Jesus and the Spirit

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    DAY ONE: Jesus and the Spirit

    Jesus was the most Spirit-soaked, saturated, filled, and empowered individual ever! For his 33 years on earth, Jesus, according to the Apostle Paul, emptied himself (kenosis) of his omni-qualities. He was not all powerful, not all knowing, and not everywhere all at once. The incarnate Jesus was limited (Philippians 2:6–8). We read that the incarnate Jesus grew and became strong and was filled with wisdom (Luke 2:40, 52).

    Jesus needed to be filled with and empowered with the Spirit of God. Today, you will do an overview of the main experiences Jesus had with the Spirit. For each passage, note the verbs that describe the relationship of Jesus and the Spirit. Look at the results as well.

    Jesus conceived by the Spirit (Luke 1:29–35)

    Baptism of Jesus (Matthew 3:13–17)

    Temptation of Jesus (starts in Matthew 4:1)

    Public beginning of Jesus’ ministry (Luke 4:14–19)

    Jesus’ teaching ministry (John 6:63)

    Healing ministry of Jesus (Acts 10:38)

    Jesus filled with joy through the Spirit (Luke 10:21)

    And as you will see later this week, Jesus taught extensively about the Spirit.

    CONSIDER: If Jesus needed the Spirit to do all he did, here is my question: How much do you think you need the Spirit of God?

    PRAY:  Spirit lead me… Spirit fill me… Spirit guide me… Spirit teach me… Spirit empower me… Spirit anoint me… Spirit use me to bring glory to the Father through Jesus the Son.

    DAY TWO: Power Encounters

    Matthew 12:22–32

    In Luke 10:17, after the disciples returned from a ministry trip, they rejoiced that even demons had been subject to them in the name of Jesus. Jesus celebrates and says, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.” Demonic powers are being defeated.

    Nowhere is this more evident than in Matthew 12:22–32. In this story, the enemies of Jesus accuse him of casting out devils by the power of a greater devil. See what Jesus says in response.

    This is known as a power encounter—the power of God against the powers of darkness. It is NO CONTEST. Darkness loses. The Kingdom of God is breaking into this world and breaking apart the kingdom of darkness. Read Ephesians 6:10–18 to see what Paul says about the powers and principalities, or powers of darkness.

    The demonic is real and you need to be informed about spiritual warfare against the demonic. There is, however, a good deal of inadequate and sometimes just bad teaching about the demonic. Always be careful about darkness (1 Peter 5:8–9), but the point in the Gospels is that the Holy Spirit of God in Jesus is stronger than Satan and his cronies (i.e., demons). You need not fear. 

    PUT IT INTO PRACTICE: If you are ever feeling oppressed, attacked, or tempted, stand firm in the strong name of Jesus and rebuke the powers of darkness. You don’t have to make a big deal out of this. You don’t have to get in a panic and find the “magical” words to speak against the devil. Just stand secure under the cross and strong in the entrance of the empty tomb. The demonic knows what that means. As James says, with this kind of resistance, the devil goes running away (James 4:7).

    For my explanation of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit and the unforgivable sin, check out the blog post for Tuesday, May 7.

    DAY THREE: Born of the Spirit

    John 3:1-8

    In this passage, all the rich Old Testament theme of ruach is seen. The ruach is Spirit, breath, wind, and life of God that enters us. We are born again by the Spirit of God. When you become a Christian, it is by the life-giving power of the Spirit. When you become a Christian, the Spirit of God now dwells in you.

    We need the Spirit of God if we are to become Christians. We need the outside agency and power of God to save us (John 3:5–6).

    We cannot make ourselves alive when we are dead in our sins (Colossians 2:13).

    We cannot make ourselves children of God when we are enemies of God and children of the devil (Romans 5:10; John 8:44). We need the Spirit so we can cry Abba (Galatians 4:6; Romans 8:15).

    The greatest miracle of all is the miracle of new birth—the miracle of conversion. It is the miracle of taking people who are dead in sin, forgiving them, and saving them.

    Remember your own story of coming to faith. As you remember, understand that God was working on you without you even knowing it. The Spirit was calling you, preparing you, softening your heart, and opening your eyes to see the need for Christ. Take a few moments and be grateful for this work of the Spirit of God.

    PRAY: If there is someone you care about who has not yet become a Christian, pray for the Spirit of God to surround them, challenge them, convict them, soften their heart, open their heart to Jesus, and make them dissatisfied with their current way of life. Use language like this as you pray for your family and friends.

    DAY FOUR: Jesus Teaches About the Spirit

    John 14:15–17, 25-27; 15:26–16:15

    Make a list of everything important you learn about the Holy Spirit.

    QUESTION: Why does Jesus tell you all this about the Spirit? And why does Jesus want you to understand the work of the Spirit? 

    ANSWER: Because the Spirit will do for you everything you just observed. So, EXPECT the Spirit, ENCOUNTER the Spirit, and ENJOY the Spirit.

    DAY FIVE: More on the Spirit from Jesus

    For each passage, notice the most important work of the Spirit. Write down your thoughts about what each work is about and what the results are in your life.

    John 1:32-34

    John 4:23-24

    John 7:37-39

    John 20:21-23

    PRAY: Jesus, thank you that you have baptized me in the Spirit. Now, Jesus, flood me and soak me with your Holy Spirit. Jesus, teach me to worship you in Spirit and in truth. Jesus, may rivers of living water pour from me into the world around. And Jesus, fill me with your Spirit so I may be about the work of reconciliation and forgiveness.

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