JESUS AND HIS INTIMATE COMPANION
What was Jesus’ relationship to the Holy Spirit? As unique as His relationship was with the Father, so unique was His relationship with the Holy Spirit. In the Trinity they were equal in essence and in glory. He was one with the Spirit as He was with the Father, but in His earthly life and in His mission He was completely submitted to the Spirit.
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death – even death on a cross. (Phil. 2: 6-8)
The Holy Spirit was God’s agent to energise and empower Jesus for His life on earth as a human being and as the Son. Everything pivoted around His relationship to the Father as a perfect son. Where Adam failed, Jesus had to succeed because He was to undo what Adam did by a life of obedience to the Father and by His sacrificial death as our substitute. Whether His work was accepted by the Father or not depended entirely on His qualification to be a perfect Son and an atoning sacrifice by His perfect obedience.
The Holy Spirit was His hands-on companion from His conception to His resurrection. Without the same submission and obedience to the Spirit as to the Father, His life and work would never accomplish what God sent Him to do. We would assume, then, that Jesus loved the Holy Spirit as fervently and passionately as He loved the Father. He did everything in tandem with the Holy Spirit. Just as He and the Father were one, so were He and the Holy Spirit one – so that He could say.
I will ask the Father and He will send you another Counsellor to be with you forever – the Spirit of truth . . . I will not leave you as orphans. I will come to you. (John 14: 16-17a; 18)
Jesus spent the last hours before His passion preparing His disciples for the momentous event when the Holy Spirit would come to replace Him as His “other Comforter”. How did He know what He was like, and what He would do? Had He not lived in intimate union with Him from birth?
Jesus was a man, as human and vulnerable as the rest of humanity. He needed the power of God to live His life in obedience to the Father as surely as we, fallen human beings do. He was like us in every way. The Spirit was the Father’s representative to empower Him to do what the Father commanded Him to do. He had to rely on the Holy Spirit to energise Him just as we do. He had to learn to be a Son, though not by trial and error, as we do. He could not afford to live in error or unbelief because He would have been instantly disqualified from being a perfect lamb. He learned obedience through obeying in the midst of suffering.
Although He was a son, He learned obedience from what He suffered and, once made perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him . . . (Heb. 5: 8-9)
The Holy Spirit came upon Him at His baptism in visible form. He was His close companion throughout His public ministry, pouring life and power through Him to accomplish God’s will. Jesus submitted to His leading no matter what the Spirit wanted Him to do. He was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tested by the devil. He followed where He was led and did what He was led to do without questioning or wavering.
Just as we can do nothing without Jesus (John 15: 5) so Jesus could do nothing without the Spirit. He acknowledged Him as the source of His power. The Pharisees accused Him of driving out demons by the power of Beelzebub. This was ludicrous! How could a kingdom divided against itself hope to stand?
Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, ‘Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand . . . If I drive out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. (Matt. 12: 25; 27-28)
He disclosed the source of His power. It could not possibly be the power of the devil because the devil was a murderer from the beginning (John 8: 44). He was no restorer. His role was to do as much damage to people as he could, not to get rid of the very demons who were wreaking havoc in people’s lives.
We can only conclude, then, that the love and the unity Jesus experienced as the second person of the Trinity and that He enjoyed before His incarnation did not change and was not interrupted during His earthly interlude. Because of His love for the Father and the Holy Spirit, He willingly subordinated Himself to the will of the Father and to the authority of the Holy Spirit over Him as He navigated His journey from His conception to His resurrection.
Isaiah’s prophecy regarding the Holy Spirit’s role in His life as the Ebed Yahweh, the Servant of the Lord, perfectly expressed Jesus’ attitude to the other members of the Godhead.
. . . And He will delight in the fear of the Lord. (Isa. 11: 3a)
As the Son of God, Jesus lived His earthly human life not under obligation to, but in the delight of the fear of the Lord. It was the motivation for His obedience – because He was passionate about the Father. He expressed His reverence for and awe of the Father and the Holy Spirit by implicit and unquestioning obedience, and willing submission to their will and leading.
His testimony about Himself was absolutely and unquestionably true:
I and the Father are one.
Scripture is taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
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