy Spirit. The mystery of the incarnation is more than we would dare try to explain, but we are sure that He Who was born of Mary was the eternal Son of God. As we often hear expressed,

  ?As holy at His birth,

    As on His throne supreme,

   His shoulders held up heaven and earth,

    While Mary held up Him.?


He was the Divine Meal offering, (Lev.2:1-11) the fine flour into which the oil was mingled, being permeated throughout with that precious ingredient. So our blessed Lord was ?filled with the Holy Spirit? (Luke 4:1, Isa.11:2, 42:1) always, continuously and without any limitation. It was not until the coming of the Lord Jesus that there was One in Whom the Holy Spirit could dwell and operate without any hindrance or interruption. He was the Perfect Man, fully dependent on His God, who moved continuously in obedience to His word, submitting  to His will.

The Lord was also like the aspect of the Meal Offering upon Whom the oil was poured, for He was anointed by the Holy Spirit (Lk.4:18, Acts 4:27, 10:38, Heb.1:9).  He was marked out in this way as the genuine Messiah, set apart for public work and office before God. This act seems to be linked with the descent of the Holy Spirit as the Dove at His baptism (Lk. 3:22) when it rested upon Him and the approval of God was expressed in the voice from heaven. In the Old Testament, anointing was linked with the official commencement of  the public work and office of the king (I Sam.16:13, I Kings 19:15-16), the priest (Lev. 8:12) and the prophet (I Kings 19:16). All these offices were perfectly fulfilled and displayed in the Lord Jesus in contrast to all others who were limited or who failed in their work for God. Only in Him were combined and expressed all three offices, for He alone is the Prophet, Priest and King.


The perfect and full display of unmarred and sinless humanity in the Lord Jesus was marked by the complete, unhindered operation of the Holy Spirit. In contrast to all others, there was no limitation or restriction on the Holy Spirit caused by any resistance or lack of spiritual exercise on His part. There was clearly and absolutely no sin that would grieve the holy nature of the Spirit, as is often true of us. Rather there was perfect liberty for the Spirit to function and control as He would. Thus we see the Lord, immediately upon His baptism, being driven or led by the Spirit into the wilderness to meet the devil (Mk.1:12,  Lk. 4:1), as a result of being full of the Holy Spirit. He was fully submitted to the control of the Spirit, even to the point of moving into direct conflict with the devil. The perfect display of true Manhood that marked the Lord Jesus was in direct contrast to all other men, who do not know complete submission to the will of God.

We notice that in the life of the Lord Jesus,  the Scriptures record that He did miracles in the power of the Holy Spirit (Matt.12:28), but it is also clear that miracles were performed through His own power. There is no difficulty in this, for in His ministry among men as Son of Man He manifested true condescension. He had come down from glory in voluntary self-humbling, so that His power was intimately linked with the power of the Holy Spirit working in Him. But He remained and always was God with the power to deliver men who were suffering and to defeat the power of the devil. He displayed such harmonious working between Himself and the Spirit that on every occasion it could be said that the works were the works of God (John 9:3-4, Luke 11:20).


One Scripture, Heb. 9:14, seems to link the Holy Spirit with the sacrifice and death of the Lord Jesus. There is some controversy whether the Holy Spirit is meant by this verse, since the definite article is not present in the text. This suggests (according to some) that this is a reference to the personal spirit of Christ, wholly involved in offering up Himself in the sacrifice of Calvary. However, many writers confirm that the absence of the definite article does not require us to conclude that this does not refer to the Holy Spirit. ?The use or absence of the article in the original where the ?Holy Spirit? is spoken of cannot always be decided by grammatical rules,  nor can the presence or absence of the article alone determine whether the reference is to the ?Holy Spirit.??  (W. E. Vine, ?Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words?).  Examples can be given where the Person of the Holy Spirit is in view but the definite article is not in the text, such as Gal.5:25, I Pet.1:2, Acts 19:2, etc.  In addition, we quote J.N.Darby (?Synopsis of the Bible?) when he says, ?He offered Himself to God-but as moved by the power, and according to the perfection of the eternal Spirit. All the motives that governed this action, and the accomplishment of the fact according to those motives, were purely and perfectly those of the Holy Ghost; that is, absolutely divine in their perfection, but of the Holy Ghost acting in a man (a man without sin who, born and living ever by the power of the Holy Ghost, had never known sin, who, being exempt from it by birth, never allowed it to enter into Him.?

We would surely expect that with the full interworking of all the Persons of the Trinity in other aspects of our Lord?s life, this would also be true in His death.  This great work purposed from eternity with all its importance, and accomplished by the Lord Jesus, fully involved the Holy Spirit.


Three references seem to link the Holy Spirit with the resurrection of Christ. They likewise are subject to different interpretations whether the Holy Spirit Himself is being referred to. However, we feel that Romans 1:4 is likely referring to the Holy Spirit in the expression ?Spirit of Holiness;? however, a further complication has to do with what is meant by the ?resurrection from the dead.? Perhaps the term could be translated ?resurrection of dead ones,? referring to the power displayed during the life of Christ by which dead ones were raised. However, some feel this term means ?dead-raising? which would include the resurrection of the Lord Jesus as well as others.

Romans 8:11 speaks of the ?Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead.? The question here is whether it is saying that the Spirit raised up Jesus from the dead or that God raised Him. Possibly it is simply saying that God raised Him from the dead and that it is the Spirit of God Who now works in and dwells in the believer. If this is the case, this scripture does not tell us that the Spirit raised up Jesus from the dead, although that seems to be what is implied.

The other reference is I Peter 3:18 in which we read that the Lord Jesus was ?put to death in the flesh, but quickened (made alive) by the Spirit.? It seems that this verse clearly states the activity of the Holy Spirit to raise the Lord Jesus after His death, though there are some who would not see it that way. To the simple believer, there is ample evidence for the activity of the Spirit in Christ?s resurrection. As a result, we appreciate the mighty power of God demonstrated through the Spirit to raise our Lord from the dead in a mighty victory accomplished for us.  Because of this, we have a living Saviour now at God?s right hand.

The coming of the Holy Spirit into the world in full accord with the promise given (Acts 1:4, John 14:26, 15:26, 16:13-15) was a continuation of the work of Christ. The present work of the Holy Spirit will occupy us in future chapters.  We can see that His purpose always is to draw men to Christ, to exalt and glorify the Lord Jesus. He presents Him to us so that our souls might bow to give Him the place He should have in our hearts and lives. In this sense, the present work of the Spirit is being done in connection with the Lord Jesus to bring that work to completion according to God?s eternal purposes of grace.

"Fairer than all the earth-born race,

Perfect in comeliness Thou are:

Replenished are Thy lips with grace,

And full of love Thy tender heart;

God ever blest! we bow the knee,

And own all fulness dwells in Thee."

                           Charles Wesley   (BHB 420)