Jesus' Spirit Baptism
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24. Jesus' Spirit Baptism

Holy Spirit and Fire

Blue TwistJohn the Baptist baptized Jesus not with water alone but with the Holy Spirit and fire. He said of Jesus in Matthew 3.11, "But after me comes a more powerful one than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire." The phrase "baptize you with water" may equally mean "baptize you in water." The "Holy Spirit's baptism" may also indicate the fire descending upon the disciples on the Day of Pentecost.

Consecrated Truth

Jesus LaughingJesus gave his life as a sacrifice on the Cross. Hebrews 9.14 says, "How much more, then, will Christ's blood, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts leading to death so that we may serve the living God!" Note that the phrase "acts that lead to death" may also mean "acts from useless rituals." Christ's shed blood offering sanctifies Christians. Jesus also says in John 17.19, "For them, I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified." The Holy Spirit is working in Jesus, and his people become holy by association. According to Hebrews 10.10, "And by that will, Jesus Christ's sacrificial body once for all makes us holy."

Body and Soul

The Heavenly Father raised Jesus from death that the disciples could later physically handle him. Jesus' Spirit also gives life to those in whom he dwells. This life brings about the soul and body's resurrection like Jesus'. Romans 8.11 explains, "And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit living in you." Some manuscripts translate the phrase "because of his Spirit" as "through his Spirit." Christ's human frame died, but the Holy Spirit regenerated it. 1 Peter 3.18 explains, "For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He died in the body but was made alive in the Spirit."

Jesus Christ' Power

Christ In GloryJesus Christ's earthly life of submission, faith, and trust showed the Holy Spirit's power. He revealed his authority because he died under his control and could retake his life whenever he wanted. In John 10.17-18, Jesus says, "the reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life — only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down voluntarily. I have the authority to lay it down and the authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father." The NIV Study Bible explains, "That Christ would die for his people runs through this John's Gospel section. Both love, the Father's plan and the authority he gave to the Son are involved." Saint Paul described the resurrection power in Ephesians 1.19b-20, "that power is the same as the mighty strength exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms." In this verse, Saint Paul builds phrase upon phrase to emphasize the extraordinary divine force by which God the Father raised Jesus Christ. It is the same power at work in and through believers. His power gives believers the ability to live a holy life.

Holy Spirit Filling

Christ On CrossWe read in Luke 1.15 that John the Baptist "will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and before he is born will be filled with the Holy Spirit." The mention of abstinence from fermented wine indicates that John the Baptist was subject to Nazirite vows. Like Samson and Samuel before him, he was to be a lifelong Nazirite and become "strong in the Spirit," for God's power filled him. The Holy Spirit brought the potential to Christ's life, for Jesus too was an offering to God. The Holy Spirit brings obedience, submission, faith, trust, zeal, and all things necessary for a Christian's work. In death, God's Holy Spirit protects Christ, but it is Jesus Christ's power that enables him to burst through resurrection into ascended glory. ✞

"Jesus' Spirit Baptism"
by Ron Meacock © 2021

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