The Bible: Studies by David Frampton

The Messiah and the Holy Spirit

The Messiah and the Holy Spirit

David FramptonThe Bible tells us about God, the Maker, Preserver, and Ruler of everything else. It is God telling who he is, what he likes, and what he has done, is doing, and will surely do. The infinite God tells us that he is a Three Person Being: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This is very hard for us to understand, yet it answers many questions in the story God tells in the Bible. In Isaiah 42:1 we hear God the Father speaking of the One that he calls his “Servant” and which the New Testament Scriptures tell us is his one and only Son. And we hear him talking of Another, whom he calls “my Spirit”, whom he will put on his Servant. So then, in this text we encounter the Three Persons of the Trinity.

But more than that, God the Father tells us through Isaiah the prophet what his Son and Servant, the Messiah, would do. Before he announces the main points of the plan, he exalts the Servant as the one he upholds, his chosen one and the one in whom he delights, and the One on whom he puts his Spirit. We looked at the first three points in a previous post on Isaiah, and now we probe into this fourth point. It is not something in God’s story that we ought to rush past or to forget, because it helps us understand the good news better, as well as the Christian way of life.

Christ, the Servant of God, would have the Spirit as his “inseparable companion”. Consider three stages of the Spirit’s work in the life of Jesus the Messiah.

The Spirit was there at his virgin birth and growth. The Holy Spirit came upon her and his power overshadowed her (Luke 1:35). Though the Spirit enabled many barren women in Old Testament times to conceive and bear children, in making true humanity for the Son of God he works through a virgin woman. This is the first work in the new creation. The first Adam was made from the dust of the ground, but the last Adam comes from the Spirit through a virgin, so that he can be holy, without personal sin, guilt, and condemnation. Consider what John said of Jesus (John 3:31). Since Jesus was truly human, he went through the normal process of human development. In all this the Holy Spirit rested upon him (Isaiah 11:2; Luke 2:40, 52).

The Spirit was with him at his baptism, temptation, and ministry. The Holy Spirit came down from heaven like a dove and remained on Jesus at his baptism. Three lines of OT teaching converge in this coming of the Spirit on him. As the Spirit hovered over the waters of the old creation (Genesis 1:2), so he comes down as Jesus was in the water. Second, as the dove returns with a symbol of new life to Noah (Genesis 8:11), so he points to Jesus as the source of new life. Third, a dove was a sin offering for the poor (Leviticus 5:7), so Jesus would be the sin offering for the poor. This descent by the Spirit also testified that Jesus was the Son of God (Luke 3:22; John 1:32-34). Immediately after his baptism, the Holy Spirit led Jesus out into the wilderness to do spiritual battle against the devil (Luke 4:1). When Jesus had defeated Satan, he went from place to place, preaching the good news and doing many miraculous signs by the power of the Spirit of the Lord (Matthew 12:28). All this was evidence that God’s kingdom (saving reign) had come and that the promised time, the year of the Lord’s favor had arrived (Luke 4:19-21). So then, the Lord’s Servant Jesus (Acts 3:13) served God with the joy of the Holy Spirit (Luke 10:21).

The Spirit acted powerfully at his death, resurrection, and ascension. When our great high priest Jesus offered himself as the final sacrifice for sin, he did it through the eternal Spirit (Hebrews 9:14). When he rose from the dead, he was declared to be Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness (Romans 1:4). The age of the new covenant and Christ’s powerful lordship began! And so he poured out the Holy Spirit on his believing people as evidence that he reigns on David’s throne at the right hand of the Father (Acts 2:29-36).

In Jesus and his inseparable companion, the Spirit, the age of fulfillment arrived. As Paul says, “Now is the time of God’s favor; now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2). Now is the time for you to be reconciled to God.

Think also about the Messiah and his anointing by the Spirit (Isaiah 61:3; Luke 4:18; Acts 10:38). Jesus is our prophet. His teaching forms the basis of our lives. This is what we see first in the Four Gospels. He taught God’s message about his saving reign (kingdom), and his miraculous signs performed by the Spirit testified to him as the great prophet of God. Jesus is our high priest. His atoning work secured our salvation, and his intercession guarantees our forgiveness. The events of his crucifixion and resurrection are the key events of the Four Gospels. His finished work provides righteousness for everyone who believes in him (2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus is our king. He rules over us and defends us. In the Four Gospels we see evidence of his authority over all things, and in his ascension we see that he is Lord and reigning on David’s throne. As Ascended Lord, he poured out the Holy Spirit on his people—those who repent and believe in him.

In the Anointed Jesus, we have every benefit we need. As we start this work week, I ask you, “Are you in the Lord Jesus Christ by faith?”

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