THE DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY (15)
The Holy Spirit
The Relationship of the Holy Spirit with the Son of God
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”
These words, read by Christ himself in the Synagogue from Isaiah 61:1, at the commencement of His public ministry, highlight the importance of the relationship which He enjoyed with the Holy Spirit. All that He accomplished in the days of His flesh, He accomplished through the ministry of the 3rd Triune Person. This immediately emphasizes the individuality of the Holy Ghost. He is distinct from Christ and the Father, performing His own unique function in the economy of God. As Christ accomplished His earthly ministry, as the Redeemer of Mankind, it was wholly necessary for Him to have the ministry of the Holy Ghost. Therefore the Holy Ghost had an indispensable role in the ministry of Christ as He served His Father in human flesh. As the one who represented us in His perfect humanity, Christ’s relationship with the Spirit has much to teach us about our need of the Holy Ghost. He possessed the Spirit as a man for us, so that we could enjoy the Spirit also. There were also key differences between the portion of the Spirit that He enjoyed with that which is our lot in this world. The key lesson we need to appreciate from this study is that the work of the Holy Spirit and the ministry of Jesus Christ are inextricably linked.
The Supply of the Spirit to Christ
“For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.”
As the Son of God He received an unlimited supply of the Spirit, which we as sinful people are incapable of receiving. His infinite portion, however, is associated with His words. As we read the words of Christ, let us reflect upon the power which accompanies them.
The Birth of Christ
“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.”
“But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.”
“And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.”
The Virgin Birth involved the Son of God, the Logos, being made in the likeness of flesh, in the womb of Mary by the Holy Spirit.
The Baptism of Christ
“And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him”
“And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him.”
The dove is the symbol of peace and promise, being the bird that returned with the olive branch to the ark. The descent of the Spirit at Christ’s baptism marks the true beginning of his public ministry, teaching us that ministry must be accompanied by the Holy Ghost. The abiding of the dove upon our Lord would characterise His three years of intense and suffering labour.
The Guidance of Christ
“And immediately the Spirit driveth him into the wilderness.”
He was led by the Spirit into the terrible wilderness temptations at the hands of Lucifer. On occasions the Holy Ghost guides us into difficult paths, which God uses to mould and shape us into useful servants.
The Death of Christ
“…who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God…”
As the Holy Spirit was present during the death and sacrifice of Christ, ministering to Him in ways that we cannot appreciate.
The Resurrection of Christ
“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.”
The Spirit’s role at the resurrection is paralleled with the work whereby He regenerates sinners bringing life where death once reigned.
The Flow from Christ
“I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.”
“And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.”
“And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost”
“And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.”
The Christ who received the Spirit without measure, gives us the Holy Spirit. The Comforter, as we have already discovered proceeds from Him. In these passages He, personally, is involved baptising with fire, breathing upon the disciples and commanding them to wait and tarry until they be “endued with power from on high”.