Luke 4: Jesus and the Power of the Spirit

Luke 4: Jesus and the Power of the Spirit

Luke 4 is an interesting text as we consider the humanity and divinity of Jesus. The Bible is clear that Jesus was a partaker and participant in both human and divine nature (John 1:1-4, 14; Heb 2:14).

Being a man meant the ability to be tempted with and succumb to sin (Heb 2:18, 4:15). Being a man also in some way meant sacrificing his equality with God, seeing as He also had the ability to die (Phil 2:5-8).

Our text, and its preceding text (Luke 3:21-22), also indicate that the man Jesus was empowered by the Holy Spirit to carry out His commission and ministry. This power seems to be conferred upon our Lord at His baptism. All the synoptic gospel accounts record the baptism of Jesus (Matt 3:16; Mark 1:10; Luke 3:21-22). John does not record that specific event of the baptism itself, but, like the other three, speaks to the signs associated with it, namely the direct descension of the Holy Spirit upon Jesus (John 1:32-33).

In today’s text, Luke indicates that following Jesus’ baptism and temptation in the wilderness, Jesus returned to Galilee “in the power of the Spirit” (v 14). Shortly thereafter, Jesus entered the synagogue in Nazareth and read from Isaiah. That reading opens with the following statement: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me” (v 18).

Being a man, Jesus needed the empowerment of the Holy Spirit to carry out His mission, which included the working of miracles (v 18).

However, there was one major difference in the measure of the Spirit received by Jesus and that of the apostles and others. In John 3:34, John the Baptizer said of Jesus that He was not given the Spirit of God “by measure.” In other words, the fullness of the Spirit was at work in the life and ministry of Jesus.

One word of caution and reminder: the receiving of the Holy Spirit was never an impenetrable shield against temptation and sin. The apostles were all capable of sin (Gal 2:11-13; 1 Cor 9:27). Likewise, the man Jesus was capable of sin all the way to the cross.

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