After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him. – Vs 16
Recently, while doing a study on the role of the Holy Spirit in the believer’s life, I ran across this verse. While I had seen it before, this time I saw it in a whole new light. What struck me was that Jesus was not just being “christened” by the Holy Spirit, He was being filled and indwelt by the Holy Spirit in order to begin His earthly ministry. In verse 1 of the very next chapter, Matthew records that “Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” In the book that bears his name, Luke records this event in this way: “Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led around by the Spirit in the wilderness” (Luke 4:1).
Jesus, the Son of God, was filled with the Spirit of God, so that He might faithfully and obediently do the will of His Father for which He had been sent. What jumped out at me is that in being filled and led by the Spirit, Jesus was revealing to us and modeling for us just how we are to live the life we have been called to live as His followers. At the point of belief, we receive that same Holy Spirit. And He comes into our lives to provide the same guidance, comfort, and power that He gave to Jesus Himself. But there is a difference between being indwelt with the Spirit and controlled by the Spirit. All believers have the Spirit dwelling in them. It happens at the point of salvation. But not all believers are filled with the Spirit. The difference? Filling means being controlled by the Spirit. In Ephesians 5:18, Paul tells the Ephesian believers, “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit.”
Paul is giving a command. He wants his readers to be “under the influence” of the Holy Spirit. Just as someone who gets drunk is under the influence of alcohol and does things he normally wouldn’t do, so someone under the control of the Spirit will behave in ways that are not normal or natural. They are subjecting themselves to the will of the Father and allowing the Holy Spirit to guide and empower them. When we are filled or controlled by the Spirit as Jesus was, it produces Christ-like character in our lives.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also behave in accordance with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, being jealous of one another. – Galatians 5:22-23 (NET)
Jesus lived His earthly life completely controlled by the Spirit. In doing so, He was constantly in line with the will of His Father. He didn’t live according to His own desires or under the influence of his flesh. In Galatians 5:16, Paul gives us the key to living our lives in the same way: “But I say, live by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desires of the flesh.” Like Jesus, we are to live by the Spirit. The Spirit lives within us, but we must listen to his direction. We must allow the Spirit to guide and direct us, to teach us, to illuminate the Scriptures to us, and to increasingly reveal the truth about Christ to us. The Holy Spirit, who filled Jesus, is ready and willing to fill us, so that we might live the same kind of life that He did: faithful, powerful, obedient, and pleasing to God the Father.
You should have the same attitude toward one another that Christ Jesus had, who though he existed in the form of God did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped, but emptied himself by taking on the form of a slave, by looking like other men, and by sharing in human nature. He humbled himself, by becoming obedient to the point of death – even death on a cross! – Philippians 2:5-8 (NET)
Jesus became a man, just like me, so that He might live the life that I was created to live, but couldn’t because of the influence of sin. While He lived as a man on this earth, Jesus did everything under the influence and power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus had set aside His divine attributes. He had willingly chosen to “shelve” His Godly powers so that He might truly live as a human being on this earth. He didn’t become any less God, but He chose to take on the full characteristics of humanity, so that He might be the perfect sacrifice for the sins of humanity. But He wasn’t defenseless. He had the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit at His disposal 24/7. And He willingly listened to and obeyed the Spirit every step of the way – all the way to Calvary. And I have that same power available to me – within me. And so do you.
Father, thank You for the presence of Your indwelling Spirit. Thank You that I have available to me the same Spirit Who led Jesus during His days here on this earth. I have the same power available to me. He guides me and directs me in the same way He did the Son of God. May I learn to lean on Him more and more. Amen