Section 5: The Holy Spirit
Week 3: The Holy Spirit’s Work in the Life of Jesus
Day 2: The Holy Spirit’s Role in Jesus’ Life Generally
Matt. 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-12; Luke 3:21-22; John 1:29-34
In our study on Jesus, we discussed the fact that, although he was tempted just as we are, Jesus never sinned. He was (and remains) perfectly sinlessness. We also noted Jesus didn’t rely on his divine nature to accomplish that feat. Because he served as our representative, Jesus had to rely on his human nature to do it. At first, that seems like a dangerous proposition. Jesus wouldn’t have been able to save us if he had sinned. We needed Jesus to pay the penalty we owed for our sin through his death. Had he sinned, though, Jesus would have had to pay the penalty for his own sin. That means there wouldn’t have been anything left over to credit to our accounts.
So a lot was riding on Jesus remaining sinless. It seems risky leaving such a big job to something as limited as human nature. Wasn’t sin a real possibility if Jesus had to rely only on his human nature? It’s true; Jesus wasn’t born with a sin nature like we are. Would that have been enough to guarantee his sinlessness though? After all, Adam and Eve were born without sin natures too, and look at how that turned out!
So how could God be sure his plan for our salvation us wasn’t going to get derailed on the off chance Jesus sinned? The answer is the Holy Spirit. At each step in Jesus’ life, the Holy Spirit was there working to make sure Jesus was the man he needed to be. Any time the temptation to sin would have arisen, the Spirit would have known Jesus well enough to know what he needed to resist that temptation and precisely when he needed it.[i] At times Jesus might have needed to be reminded of the Father’s goodness and love. At other times, he might have needed to be reminded of the magnitude of our plight. Whatever it was, the Holy Spirit would have been there to make sure Jesus had whatever he needed to be strong enough to resist every temptation.
So, from our perspective, it may seem like a risky plan to rely on Jesus’ human nature alone. But, in reality, there was no risk because the Holy Spirit knew exactly what needed to be done to ensure the Father’s plan unfolded just as it was supposed to.
Read 1 Corinthians 10: 1-13.
What does this say about temptation? Jesus temptation? Yours? What is the promise it makes in the face of temptation? How did the Holy Spirit do that in Jesus’ life? Make an effort to be more watchful for the way out the next time you are tempted.
[i] Bruce A. Ware, The Man Christ Jesus: Theological Reflections on the Humanity of Christ, Wheaton: Crossway (2013) Ch. 5 eBook.