In the first lesson, we learned that the Holy Spirit has been active in the world since creation. We learned of his various attributes and the part He played in the life of the Israelites. This study continues with the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of Jesus and how He empowered Jesus for His ministry.

(The Holy Spirit - Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3)

In the first lesson, we learned that the Holy Spirit has been active in the world since creation. We learned of his various attributes and the part He played in the life of the Israelites. This study continues with the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of Jesus and how He empowered Jesus for His ministry.

The Holy Spirit in the Life of Jesus

Our story begins with Zachariah, an elderly priest and his wife, Elizabeth, a cousin of the Virgin Mary.  While Zachariah was on duty in the Temple, an angel told him Elizabeth would bear a very special child. At John's birth, Zachariah, filled with the Holy Spirit, prophesied that his son would be God's prophet and would go before the Lord to prepare a way for Him.

A few months before John's birth, the angel Gabriel, had appeared to Mary, a young peasant girl. He told Mary she, too, would give birth to a son.

The Scripture: Luke 1:32, 33

"He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord will give Him the throne of His father David… and His kingdom will never end."

1. What did Gabriel say about Jesus?

The Scripture: Luke 1:35

“When Mary asked the angel how this could happen (she was a virgin), He replied, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.’"

2. What was Gabriel's reply?

What Gabriel foretold came true. John the Baptist, the son of Zachariah and Elizabeth became a prophet, living a stark, disciplined, life in the wilderness of Judea. At a given time, God spoke to him and he began to preach repentance and announce the coming the long-awaited Messiah.

The Scripture: Matthew 3:11

"I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire."

3. What did John say Jesus would do?

The Scripture: Matthew 3:13-17

"Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John....As soon as Jesus was baptized, He went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on Him. And a voice from heaven said, 'This is My son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased.'"

4. What happened when John baptized Jesus?

The Scripture: Mark 1:12-13

"At once the Spirit sent Him out into the desert...[for] forty days, being tempted by Satan."

5. Who sent Jesus into the desert to be tempted?

Before Jesus could begin His public ministry, it was necessary for Him to overcome Satan's temptations.  Something very important was accomplished in Jesus as a result of His encounter with Satan.

The Scripture: Luke 4:1

"Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit...was led by the Spirit in the desert."

6. How is Jesus described?

The Scripture: Luke 4:14

"Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit."

7. How is Jesus described after His forty days in the wilderness?

There is an essential difference between being full of the Holy Spirit and being in the power of the Holy Spirit. Although the Holy Spirit was already dwelling in Jesus, there still needed to be a time when the power of the Spirit be released in Jesus so that He could carry out His ministry.

But why did this power need to be released in Jesus? After all, He was God and had unlimited power, didn't He?

The Scripture: Philippians 2:5-7

"Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: 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.”

8. What did Jesus make of Himself?

Of course, Jesus did use divine power to perform His "mighty acts", but not directly. When He came to earth, He laid aside His God power and truly became a human being. When He performed His healings and miracles, He did them as a man, allowing the power of the Holy Spirit to work through Him.

Shortly after His testing by Satan, Jesus proclaimed His ministry.

The Scripture: Luke 4:18-19

"The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because He has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."

9. What did Jesus say was upon Him?

10. What did He say His ministry was?

Throughout His lifetime on earth, Jesus carried out this ministry.

The Scripture: Matthew 4:23-24

"Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people...People brought to Him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed, and He healed them."

11. What did Jesus do?

Jesus' Spirit-led ministry on earth ended with His crucifixion. But this was not the end of God's plan for Him.

The Scripture: Romans 8:11

"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 through His Spirit, who lives in you."

12. What happened to Jesus?

13. How?

After He had risen from the dead, Jesus appeared to His disciples.

The Scripture: Mark 16:17

"And these signs will accompany those who believe: In My name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues;...and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well."

14. What signs did Jesus say would accompany believers?

In other words, Jesus' followers would have the same ministry Jesus had.  While Jesus was preparing His disciples for His death, resurrection, and return to heaven, He made them an incredible promise.

The Scripture: John 14: 16-17

"I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever--the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you know Him, for He lives with you and will be in you."

15. Who did Jesus say the Father would send?

16. How long would He be with them?

17. What would be their relationship with the Holy Spirit?

Because the disciples believed in Jesus and accepted Him as their Lord, the Holy Spirit already lived with them. A day was coming soon, however, when the Holy Spirit would come to live within them.

The Scripture: John 14:26 (TAB)

"But the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will cause you to recall - will remind you of, bring to your remembrance everything I have told you."

18. What are other names given to the Holy Spirit?

When Jesus asked the Father to send the Holy Spirit, He was sending Someone who would counsel them, help them, intercede for them, be an advocate for them, Someone who would strengthen them and stand by them in all circumstances.

19. What else would He do?

The Scripture: John 16:13, 14

"When He, the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on His own, He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to Me by taking from what is Mine and making it known to you."

20. What else would the Holy Spirit do?

In the forty days following His death and resurrection, Jesus spoke often to His disciples.

The Scripture: Acts 1:4, 5

"On one occasion, while He was eating with them, He gave them this command: 'Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift My Father promised, which you have heard Me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days, you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit."

21. What was Jesus' command to the disciples?

22. What did He say would happen to them in a few days?

This would happen on Pentecost, fifty days after Jesus' ascension into heaven.

The Scripture: Acts 2:1-4

"When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them."

23. What did the disciples hear and see?

24. What happened to them?

This is the experience we call the baptism in the Holy Spirit, which is discussed more fully in the Bible study The Baptism in the Holy Spirit. The baptism in the Holy Spirit completely changed the disciples.

Before, they had been a group of frightened, largely ineffectual people; now they became bold. That same day Peter preached such a powerful sermon that about 3,000 Jews came to believe in Jesus. No wonder Pentecost is considered the birth of the Church! Through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, a handful of men and women invaded the heathen world, healing the sick, setting spiritual prisoners free and spreading the news of the kingdom of God throughout the entire known world of that time.

The next lesson, we will see how the Holy Spirit works in our lives today.

(The Holy Spirit - Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3)

The Answers

  1. He would be great, called the Son of the Most High; His kingdom would never end.
  2. "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, the power of the Most High will overshadow you."
  3. Baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire
  4. The heaven was opened; the Spirit of God descended like a dove and lighted on Him. A voice from heaven said, "This is My Son, whom I love, with Him I am well pleased.”
  5. The Holy Spirit
  6. As full of the Holy Spirit
  7. As being in the power of the Spirit
  8. Nothing; He took the nature of a servant, being made in human likeness
  9. The Spirit of the Lord
  10. To preach good news to the poor, proclaim freedom for prisoners, recovery of sight for the blind, release the oppressed, proclaim the Lord's favor
  11. Taught, preached the good news of the kingdom, healed those with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon possessed, those having seizures, the paralyzed
  12. He was raised from the dead.
  13. By the Spirit
  14. They would drive out demons, speak in tongues, be able to drink poisons without being harmed, heal the sick
  15. Another Counselor, the Spirit of truth
  16. Forever
  17. He would be in them
  18. Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby
  19. Represent Jesus and act on His behalf, teach them all things, cause them to recall everything Jesus had told them
  20. Guide them into all truth, tell them what was yet to come, bring glory to Jesus
  21. Do not leave Jerusalem; wait for the gift the Father promised.
  22. They would be baptized in the Holy Spirit.
  23. The sound of a violent wind, tongues of fire that separated and rested on each of them
  24. They were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues.

All scripture quotations in this publication are from the Holy Bible, New International Version
(unless otherwise indicated)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, New International Bible Society
Copyright © 1999 by JoAnne Sekowsky