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hope for churches in stress


In the lives of Old Testament prophets and heroes, we encounter the work of the Holy Spirit in tantalizing bits and pieces. In Jesus, we see life in the Spirit in panoramic view (John 3:34).

  • At Jesus’ baptism, a voice from heaven proclaimed: “You are my beloved son; with you I am well pleased.” By the Spirit, Jesus lived in intimate relationship with his Heavenly Father (John 1:32-33; Luke 3:21-22).

  • After his baptism, Jesus was “led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” Also by the Spirit, Jesus was swept into conflict with the “principalities and powers” of evil (Matthew 4:1-11; Ephesians 6:10-12).

  • God gave the Spirit “without measure” to Jesus; and from this fullness, Jesus spoke the words of God, a message of grace and truth (John 1:16-17; 3:34).

  • “In the power of the Spirit” Jesus taught with authority, healed all kinds of illnesses, cast out demons, worked amazing miracles, and announced the good news of God’s kingdom (Matthew 9:35, 12:28; Luke 4:14-21).

  • Yet whenever possible, Jesus expressed supernatural power and wisdom without commotion or display. Often, he slipped away from the crowds. By the Spirit, his style was humble and unpretentious (Matthew 12:15-21). He readily celebrated the Spirit's work in others. When his disciples returned from preaching, healing, and casting out demons, Jesus was exuberant. “In that same hour he rejoiced [danced] in the Spirit” (Luke 10:1-11, 17-24).

  • Jesus was pure goodness. He displayed every virtue perfectly (see Galatians 5:22-23). In his ultimate expression of love on the cross, Jesus “through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God” (Hebrews 9:14).

In Jesus, we see a complete expression of human life suffused by the Holy Spirit. And Jesus has been given authority to “baptize” us in this same Spirit (John 1:22; 20:22; Acts 1:8). As we receive the Holy Spirit, how much of his magnificent life might be displayed in us?

This post continues a series, "Sketches of the Spirit." To advance to the next post, click on the title, "I Will Pour Out My Spirit." To go to the beginning of the series, click on "Wind."

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