Very often when we consider the Spirit filled life,we look at examples from the history of the church and from people that we know. In doing this I think we miss an important dimension of Scriptural teaching which is that Jesus is the perfect example of somebody filled with the Holy Spirit. It is important to see this because when we talk about being filled with the Holy Spirit people often back off because they think we are asking them to become weird, but Jesus was not weird. His life that we so much admire for its love and compassion shows to us the reality of the Spirit filled life. looking at Jesus as our example can also help us to avoid a triumphalistic view of the Spirit filled life.
The Gospels record for us the account of the Holy Spirit coming upon Jesus at his baptism, each of the four Gospels record this and bring different dimensions to light. the very fact that all four gospels record this important event should cause us to the significance of this not only for the Lord Jesus but also for all Christians.
Jesus is Tempted: The record of Jesus being tempted is directly after he has been filled with the Spirit,indeed it must be noted that the Gospel writers link the temptations to the filling of the Spirit. Mark says,
9 At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
12 At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness, 13 and he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him. (Mark 1:9-13)
Jesus is sent into the wilderness by the Spirit and it is as Jesus follows the leading of the Holy Spirit that he is tempted, Luke also see the connection he says,
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, 2 where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.(Luke 4:1-2).
Read Luke 4 and you will see how Satan brought this time of temptation to its culmination. Sometimes we think that if we are Spirit filled, we will not be tempted, and we think that there must be something wrong with us because we are tempted. The Gospel accounts show that although Jesus was tempted he did not give into temptation and Luke shows us how Jesus used the Word of God to foil the tempters power. We have the same weapon provided for us, we too can use the sword of the spirit which is the Word of God to come against the evil one. Very often we need to remind ourselves that as we go through temptation Jesus had experienced the same thing before us, the writer of the book of Hebrews says,
14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are —yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:14-16)
This is so encouraging to know that as we are tempted we can come to one who has felt the full force of Satan’s power and yet resisted, and he cares for us today and is willing to come to our aid.
We don’t often think of the Spirit filled life as one where temptation exists but for our spiritual health we need to realise that the enemy of souls will always oppose us when we serve the living God. Yet when experience temptation as we fix our eyes on Jesus we will find a way of escape.
The Ministry of Jesus: Luke gives us what I like to call the Jesus Manifesto,
14 Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. 15 He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.
16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:14-19)
Jesus here shows a consciousness of the presence of the Holy Spirit as he begins his ministry. His church started the same way according to Acts chapters 1 and 2. All that we see and admire in the life and ministry of Jesus is because he lives a Spirit filled life. Jesus showed love to the needy, sinful and sick he brought them to know the love of God. Jesus listened to what the Father told him to do (see John 5:19). In all of this he is an example to us. If you want to see the pattern of the Spirit filled life read the Gospels and reflect on how Jesus lived, and you will see that there is much that we can follow our Lord in.
Suffering: The writer of Hebrews shows us that even in His death Jesus offered himself up through the Spirit.
how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, cleanse our consciences from dead works to serve the living God? (Hebrews 9:14)
Even when it comes to his sacrificial death Jesus offers himself up through the Spirit, even at the point of his greatest suffering he is doing everything in the power of the Holy Spirit. This shows us that the Holy Spirit is available to believers when they are going through al kinds of trials as Romans Chapter 8 tells us,
And likewise also, the Spirit helps us in our weakness, for we do not know how to pray as one ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with unexpressed groanings. 27 And the one who searches our hearts knows what the mindset of the Spirit is, because he intercedes on behalf of the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, for those who are called according to his purpose,(Romans 8:26–28 LEB)
It is important to remember that the people of God can be filled with the Holy Spirit at any time.
The above few considerations show the relevance of the life of Christ as a patten of the Spirit filled life, if we want to be Christlike then we will want to be filled with the Holy Spirit.