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  • Garrett Escue

The work of the Spirit in the life of Jesus of Nazareth

Updated: Jun 18

I'll admit, the title isn't all that catchy. But, here you are reading anyway, so perhaps it worked! Lately I have been reading through a doctoral dissertation that a former professor of mine has written. I want to give full credit to Dr. Scott Adair for bringing these insights to the forefront.


The mystery of "What exactly does the Spirit do?" Is one that has rattled the minds of folks in our tradition for quite sometime. I'll gladly admit that I have joyfully wrestled with this very question for a while now. I say joyfully, because with each study I fall more and more in love with the Holy Spirit. There are MANY answers to the enigma above, but in this article, I simply want to point out what the scripture says about the role of the Spirit in the life of Jesus of Nazareth. These truths have been right under my nose, (literally) as I have read over the Gospel accounts. However, it wasn't until it was presented in this paper, that I have come to better understand their significance.


The Spirit plays a vital role in the life of Jesus even before his birth

Lk: 1:35- Mary becomes pregnant by the power of the Spirit

Lk 1:15- John the Baptist paves a path for Jesus while being filled with the Spirit from birth


The Spirit plays a vital role in the life of Jesus beginning at this baptism

Mk 1:10- The Spirit descends on Jesus like a dove post Baptism of John

Mk 1:12- The Spirit drives Jesus into the Wilderness to be tempted.

Lk 4:14- Jesus returns to Galilee "in the power of the Spirit"

Lk 4:18-19- Jesus reads from Is. 61 proclaiming that the Spirit of the Lord is upon him.

Lk 4:29- His fellow towns folk attempt to kill him because he says the Spirit is working in his life

Mk 3:22 - Religious leaders credit Beelzebub as the source of Jesus miracle

Mk 3:28- Jesus does not defend his own power, rather that of the Spirit they are blaspheming against

Mt. 12:28- "If I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you." (there is no claim to be the source of power he displays)

Acts 2:22- "...which God did among you, through him, as you yourselves know"

Rom 8:11- The power of the Spirit raised Jesus from the dead


But wait, there's more. The Spirit not only does might works through Jesus, it also links Jesus to the Father.

Lk 10:21- "...full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, "I praise you Father, Lord of heaven and earth."

Acts 10:31- points not only to the Spirit being the source of "healing all," but also, "doing good."

Lk 22:3- Satan enters Judas and leads him to betrayal.

Hebrews 9:14 "Through the eternal Spirit" that Jesus "Offered himself unblemished to God."


"When the Father tears open the heavens, he pours out his Spirit upon his Son. Jesus, having completely emptied himself, is filled by that outpouring, which results in filial affection and faithfulness never before known by human flesh."

-Dr. Scott Adair



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