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Jesus and the Spirit Part 1 (CLICK HERE FOR DOWNLOADABLE PDF)

Text: Luke 3-4:13

Introduction: Early school closings & the dilemma of predictions.

  • Short Snappy Sermons vs. Sermons as a Searching of God’s Living Word.
    • I only address you once a week: If I keep sermons short, the series never ends. If I keep sermons longer, the sermon never ends!
  • Brief Review: Luke & the other Gospel writers use & develop OT ideas about the Spirit of God in special ways in light of the person, work & teaching of Jesus.
  • In Lk. 1-2, we observed an intense focus on the activity of the Spirit.
    • In the story of John the Baptist, we saw that JB would be filled with the HS from the womb. (1:15)
      • We also saw that both of JB’s parents are described as being filled with the HS: Elizabeth (1:41); Zachariah (1:67).
    • Mary is told that through the person & the power of the HS, she will conceive the Messiah in fulfillment of the prophecies (1:35).
    • When baby Jesus is brought to the temple for the 1st time, his parents encounter Simeon who is described three times as having the HS (2:25, 26, 27ff) & as who prophesies about the baby (2:27ff).
    • Finally, we see that both JB & JC are influenced by the Spirit.
      • JB is growing in the Spirit (1:80).
      • Twice Luke observes that Jesus developed in wisdom & in his relationship with the Father & people (2:40, 52).
      • Jesus displays His Spirit enabled wisdom at the temple in ways that surprised both the experts in the law & his parents.
      • He also discloses a growing awareness of his unique relationship with God the Father.

 

Explore the Text: Today we highlight some key aspects of the Spirit’s work in the life and ministry of Jesus.

 

The Spirit-filled Prophetic Ministry of JB (3:1-14)

  • OT Prophets: The Breath of God and Anointing of Prophets
    • Spirit as breath. Spirit as fluid (oil and water).
    • The Word of God Came to John, son of Zechariah. (3:2b-6)
      • Inspired/God-breathed revelation (Moses & later prophets)
      • The Spirit of God with Elijah and Elisha.
    • JB is an anointed prophet and so is Jesus, but Jesus is The Prophet like Moses (see Jn. 1:21).
  • JB prepares people for Jesus by calling them to repent and make themselves ready for what is about to come into their lives.
    • Repent and Ps. 51 (esp.vs.10-13)
    • A message of impending judgement.
    • Judgement and grace: if Jesus corrects me it is good for me!
  • Later (Lk. 7:18-35), we see that JB did not fully understand what the Spirit is beginning to make clear about Jesus (like Jesus’ parents & his disciples).
    • Being a Spirit-filled prophet does not mean knowing everything or no struggles to understand & to submit to God’s will.
    • This is essential to hold in our minds and hearts: we must remain open to an unfolding, developing, deepening, maturing understanding of God’s revelation in Christ

 

The Baptism of Jesus (3:15-22)

  • JB contrasts his baptism to the baptism of Jesus (3:16-18).
    • John corrects misconceptions about who he is as God’s Spirit-filled servant: “I am not the Messiah”
      • He acknowledges that as powerfully as God is using him, there is one so much greater & that he is not worthy to untie his sandals (contrast Jesus in Jn. 13 washing dirty feet!).
    • JB baptizes Jesus.
  • As Jesus is praying the HS descended upon Him in bodily form.
    • The voice that came out of heaven declaring to Jesus (you are My beloved son in You I am well-pleased.
      • 1:29-33 as a more extensive commentary of how JB interpreted what happened.

Luke’s genealogy identifies Jesus not only as the Son of Adam but also the son of God. (Son of Man and Son of God). (Luke 3:21-37)

  • Anointing of Jesus as King/Messiah
    • OT Kings and Anointing
      • JB is not the anointed King/Messiah, but Jesus is. (see Jn1:41, 49)
      • Son of David
    • The anointing of Jesus as Messiah inaugurates God’s kingdom on earth as in heaven and the new creation is begun in His resurrection.
      • Luke will show us in the teaching and actions of Jesus what the new kingdom of God looks like.
      • The kingdoms of the world are upside down and the realm of Satan (see the temptation).
    • Luke & the baptism of the HS in Acts 2 & 10-11, see esp. Acts 11:15-18 15 “As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came on them as he had come on us at the beginning. 16 Then I remembered what the Lord had said: ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17 So if God gave them the same gift he gave us who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could stand in God’s way?” 18 When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, “So then, even to Gentiles God has granted repentance that leads to life.”
    • The Kingdom of Heaven on Earth is the right-side up kingdom.
      • The disciples of Jesus reborn from above to reign with him.
      • We are to be transformed by His Spirit & trained as His appointed apprentices to live for the glory of the Father.

The Temptation of the Anointed One (4:1-13)

  • Satan will not easily Surrender!
  • Jesus is described as full of the HS and led by the Spirit into the wilderness for forty days to be tempted.
    • As students of Scripture, we should hear in the temptation of Jesus echoes of the story of the fall in Gen. 3 and the wandering of Israel as God’s people in Exodus-Deut.
      • Listen for both similarities & contrasts as Jesus embodies the role of the faithful one who rules with the Father as he abides in the Father’s will, word & work (see John).
    • Three Temptations and the Word as the Key in the Battle.
      • Daily Bread
      • Kingdom of God, not the kingdoms of this world/satan.
      • The servant way of power and glory.

Application

  • In the inauguration of the New Creation of God’s Kingdom coming on earth, there is to be an outpouring of the HS on God’s people.
    • New Birth from above (Jn. 3) & a New Temple of God’s people.
      • Baptism and Fire (see Acts 2)
    • The Spirit gifts members of Christ’s body & empowers them.
  • The Kingdom of God as Present and Future in our Daily lives.
    • Echoes of the Exodus Story and the preparation of God’s people.
    • The necessity of the HS in Spiritual warfare (see Eph 6)
  • Remembering who you are in the Spirit & relying on the Spirit as you deal with depression, fear, worry and anxiety.
    • You do not have to agree with all that you feel as the truth about who you are and the meaning and purpose of your life.

Note: After his baptism and God’s announcement that he is His beloved Son, Jesus is tempted to do His appointed work in the way of the world or as a “super human” pretending to be fully human. The temptation makes clear that Jesus is living according to God’s word by refusing to yield to temptation.

  • Wright: Together the baptism story and the family tree tell us where Jesus has come from, who he is, and where he is going. As we make his story our own in our own prayers, and indeed in our own baptism, we too should expect both the fresh energy of the Spirit and the quiet voice which reminds us of God’s amazing, affirming love and of the path of vocation which lies ahead.[1]
  • Wright: Luke has just reminded us of Jesus’ membership in the family of Adam. If there had been any doubt about his being really human, Luke underlines his sharing of our flesh and blood in this vivid scene of temptation. If Jesus is the descendant of Adam, he must now face not only what Adam faced but the powers that had been unleashed through human rebellion and sin. Long years of habitual rebellion against the creator God had brought about a situation in which the world, the flesh and the devil had become used to twisting human beings into whatever shape they wanted…. In particular, after his baptism, Jesus faced the double question: what does it mean to be God’s son in this special, unique way? And what sort of messiahship was he to pursue? [2]
  • Morris: Jesus had just been baptized and now looked forward to the public ministry to which he had set his hand, but first he spent time in quiet reflection in the wilderness. The story is of great interest in that it cannot have come from anyone other than Jesus himself. Clearly he faced questions like: What sort of Messiah was he to be? Was he to use his powers for personal ends? Or for the establishing of a mighty empire that would rule the world in righteousness? Or for working spectacular, if pointless, miracles? He rejected all these for what they were, temptations of the devil. That they were temptations implies that Jesus knew that he had unusual powers. ‘It is no temptation to us to turn stones into bread or leap from a Temple pinnacle’ (Barclay). But Jesus was not bound by our limitations. He knew he had powers other men do not have and he had to decide how to use them. Matthew has the second and third temptations in the reverse order, a fact that has never been satisfactorily explained (the reasons suggested are all subjective).[3]
  • Wright: If there are in this story echoes of Adam and Eve in the garden, with the serpent whispering plausible lies about God, his purposes and his commands, there are also echoes of Israel in the wilderness. Israel came out of Egypt through the Red Sea, with God declaring that Israel was his son, his firstborn. There then followed the 40-year wandering in the wilderness, where Israel grumbled for bread, flirted disastrously with idolatry, and put God continually to the test. Now Jesus, coming through the waters of baptism as God’s unique son, the one through whom Israel’s destiny was to be fulfilled, faces the question: how is he to be Israel’s representative, her rightful king? How can he deliver Israel, and thereby the world, from the grip of the enemy? How can he bring about the real liberation, not just from Rome and other political foes, but from the arch-enemy, the devil himself?[4]

Note: Our New Life is as New People Learning to Live in Enemy Territory as the Kingdom of God advances.

  • Lewis: “One of the things that surprised me when I first read the New Testament seriously was that it talked so much about a Dark Power in the universe—a mighty evil spirit who was held to be the Power behind death and disease, and sin. The difference is that Christianity thinks this Dark Power was created by God, and was good when he was created, and went wrong. Christianity agrees with Dualism that this universe is at war. But it does not think this is a war between independent powers. It thinks it is a civil war, a rebellion, and that we are living in a part of the universe occupied by the rebel.
    • Enemy-occupied territory—that is what this world is. Christianity is the story of how the rightful king has landed, you might say landed in disguise, and is calling us all to take part in a great campaign of sabotage. When you go to church you are really listening-in to the secret wireless from our friends: that is why the enemy is so anxious to prevent us from going. He does it by playing on our conceit and laziness and intellectual snobbery. I know someone will ask me, ‘Do you really mean, at this time of day, to re-introduce our old friend the devil—hoofs and horns and all?’ Well, what the time of day has to do with it I do not know. And I am not particular about the hoofs and horns. But in other respects my answer is ‘Yes, I do.’ I do not claim to know anything about his personal appearance. If anybody really wants to know him better I would say to that person, ‘Don’t worry. If you really want to, you will. Whether you’ll like it when you do is another question.’[5]
  • In another place Lewis adds: Why is God landing in this enemy-occupied world in disguise and starting a sort of secret society to undermine the devil? Why is He not landing in force, invading it? Is it that He is not strong enough? Well, Christians think He is going to land in force; we do not know when. But we can guess why He is delaying. He wants to give us the chance of joining His side freely. I do not suppose you and I would have thought much of a Frenchman who waited till the Allies were marching into Germany and then announced he was on our side. God will invade. But I wonder whether people who ask God to interfere openly and directly in our world quite realise what it will be like when He does. When that happens, it is the end of the world. When the author walks on to the stage the play is over. God is going to invade, all right: but what is the good of saying you are on His side then, when you see the whole natural universe melting away like a dream and something else—something it never entered your head to conceive—comes crashing in; something so beautiful to some of us and so terrible to others that none of us will have any choice left? For this time it will be God without disguise; something so overwhelming that it will strike either irresistible love or irresistible horror into every creature. It will be too late then to choose your side. There is no use saying you choose to lie down when it has become impossible to stand up. That will not be the time for choosing: it will be the time when we discover which side we really have chosen, whether we realised it before or not. Now, today, this moment, is our chance to choose the right side. God is holding back to give us that chance. It will not last for ever. We must take it or leave it.[6]
    • See also the last chapter in Mere Christianity entitled: “The New Men”

 

[1] Wright, T. (2004). Luke for Everyone (p. 41). Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge.

[2] Wright, T. (2004). Luke for Everyone (p. 42). Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge.

[3] Morris, L. (1988). Luke: an introduction and commentary (Vol. 3, pp. 120–121). InterVarsity Press.

[4] Wright, T. (2004). Luke for Everyone (p. 43). Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge.

[5] Lewis, C. S. (2001). Mere Christianity (pp. 45–46). HarperOne.

[6] Lewis, C. S. (2001). Mere Christianity (pp. 64–65). HarperOne.