7. The Spirit of God in the Life of Jesus

700 years before the birth of Jesus it was foretold by Prophet Isaiah that the Spirit of God would rest upon Jesus. This is one of the loveliest descriptions of the Spirit of God in the entire Bible:

“The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him–
the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and of power,
the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord”–(Isaiah 11:2 NIV).

Here, in verse 1, Jesus is described as: “A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit” (NIV). This refers to the royal descent of Jesus from the House of David.

And the prophecy makes it very clear that this Branch [Jesus] shall be identified by the Spirit of God resting on Him. This we find fulfilled during the baptism of Jesus at the River Jordan when the Spirit of God rested on Him like a dove (Ref. Matthew 3:16, Mark 1:10, Luke 3:22, John 1:32).

It is recorded that it happened “as he was praying” (Luke 3:21). And God’s approval and favor was made publicly known at that moment: “And a voice from heaven said, `This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased’ ” (Matthew 3:17 NIV / See also Mark 1:11, Luke 3:22).

Thus Jesus’ public life was inaugurated when the Spirit of God came and rested on Him!

I. Jesus Had Joy Through the Spirit

Jesus’ life was characterized by joy. In Luke 10:21, we read that Jesus, “full of joy through the Holy Spirit” praised His Father in Heaven. The secret of His joy was communion with His Father through the indwelling Spirit of God.

About the joy that Jesus would have after His resurrection, David had written almost 1000 years ago (See Acts 2:25–28). There he said: “You have made known to me the path of life; you fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand” (Psalm 16:11 NIV).

The writer of Hebrews says that Jesus endured the cross scorning its shame “for the joy set before him” (Hebrews 12:2)! This joy was exhibited in the life of Jesus even during His life on earth. And the secret was that He was “full of joy through the Holy Spirit”

Another important thing to be noted is that Jesus was able to take His joy into the streets. On the other hand, today many people believe that leading a holy life is to cut themselves off from people by having a serious look on their faces. How untrue!

Jesus was without sin. But He mingled with sinners: “The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, `Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and “sinners” ‘ ” (Luke 7:34 NIV). And His mingling with them was characterized by joy.

This is what we need today: “Joy through the Holy Spirit!” This is a joy that we can take with us to the streets. It is a joy that attracts sinners to Jesus.

II. Jesus Was Led By the Spirit

It is recorded that immediately after Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan where the Spirit of God came on Him like a dove; the Spirit of God led Jesus into the desert to be tempted by the devil (Ref. Matthew 4:1 and Luke 4:1).

Mark adds that Jesus went full of the Holy Spirit. That means that Jesus was fully under the influence of the Spirit of God.

After His fast for forty days and forty nights when He was hungry the tempter came. It should be interesting to note that the devil chose a moment of genuine need (hunger) to approach Jesus. Possibly the devil does that to us even today surprising us with a temptation when we are in need.

But Jesus met the devil by quoting the Scriptures which is the sword of the Spirit of God. Since Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit it is most likely that the Spirit of God reminded Jesus of the right Scriptures and enabled Him to quote it with sword-like power (though the role of the Holy Spirit has not been mentioned specifically).

And one more important point is that Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit (Ref. Luke 4:14).

The practical application for us is that we should yearn to be led by the Spirit of God. And you gain confidence to be led by Him when you get to know Him better. The Bible says that: “… those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God” (Romans 8:14 NIV).

So a distinguishing mark of a true Christian is that he is led by the Spirit of God. Jesus has set us such a example.

III. The Teaching of Jesus Came in the Power of God’s Spirit

Now Jesus began His teaching ministry by reading from the scroll of the prophet Isaiah: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor” (Luke 4:18 NIV).

After reading that portion Jesus further said: “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:21b NIV). This is how He began His teaching ministry.

Two things people noted about His teaching. One, they were amazed at the gracious words that came from His lips (Ref. Luke 4:22). Second, they were amazed at His teaching, because His message had authority. They even noted that with authority and power He drove out evil spirits (Ref. Luke 4:32, 36).

And when Jesus taught and explained the Scriptures “The large crowd listened to him with delight” (Mark 12:37b NIV).

As you look intently at Jesus’ teaching you’ll find that the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, and the Spirit of knowledge that was resting on Jesus was enabling Him to proclaim the good news with such grace and authority and power.

The Prophet Isaiah had prophesied about the Servant of the Lord (Jesus) in this fashion: “The Sovereign Lord has given me an instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught” (Isaiah 50:4 NIV).

Isn’t it possible that the Spirit of God taught Jesus during His early morning prayer times (Ref. Mark 1:35 NIV)? This was the secret of the instructed tongue of our Lord Jesus. Even today it sustains the weary!

Luke writes that Jesus gave instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles He had chosen (Acts 1:2). That is also a point to be noted.

IV. Jesus’ Mighty Healing Power Was Through the Power of the Spirit of God

God declared during the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt thus: “I am the Lord, who heals you” (Exodus 15:26z NIV). Jesus demonstrated it during His life on earth. And the Holy Spirit was active in bringing healing to the people.

The Bible records thus: “And the power of the Lord was present for him to heal the sick” (Luke 5:17b NIV). There is no doubt that “the power of the Lord” refers to the Holy Spirit (Ref. Luke 1:35).

On another occasion we read about a woman who had bleeding for twelve years, whom no one could heal, come and touch Jesus when the crowds where pressing against Him. As soon as she touched the edge of His cloak, her bleeding stopped immediately. But Jesus asked: “Who touched me?”

Even when Peter pointed out that the crowds where pressing against Him, Jesus said: “Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.” The woman was healed because she had touched the cloak of Jesus in faith. (Ref. Luke 8:43–48. See also Mark 5:25–34).

V. Jesus’ High Esteem of the Holy Spirit

At one time Jesus said: “Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come” (Matthew 12:32 NIV).

This is a much difficult passage. Before we try to understand the passage, the point to be noted is this: Jesus had high esteem for the Spirit of God. Each one of us would be wise to follow the example of Jesus.

Now coming to the context. This particular passage can be best understood if you read the prophecy of Isaiah in Isaiah 35: 3–6. There it is said that “your God will come.”

And when that happens the eyes of the blind will be opened, the ears of the deaf will be unstopped, the lame will leap like a deer and the mute tongue will shout for joy. Well, these were the miracles that Jesus was doing (see Matthew 12:22). And people were wondering whether this was the God, the Son of David, whom they had waited for (see Matthew 12:23)?

Even though the Pharisees (religious leaders of the day) knew all this (who knew these Scriptures and were seeing it fulfilled right before their eyes) they were telling that Jesus was performing these miracles with the help of Satan.

That means that their sin was a deliberate refusal to acknowledge the Holy Spirit of God who was resting on Jesus and enabling Him to perform these miracles. Not only that they were attributing the work of the Spirit of God to Satan. This was their sin.

But Jesus said: “But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you” (Matthew 12:28 NIV). So, Jesus acknowledged that it was the Spirit of God in Him that was enabling Him to drive out demons.

Therefore be careful and warned. Do not speak against the Holy Spirit. And be careful not to say that the work of the Holy Spirit is a work of the devil.

Coming to the practical application of this point note that Jesus never talked about the Spirit of God as just a power. Instead He talked about the Spirit of God as One who demonstrates the power of God. At the same time Jesus showed us how gentle a person the Holy Spirit is.

Therefore “… Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God” (Ephesians 4:30a NIV)!

VI. Jesus Taught Much About the Holy Spirit

It should also be noted that it was from Jesus’ lips that much of the teaching about the Holy Spirit has come to us:

Jesus taught that the Spirit of God is like wind that blows wherever it wants to and it is the Spirit of God that makes the born again experience possible (John 3:8). He taught that God will give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him and those who believe in Him (Luke 11:13, John 7:39).

He taught that “The Spirit gives life” (John 6:63) and that the Spirit of God is the Counselor and the Spirit of truth (John 14:16, 17). Jesus further taught that the Holy Spirit would convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment (John 16:8) and that the Spirit would bring glory to Jesus (John 16:14).

One of the final things He said to His disciples was to wait for the gift of the Holy Spirit which God the Father had promised; and that they will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.

One phrase needs to be noted here: “Which you have heard me speak about” (Acts 1:4). So here Jesus was referring to all that He had taught about the Spirit of God earlier.

Finally Jesus told them that they will receive power when the Holy Spirit came on them and that they will be Jesus’ witnesses (Acts 1:8).

On one occasion Peter was telling about the fact that the Holy Spirit came upon Gentiles too; he said: “Then I remembered what the Lord had said: `John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit’ ” (Acts 11:16 NIV). See, Peter remembered what Jesus had taught them about the Spirit of God.

Therefore each one of us should consider the fact that Jesus taught much about the Spirit of God. And each one of us should seek to give importance to Jesus’ teaching about the Spirit of God.

It should be noted that the disciples who were a frightened lot after the crucifixion of Jesus was willing to wait for the promised Holy Spirit in Jerusalem itself (where Jesus was crucified) only because they had been prepared beforehand by the teaching of Jesus about the Holy Spirit. Therefore it is most important that you too get to read and understand what Jesus has taught about the Holy Spirit.

VII. The Unique Role of the Holy Spirit in the Birth, Life, Death, and Resurrection of the Lord Jesus

The prophecy that “the virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son” (Isaiah 7:14 NIV) was fulfilled when Jesus was born. But it happened only through a mighty work of the Holy Spirit.

Luke records that the Holy Spirit came upon Mary and the power of the Most High overshadowed her to bring about the birth of the Son of God (Ref. Luke 1:35).

Thus the Holy Spirit was instrumental in the birth of Jesus.


Paul wrote a magnificent verse about Jesus. He wrote: “He appeared in a body, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory” (1 Timothy 3:16b NIV). The truth, “was vindicated by the Spirit” is to be specially noted.

What does it mean? It means that Jesus was asserted and attested as the Son of God by the Holy Spirit! How was it done? It was done through the mighty works of God done by Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit. That practically means that no one need doubt Jesus to be the Son of God because the Spirit has vindicated Him.

The final act of vindication happened when Jesus was raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit.


Look at this verse: “How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God” (Hebrews 9:14 NIV). The verse mainly deals with the cleansing power of the blood of Christ. But note also the fact that it was through the Holy Spirit that Jesus offered Himself unblemished to God.

Note also the fact that the Holy Spirit is referred to as “the eternal Spirit” telling us once again that he is God who is from everlasting to everlasting (Ref. Psalm 90:2)!

Read more: The Blood of Jesus Christ: What does it mean to you today?


The Holy Spirit was actively involved in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. And it was accomplished through a mighty display of God’s power (Ref. Ephesians 1:19, 20). The Bible declares the role of the Holy Spirit in the resurrection of Jesus thus: “And who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead” (Romans 1:4a NIV).

The practical application of this is that you too will be brought back to life through the same Spirit of God. The one condition is that the Spirit of God should live in you.

The Bible declares: “And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you” (Romans 8:11).

Read more: Resurrection Series List of Posts


If you read the Book of Revelation where Jesus gave His message to the seven churches you’ll find Jesus repeating one phrase as the conclusion of His message to each of the seven churches (Ref. Revelation 2:7, 2:11, 2:17, 2:29, 3:6, 3:13, 3:22). To end this article no better conclusion can be made than what Jesus said in these passages:

“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

For more on The Holy Spirit see Lesson 23 in John’s Gospel Easy Notes Series

Table of Contents

Meet the Holy Spirit: An Introduction
1. You Are Not Alone
2. Our Teacher
3. Our Helper in Prayer
4. Our Guide
5. A New Relationship
6. The Promise
7. The Spirit of God in the Life of Jesus

A Beginner’s Introduction to the Holy Spirit

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