“The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the Holy Offspring shall be called the Son of God” [Luke: 35].
With those words spoken to Mary by an Angel, we learn that God is capable of bringing a virgin birth to pass. God bypassed the male element of birth. No man participated. The Holy Spirit played the prominent role.
Most Christians are very familiar with this idea and most believe it occurred.
Matthew is the book that begins the New Testament and it begins with Jesus’ genealogy followed by the story of Jesus’ birth. But we are still not at Acts 2, when the Holy Spirit manifested itself in the lives of believers.
Pastor Billy Graham* cites the familiar passages of scripture that recount the effect of the Holy Spirit on Jesus. He was baptized by the Spirit in John 1, led by the Spirit in Luke 4, anointed by the Spirit in Luke 4 and empowered by the Spirit in Matthew 12. Jesus offered Himself as atonement for sin by the Spirit in Hebrews 9, was raised by the Spirit in Romans 8, and gave commandments by the Spirit in Acts 1.
In a very extensive discussion by John F. Walvoord** [President of Dallas Theological Seminary], he details that “the humanity of Christ included all the essential elements. Christ possessed a true body, composed of flesh and blood and all the normal human functions [Hebrews 2:14].” He also possessed a human nature but without one important aspect. Christ was without sin. “It is essential to every important doctrine that the Person of Christ be sinless and to this, the Scriptures give abundant testimony (Isaiah 53:9; John 8:46; 2 Cor 5:21; Heb 4:15; 7:26; 1 Pet 1:19; 2:22; 1 John 3:5). The sinlessness of His human nature is a result of the work of the Holy Spirit in conception, as we have seen, His humanity being kept from all sin.”
Almost nothing is known of the life of Christ from His birth to the beginning of His public ministry, only the events surrounding His birth and the incident in the temple at the age of twelve.
Walvoord makes an argument for Jesus’s first twelve years: “It is entirely possible that the body of Christ, being devoid of sin, developed more rapidly and manifested perfection of body which could not be true in sinful men. In contrast to the picture often drawn of Christ, His body was probably unusually strong and graceful, devoid of the hereditary effects of sin as manifested in the race. The account in the temple of Christ at the age of twelve, while chiefly in reference to His mental powers, indicated that He was developed beyond His years in every way.”
The appearance of the Spirit in the life of Jesus after His baptism is well known. At the baptism, the Holy Spirit descended in the form of a dove, as Christ was coming up from the Jordan. From that point on, Christ had the power of prophecy, the power to preach and the power to perform miracles. Graham says “The Holy Spirit was also at work among the Disciples of Jesus before Pentecost. Jesus says in John 14:17 that “He [the Holy Spirit] abides with you.” Yet the operation of the Spirit was not in full force at this time: John 7: 39 says “But this He [Jesus] spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.”
Graham says we are not sure what the difference is, but when the Holy Spirit at Pentecost came, it was a much greater manifestation that anything anyone had experienced before.
The powerful Holy Spirit at Pentecost is evident as one can turn to the words of Acts 2: “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from Heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.”
This stronger presence of the Spirit filled the whole house. About one hundred and twenty followers of Christ were present, including the Twelve Apostles (Matthias was Judas’ replacement), Jesus’ mother Mary, other female disciples and Jesus’ brother.
The catch is the Holy Spirit could not come unless Jesus went to Heaven. John 16:5-7 is Scripture that explains that: [Jesus says] “but now I am going to Him who sent me. None of you asks Me, ‘Where are you going?’ Rather, you are filled with grief because I have said these things. But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.”
That Advocate, that Holy Spirit was sent to the room and the one hundred and twenty followers.
That Advocate, that Holy Spirit was also sent for you and for me…
*From his book The Holy Spirit
**On the Bible.Org.Website