Christ came to provide a pattern of a Spirit-led Life.
Read Is. 61:1-2 Luke 4:16-30
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, Because He anointed me to preach the gospel”
The baptism of Christ was remarkable for it revealed both the deity of Christ in the affirmation of the Father as well as his identification with us as sinners as he participated in John’s baptism of repentance. But in the descent of the Holy Spirit upon Christ, we are provided insight into the empowerment through which Christ would perform his ministry. While Christ possessed all the attributes of God, in the incarnation he set aside the exercise of those attributes. By doing so he chose to identify with us in his humanity. Part of this identification was to rely upon the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, the power available to us. In this, he fulfilled Isaiah 61:1-2 that the Messiah would proclaim his message of salvation, bring freedom for people, and inaugurate the new covenant and his kingdom through the power of the Holy Spirit (vs 2). When Christ began his public ministry, his first message was the proclamation that this prophecy by Isaiah was now fulfilled in him. (Luke 4:16-30). Throughout his ministry we find Christ doing all things through the enabling power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit guided and directed his steps and activities (Luke 4:1). He performed his public ministry through the power of the Spirit (Luke 4:14). His miracles were performed through the Spirit’s empowerment rather than his own (Acts 10:38). He cast out demons by the Spirt of God (Matt. 12:28).
But this brings us to a bewildering conundrum. If Jesus was fully God, possessing all the attributes of God, why did he rely on the empowerment of the Holy Spirit and not his own intrinsic strength? The answer lies in his identification with us. While being fully God, he took on our human nature to identify with us by setting aside the use of his divine authority (Phil. 2:5-8). This he did not only so that he might be our perfect substitute, but also that he might be our supreme example of how we are to live (1 Corinthians 11:1). By living and conducting his ministry in the power of the Holy Spirit, Christ utilized the same empowerment now available to us. Just as the Holy Spirit empowered Christ to accomplish his ministry, so we have the empowerment of the Holy Spirit working in us, enabling us to fulfill the ministry we are called to perform (1 Cor. 12:11). As the Holy Spirit led and guided Christ in his life, the Holy Spirit now led by the Holy Spirit in our life (Rom. 8:14). This is why we can live as Jesus lived (1 John 2:6; Ephes. 5:1-2).
While we still struggle with sin and its influence, we do so with the hope and confidence that we can have victory, not by our own abilities, but by the work of the Holy Spirit in us. The challenge to live like Christ is the challenge to live in complete surrender to the guidance and direction of the Holy Spirit. In Galatians 5:16, Paul states that if we walk by the Spirit we will not gratify the desires of the flesh. In verse 25 he states “if we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” We do this through Bible reading, fellowship, church attendance, obedience to his word, and prayerful dependence upon him. Then we can have victory over sin and truly reveal Christ in our life as we daily ask God to guide and direct our steps and empower us to serve him through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.