"The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is He of whom I said, After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me. I did not know Him; but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water. And John bore witness, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him. I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit. And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God." (John 1:29-34).
The above text and numerous others suggest that there was a special relationship between Jesus and the Holy Spirit during the days of our Lord's personal ministry. It is altogether out of harmony with the character of Scripture to have such a prominent fact set forth with no purpose or design attributed to it. I believe the Scriptures explain in rather vivid detail the express purpose for which Jesus was given the Holy Spirit and the nature of their relationship during Jesus' earthly ministry. That is the purpose of this study.
Each member of the Godhead maintains a unique role in working out Their eternal purpose. The Three Persons in the Godhead are distinct but equal (John 10:30-33; cf. 5:18). However, these Three Persons are united in will and purpose (John 17:21). But, They each have Their Own unique function. Thus, the Godhead may work through only One of its members in order to accomplish Their collective will and purpose.
These roles are reflected throughout the Scriptures. For example, in the Creation of the world the Father planned and directed the creation week (Genesis 1:1-2; Jeremiah 51:14-15; Psalms 33:9), but the Word executed that plan (John 1:1-3; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:1-2) with the Holy Spirit bringing it to completion or perfection (Genesis 1:2; Job 26:13; Psalms 104:30; cf. Genesis 2:7).
Similarly, in the Redemption of Israel we see the Father directing their removal to Canaan (Genesis 15:7-21; Exodus 2:23-25; 3:6-8; 20:2). But, according to the Scriptures, it is the Word, Christ, actively carrying out this Divine plan (1 Corinthians 10:4; Acts 7:30, 38; Exodus 23:20-21; 32:34) and the Holy Spirit completing it at Mt. Sinai through the revelation of the Law (Exodus 31:18; Luke 11:20; Matt. 12:28; Exodus 34:27-28; Numbers 11:24-26).
In the sending of the Word into the world it is the Father's eternal plan (1 Peter 1:18-20; John 3:16; Galatians 4:4-5) which the Word, Jesus the Son of God, carries out (John 1:1-2, 14; Matthew 20:28; Revelation 5:5-6). The Holy Spirit completes and perfects that plan through wondrous works and the revelation of the Gospel (John 1:31-33; Luke 1:35; Matthew 1:18; 1 Peter 3:18; John 16:7-16).
Matthew, in his account of the gospel, quotes Isaiah 42:1-4 (Matt. 12:17-21). While the Old Testament text does not specifically mention miracles, it does say that the Spirit would be upon Christ so that He could "show judgment to the Gentiles" by which demonstration they would trust in His name. The Apostle tells us that this is done through Jesus healing these multitudes of men and women -- the bruised reeds and smoking flax (Matthew 12:15) -- and preaching the Gospel to them.
Jesus read Isaiah 61:1 in the synagogue at Nazareth on the Sabbath after He returned into Galilee from His baptism and temptation in the wilderness (Luke 4:1-19). Jesus stands before them, having the Spirit upon Him, claiming to have been sent "because He hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor." Peter said that Jesus was anointed at His baptism with the Spirit (Acts 10:38) and immediately set about preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven and healing all that were oppressed of the Devil (Mark 1:12-15).
Paul makes a reference to Isaiah 11:1-10 in Romans 15:12. He establishes that the Christ was sent not only to the Jews but also to the Gentiles (Romans 15:8-13). The text from which part of the quotation comes affirms that the Holy Spirit would "rest" upon the Christ (cf. Genesis 8:4; Numbers 11:25-26). The Holy Spirit "rested" upon Jesus at His baptism (John 1:33; Matthew 3:16).
When "the Word was made flesh," the human being Jesus was subject to all the limitations of humanity. The Holy Spirit was given to Jesus, like other men, in order to do the miraculous works which the Father gave Him to do (John 3:31-36).
Jesus testified in His humanity, "I can of my own self do nothing" (John 4:34; 5:19-20, 30; 7:16-17; 8:28; 10:25, 32, 37; 12:49-50; 14:10-11, 28; 17:4). He clearly attributed His miraculous activity to the Holy Spirit (Matthew 12:28; Luke 4:18-28) as did the New Testament writers (Matthew 12:14-21; Luke 4:1, 14-16; Acts 1:2; 2:22, 43; 10:38).
Jesus' experience in the flesh was exactly like that of every other man (Hebrews 2:17; 4:15).
The Holy Spirit did not give Jesus Divinity. He possessed the Divine nature prior to the Holy Spirit coming upon Him (Matthew 1:23; John 1:27-30) and was Deity from the moment of conception (Luke 1:35). Respecting the Word prior to the incarnation, He has always been Divine (John 1:1-3).
The Holy Spirit did not prevent Jesus from sinning. The Holy Spirit never prevented any man from sinning (Matthew 10:1-5, 20; 26:69-27:10; Galatians 2:11; Numbers 20:11). The temptation of Jesus was real (Matthew 4; Luke 4). There was no miraculous power exercised in Jesus' behalf against Satan in order to reduce the effect of the temptations which He experienced (Luke 4:1; Mark 1:12).
Neither did the Holy Spirit take away the will or the mind of Jesus. The Scriptures teach that the manifestations of the Holy Spirit in the prophets are subject to the prophets (1 Corinthians 14:26-32). Why would it be any different in Jesus? No one is claiming that Jesus lost His will or His mind, or that He did not know what He was doing or why He did it.
Yes, there was a special relationship between Jesus and the Holy Spirit during His ministry. It began at His baptism and continued throughout His public ministry. It was for the purpose of equipping Jesus with the power necessary to complete His redemptive mission.
This special relationship cannot be denied. It was prophesied by the Old Testament prophets, confirmed by the Father, acknowledged by Jesus and revealed by the Apostles. It was absolutely essential to the stated purpose and plan for the Word who was made flesh.