Isaiah 42:1 ESV
Behold my servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen, in whom my soul delights;
I have put my Spirit upon him;
he will bring forth justice to the nations.
The Bible tells us about God, the Maker, Sustainer, 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 our text we hear God the Father speaking of the One that he calls his “Servant” and which the NTS tell us is his one and only Son. And we hear him talking of Another, who 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 last week, and now we must 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.
I. Christ, the Servant of God, would have the Spirit as his “inseparable companion”
A. Three stages of the Spirit’s work in the life of Jesus the Messiah
1. His virgin birth and growth – The Holy Spirit came upon her and his power overshadowed her (Lk 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 (Jn 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 (Is 11:2; Lk 2:40, 52).
2. 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.
First, As the Spirit hovered over the waters of the old creation (Gen 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 (Gen 8:11), so he points to Jesus as the source of new life.
Third, a dove was a sin offering for the poor (Lev 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 (Lk 3:22; Jn 1:32-34). Immediately after his baptism, the Holy Spirit led Jesus out into the wilderness to do spiritual battle against the devil (Lk 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 (Mt 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 (Lk 4:19-21). So then, the Lord’s Servant Jesus (Ac 3:13) served God with the joy of the Holy Spirit (Lk 10:21).
3. 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 (Heb 9:14). When he rose from the dead, he was declared to be Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness (Rm 1:4). The age of the new covenant and his 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 (Ac 2:29-36).
Point: In Jesus and his inseparable companion, the Spirit, the age of fulfillment came. As Paul says, “Now is the time of God’s favor; now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor 6:2). Now is the time for you to be reconciled to God.
B. The Messiah and his anointing by the Spirit (Is 61:3; Lk 4:18; Ac 10:38)
1. 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 sings performed by the Spirit testified to him as the great prophet of God.
2. 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 Cor 5:21).
3. 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.
Apply: In the Anointed Jesus, we have every benefit we need. Are you in him by faith?
II. Christ, the Holy Spirit, and the new covenant people
A. Christ is the spring (Rm 5:17) from which the Spirit flows to us.
1. Christ is the Word from which all grace comes. The law or old covenant was God’s promise through types and shadows pointing to Christ of greater grace that would come when Christ came and made his dwelling among people (Jn 1:14-16). In Christ the old way of the written code is replaced by the new way of the Spirit (Rm 7:6).
2. Christ the Word is God’s final revelation (Heb 1:1-2). The Spirit took from that full revelation and made Christ known through the teaching of the apostles (Jn16:14-15).
3. Christ the Water of life is the source of the Holy Spirit for all who drink or believe in him (Jn 7:37-39).
B. The Spirit gives us grace from Christ.
1. When the Spirit develops holiness of life in a believer, he tells them that Christ is raised and ascended and they in him, and so they ought with hearts and minds to set on things above, not on earthly things (Col 3:1-4).
2. When a believer faces the challenges of hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic things of this old creation, the Spirit reminds that in Christ are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Col 2:3) and that we have fullness in Christ (Col 2:9-10).
3. When a struggling Christian wonders how they can give with contentment for the benefit of others and the spread of the gospel, the Spirit tells him or her that “I can do all this through him who gives me strength” (Ph 4:13).
4. When we have sinned and feel the threatening of a guilty conscience, the Sprit reminds us that we have an advocate, Jesus Christ the righteous one (1 Jn 2:1).
5. When we would experience fellowship or friendship with God, the Spirit pours out the love of God that is in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Pastor Dave Frampton
The faithful and spiritually profitable labors of Dave Frampton are featured here at CMC. As a Bible teacher he excels. Teachers and student alike will profit much from his labor in the God’s Word. Visit Newtown Square Baptist Church.