Spirit and Mission

In the Second Psalm, the Messiah is identified as the Son of God and the ideal king who is anointed by Yahweh to rule over the nations, the one to whom the “Kings of the Earth” pay homage. In the four gospel accounts, he is anointed by the Holy Spirit at his baptism in the Jordan River, equipping him for the proclamation of the “Kingdom of God” to the people of Israel. In turn, he grants the Spirit to his disciples, empowering them to announce His Good News and sovereignty to all nations.

Unlike the kings and high priests in the Hebrew Bible, Jesus was anointed with God’s Spirit rather than olive oil, an event that set him apart for ministry as the Herald of God’s Kingdom and the Suffering Servant of Yahweh - (Psalm 2:6-9, Isaiah 61:1-2, Psalm 45:7, Isaiah 11:1-5, 42:1, 59:21).

World Globe - Photo by Greg Rosenke on Unsplash
[Photo by Greg Rosenke on Unsplash]

The Spirit of God descended on him at his baptism, and his messianic status was confirmed by visual and audible effects (“
descended like a dove…  This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased” - Matthew 3:16-17, Mark 1:10-11, Luke 3:22, John 1:32).

In the Old Testament, certain men were endowed temporarily by the Spirit for specific tasks. In contrast, the Spirit descended and remained on Jesus. He had the fullness of the Spirit and “not by measure,” which was the case with the prophets, kings and priests of old were anointed by God - (John 3:34).

Following his baptism, the Spirit drove Jesus into the wilderness to be tested by the Devil. However, where Israel failed during its wilderness sojourn, Jesus overcame the Adversary by submitting to the Word and will of his Father. Afterward, he “returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee” where he began to proclaim the Gospel - (Matthew 4:1, Luke 4:13-14).

Jesus attributed his miracles to the Spirit of God, not to any inherent superhuman power that he possessed. When he was accused of exorcising demons by the power of Satan, he retorted, “But if I, by the Spirit of God, cast out demons…” If the Spirit of God was manifesting among men in his words and supernatural deeds, “then is the Kingdom of God come upon you.”

This last point was also the understanding of the early church, and this is reflected in the Epistles and the Book of Acts:

  • (Acts 10:38) - “How God anointed him with Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed by the adversary, because God, was with him.
  • (Romans 1:4) – “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, a called apostle, separated unto the glad-message of God, which he promised beforehand, through his prophets, in holy scriptures, concerning his Son who came to be of the seed of David, according to flesh, who was distinguished as the Son of God by power, according to a Holy Spirit, through means of a resurrection of the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord.

LORD OF THE SPIRIT


The presence of the Holy Spirit was integral to the identity, mission, and deeds of the Messiah, but he was also the one who dispensed the Spirit to his followers, just as he promised to send the same Spirit to “bear witness of me”:

  • Whenever the Advocate shall come, whom I will send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which from the Father comes forth. He will bear witness concerning me” - (John 15:26).

As Paul wrote to the Ephesians, “Having ascended on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.” The possession of the Spirit and the authority to distribute its gifts belong to Jesus, the Son of God - (Luke 24:45-49, Acts 2:33-38, Ephesians 4:8-12).

After his ascension, Jesus “sent the Promise of his Father upon” his disciples to empower them to preach the Good News of salvation and his reign. The mission of proclaiming the Gospel to the nations is part and parcel of how the Spirit “bears witness” to the Son of God.

Since he was appointed to reign over the nations and the “kings of the Earth,” he “received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit.”

Just as the Spirit set the Son apart to declare the “Kingdom of God” to Israel, so the Gift of the Spirit empowers and sets his disciples apart to preach the Gospel to “all the nations of the Earth.” Since his ascension, this has remained the paramount task of his Assembly, the “Body of Christ,” but they cannot execute it without the presence and guidance of the Spirit.

Mountain sunrise Norway - Photo by Andrew H on Unsplash
[Photo by Andrew H on Unsplash]

Before his ascension, the disciples asked about the timing of the “
Kingdom of God.” He responded by stating that such matters were in the hands of God alone – “It is not for you to know times and seasons.”

Instead, they were commanded to wait in Jerusalem until they received the “Promise of the Father,” the Gift of the Spirit, and then they would become his “witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judaea and Samaria, and to the uttermost parts of the Earth” - (Luke 24:45-49).

Just as the Spirit of God set the Messiah apart for service and empowered him to proclaim the Gospel, so the Gift of the Spirit enables his disciples to be his heralds on the Earth. The Spirit of God is essential to the mission of his Church.



RELATED POSTS:
  • One Spirit, One People - (By his death and resurrection, Jesus formed one covenant community - One New Man - based on faith in him – Ephesians 2:11-22)
  • The Mission - (The mission of the church between now and Christ’s return is to announce the Good News of his Kingdom to all nations – Matthew 24:14)
  • The Assembly of God - (The Christian use of the term church or ekklésia is derived from the assembly of Yahweh gathered for worship in the Hebrew Bible)

Comments

POPULAR POSTS

On the Cruciform Road

The Gospel Message