The Holy Spirit in Jesus

Today’s reading is Matthew 3:13-17Open Link in New Window

Here is today’s reflection by Gaby.

The Holy Spirit and the father and Jesus are one… We can’t have a favourite member of the Trinity. If you want more of one you’ll have more of all three… The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus, he is Jesus’ presence with us. Good luck getting Jesus without more of his Spirit.

Health warning: Today this is not just an intellectual topic to think about and ponder it’s one to be experienced and joined in with.

Last week Ian taught us about the Spirit in creation and reminded how the Holy Spirit was present at Creation, helping God form the earth and everything around it and in it, how the Spirit came upon certain judges and Kings at certain times to help them, people like Samuel, Sampson and David. and reminded us about Acts and the day of Pentecost when we saw the out pouring of the Holy Spirit of all those in one place. He challenged us to think about other times in both the old and New Testaments when we could see the Holy Spirit working and to also think about how could we respond to the Holy Spirit and whom the Holy Spirit is to us and then we ended with the most popular prayer of the church Come Holy Spirit.

So it is here where Ian finished that I start. I will be sharing a bit of testimony about the Holy Spirit and speaking about Jesus’ relationship with the Holy Spirit which we see in perfect clarity at his baptism.

The Holy Spirit is God, He is the Spirit of Jesus and he is certainly a person and not an it. I could refer to him as a her because we don’t know if the Holy Spirit has a gender but because he is a person not an it I will for simplicity say “he”.

When I was a child the Holy Ghost was not something I was taught or knew about. I had no experience of him nor any realisation that he was anything other that part of a creed.

But back to the plot… here is Jesus, he is being obedient to his father by being baptised. He had no sins to forgive yet but he knew that he had to be baptised. So Jesus goes into the waters of baptism, he comes up out of them and sees the heavens open up and the Holy Spirit shaped like a dove descends on him resting on him and a voice from God the father “This is my beloved son with whom I am well pleased.”

This is one of those perfect moments where we see the Trinity together. The only moment where it is so clearly written. This is the best picture in the Bible of the Trinity.

We have seen in Genesis where the Spirit is hovering God is creating and John 1Open Link in New Window tells us that the Word was with God… hence Jesus was also at the creation of the world but here we have them all there together… this is a key moment.

But the thing about the Trinity is that you look for relationship of one and you always get three. You can’t seek God the Father without finding Jesus, or look for more of Jesus without finding the Holy Spirit or seek the Holy Spirit without being filled more with the Father’s love. Jesus is who he is because of the Spirit and the Father that’s why it is so important to understand the Holy spirit.

At Jesus’ baptism we see the Spirit descend upon Jesus. We haven’t seen the Holy Spirit take a form before and don’t again. Wouldn’t it be lovely if every time we welcomed the Holy Spirit there was a little room full of doves descending on people… that may actually be what happens, we just can’t see it.

Let’s think about this. Jesus is in total obedience to God doing something he doesn’t need to, to show a group of people that he is subject to his Father’s will, being baptised by his slightly alternative cousin who is a fiery preacher and whom most of us would probably keep our head down and walk past without stopping if we saw him in public. The effect is world changing, a visible manifestation of the Holy spirit and a voice from heaven. Isn’t that the kind of affirmation we all want and need from God? Sometimes people on Alpha say things like, I’d believe in God if he came down from the clouds and spoke to me or appeared to me. There are people in the congregation that things like that have actually happened to and it can be a bit awe inspiring and scary.

We may never know the truth but perhaps sometimes we have missed out on our extreme God moments before us because we haven’t wanted to do something like baptism if we don’t need to, perhaps we would stay away from an extremist like John and if we heard the voice of the Spirit telling us to do something we might not recognise it as God and therefore miss out on the amazing blessing that followed.

When I was 23 I felt a strong tug to be baptised. I read the Bible and was challenged by it that baptism was a key part of the Christian conversion. I wasn’t part of an Anglican church at the time. I decided that it would be obedient, like Jesus did to be baptised. I had an amazing experience. I was baptised in the sea in Tenerife and I felt phenomenal and filled with the Holy Spirit. I felt, warm, peaceful and full of light. It was phenomenal and a total step of obedience. I felt God’s love surrounding me. Water baptism and the Holy Spirit are very close to one another as we see here.

This descending Holy Spirit came about through Jesus’ obedience to God in getting baptised. Even Jesus needed more of the Holy Spirit.

So here we see our first point is that Jesus experienced the Holy Spirit. He had the Holy Spirit descend on him. He was filled by the Holy Spirit. That meant that he was ready to go… into the desert… the toughest part of his ministry. Spirit fills Jesus and leads him into the temptation.

That’s not really what we expect when we first get filled with the Spirit. I always thought that being filled with the Holy Spirit will give us peace like the dove and help us learn to float and not worry about anything, a bit like going on a spa retreat but think again! Jesus was filled with the Spirit then the Spirit led him into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan… nice combo. That would probably fill most of us with doubt and we would be defeated by the devil.

Why was Jesus able to beat Satan? He had the affirmation of his father that we see here, this is my son with whom I am well pleased… and he had the Holy Spirit who had descended upon him… the Spirit was key.

The Spirit also leads him into the wilderness where one might of thought there was nothing but actually the biggest temptations for Jesus came from nothing, maybe the same is true for us.

The drink I had the other day claims to “Help your defences” and we need that. That’s what the Holy Spirit does. Otherwise we just fall to every temptation… shall I have another glass of wine, shall I watch another episode, shall I stay up for just another half an hour… shall I stay in bed another 30 minutes, answer yes to one and then the defences fall and you end up saying yes to more of them… and the less we fight temptation the more we fall and the temptation becomes part of our lives and stops being a sin because it’s just what we do… even writing this sermon I got completely tempted to read my crime novel or watch Netflix… or sleep… slightly ironic no?

However the Holy Spirit can help us say NO. The Holy Spirit helps us to be ready to face the desert and the temptations. We can say NO to Netflix, to unreasonable demands from our bosses, to another lie in, to being greedy with our time or money, to sexual immorality or whatever. The Spirit helped Jesus so he’ll help us. The devil casts doubt… if you are… Jesus is secure in his identity and the experience is so important because it helps you resist temptation.

Jesus went into the desert as Luke 4Open Link in New Window says full of the Holy Spirit but he comes out “in the power of the Holy Spirit.” He wasn’t just filled he was able to walk in the Spirit’s power too. Wow. What does that mean? What does that even look like?

Well, look at the things Jesus went on to do, he did miracles, he healed people, he had supernatural knowledge about fish with coins in their stomachs, he raised dead people, he fed thousands of people, he acted with kindness and compassion, he expelled demons, he stepped in the path of an angry mob trying to execute a woman, he walked a fearless path of speaking words that made some people love him and others detest him. Then he fully conscious of what he was doing gave himself up to his enemies to be tortured and killed. This gorgeous, loving, miracle working Godman died for our sin. Then he was raised by the power of the Holy Spirit and lives forever.

That is what the power of the Holy Spirit looks like.

Jesus said he only did what he saw the father doing… the things he did and therefore the things the father did are pretty cool. I want more of these things in my life… I want to see miracles happen when I pray, I want to find miraculous sources of money when I need them, I want to stand up for injustice and win, I want to see the sick healed, I want to speak words about God that lead people to him. In short I want more of the Holy Spirit. I want the power of the Holy Spirit like Jesus had.

John said that there was one coming who would baptise them with the Holy Spirit. Submerge them. Cover them, cleanse them. Jesus left people cleansed by the Spirit. Look at the healings he did, look at the demons he sent off… the power of the baptism of the Holy spirit was massive. I don’t know about you but I often pray for the big miracles and forget to pray for the small. This week I had a mini miracle as I had the second vaccine. Anecdotally I’d heard the second Pfizer jab was tough and hits people quite hard. I didn’t have time to feel ill this week so I prayed and I was fine. This gives me faith to pray for healing of the much more serious injuries or illnesses that are about. If you’re sick or been in hospital this week and I know about it, rest assured I’m praying for your healing.

Have you been baptised in the Holy Spirit? Have you been baptised and cleansed with the Holy Spirit?

If you have you’ll know about it. If you haven’t then it’s really not hard. The Holy Spirit is seeking people out. Jesus wants you to have the Holy Spirit and the power of the Holy Spirit so you too can go out and do the things Jesus did.

The Holy Spirit is the person through whom the miracles happen. It wasn’t that Jesus did the miracles because he was God. That would make it impossible for us to do the same things. No, Jesus did all the amazing things he did through the power of the Holy Spirit. The same Holy Spirit whom we can have living in us. Because it is the Holy Spirit who did them then it is possible for us.

You can do miracles IF you have the Holy Spirit. The same spirit that raised Jesus from the dead is in us Romans 8:11Open Link in New Window tells us. We have access to all this. We can do the things he did because it is the same Spirit.

So today the journey we have made is that we see Jesus’ obedience to God in being baptised which led to him being descended upon in the form of a dove by the Holy Spirit and we heard of the audible voice of God affirming Jesus and speaking of his love for him and pride in him. We then see Jesus led into the wilderness where he beats the temptations of the devil. He comes out FULL of the Holy Spirit and goes on to do amazing miracles and actions. In fact the Bible tells us “the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.“ John 14:12Open Link in New Window Now that’s something to think about.

We see from Romans 8:11Open Link in New Window that the same Holy Spirit is in us. So I guess the challenge is what are we going to do about it? Are we prepared to be obedient, are we ready to ask for the Holy Spirit to help us to resist temptation so that perhaps we too may walk out of the temptation we face in the power of the Holy Spirit. Are we ready to receive the Spirit and Ask him to speak to us and then act upon the small still voice that he speaks into our heart. Are we ready to live like Jesus did relying on the Holy Spirit?

Are you in a desert? Is this the toughest part of your life so far? Ask to be filled with the Holy Spirit so that you can make it through and perhaps you too will be able to walk out in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Let’s pray.
If you want to then please speak this out loud.

Lord Jesus,
We confess that we have not always allowed the Holy Spirit access all areas in our lives. Please forgive us. Come now Holy Spirit and help us to hear you and respond to your promptings in our lives.
Amen.

There will be a video version of the service.

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