The Spirit is evident in the ministry of Christ from His baptism to His ascension. No part of His life, teaching, or mighty deeds can be divorced from the personal presence and power of the Spirit. There are eight aspects the Spirit played out in the life and work of Christ Jesus, most of which are recorded in the Gospel of Luke, with some parallels in the other gospels.
1. The Spirit’s overshadowing of the virgin Mary in the incarnation of Jesus (Luke 1:20, 35)
2. The promise of the Spirit in the preaching of John the Baptist (Luke 3:15-17; cf. Matthew 3:11-12; Mark 1:7-8)
3. The Spirit revealing the Savior’s mission through Simeon’s prediction (Luke 2:25-32)
4. The baptism of Jesus (Luke 3:22; Matthew 3:16; Mark 1:10)
5. The Spirit leading, driving Jesus into the desert to be tempted by Satan (Luke 4:1-2; Matthew 4:1; Mark 1:12)
6. The public ministry of Jesus “in the power of the Spirit” (Luke 4:14-21; Isaiah 61:1-2)
7. The exorcism of demons “by the finger of God,” that is “the Spirit of God” (Luke 11:20; Matthew 12:28)
8. The Spirit in Christ brought glory to Him, taking what is His and declaring it to His disciples (John 16:14)
The descent of the Holy Spirit upon Christ when John baptized Him cannot make a change in Him. From His incarnation, Jesus was one hundred percent God and one hundred percent man— Immanuel—God with us (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23). Therefore, the descent of the Holy Spirit upon Him marks the beginning of His ministry. Following His baptism, the Holy Spirit will effect the outward signs of Messiahship.
Clearly, the gospel writers recognized that Jesus’ earthly ministry was of the Spirit of God. Consequently, what Jesus predicted of the Spirit for others was true of Him. While recognizing the uniqueness of the Messiah, the believer discovers that Christ is the prototype of his or her own experience, for the same Spirit, who was active upon Christ, is now active in every born again believer.
No person can do God’s service without the empowering of His Spirit. If Christ needed to depend upon the Spirit, every disciple of His is even more dependent upon the Spirit.