For a period of 400 years between the Old and New testament, history is silent about spiritual religion and the working of the Holy Spirit. As the gospels relate the story of Christís birth and life, it is apparent that there was a remnant who still held to the teachings of the prophets and looked forward with hope and expectation for the coming Messiah. I believe these people were filled with the Holy Spirit because of their faith and hope in the Word of God.
The Gospel of Luke records some specific examples of the filling of the Holy Spirit. Luke details the story of several godly and spirit-filled persons which reflect the belief of a large segment of the population. Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, was visited by an angel and told her that John would be filled with the Holy Spirit while he was still in her womb. When Mary, the mother of Jesus, came to visit her, the baby in Elizabethís womb leaped about through the influence of the Holy Spirit. This same Holy Spirit filled Elizabeth and she cried out loudly proclaiming Godís blessing on Mary and her child, the coming Messiah. After Johnís birth, Zecariah, the father, was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, giving thanks for the salvation of God. So it can be seen that Johnís parents shared also in the blessings of the Holy Spirit that came unto John.
Luke records the activity of the Holy Spirit in an even more striking way through a godly man named Simeon, who came to the temple and met Mary and Joseph and the baby Jesus. The Holy Spirit was continually upon this man. The Holy Spirit had prepared and directed him to the temple at this specific time, and by the Holy Spirit he recognized the Messiah. And through the Spirit he prophesied that Jesus was the Light of the World for the Gentiles and Jews. Another godly woman, Anna, a prophetess was there also. She was moved by the Spirit and gave thanks to the Lord and went about spreading the good news to others. I believe these are just some examples of many people who were truly faithful and spirit-filled during the period of the Gospels.
All four of the Gospels record John the Baptistís prophecy of the coming One who will baptize in the Holy Spirit, a fulfillment of the promise of the Father. This pouring out of the Spirit will not only be upon them, but will be immersed and saturated by Him.
All the Gospels also record the descent of the Spirit like a dove after Jesus is baptized. This was an actual visible appearance that everyone could see. This was Godís proclamation that Jesus was His Son. This descent was also a visible sign of the approval of Jesus ministry. Jesus did not begin His ministry until the Holy Spirit descended upon Him. These particular verses show the distinctnesses of God the Father, God, the Son, and God the Holy Spirit as individual personalities.
The Holy Spirit came upon Jesus to prepare Him for his ministry among men. As soon as the Spirit came upon Him , He submitted to the Spiritís leading. The Spirit led Him, drove Him into the desert. He was so filled with the Spirit that He did not even feel hunger for forty days. He defeated the temptations of the devil by the same power available to us. The Word of God, led by the Holy Spirit.
This filling of the Spirit in Jesus life prepared Him to do all Godís work. The anointing of the Spirit gave Him power and authority in His teaching and healing ministry. He was sent to proclaim Godís love and grace for us through Him. He sent out a following to spread the Good News and Jesus experienced true joy in the Spirit for what others were doing in His name.
In the course of Jesus ministry, He was verbally attacked by unbelievers, who claimed He was performing miracles by the power of Satan, and saying He had an unclean or evil Spirit. This attack upon the Holy Spirit caused Jesus to issue a warning concerning the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. These warnings also clearly show a distinction between the person of Jesus and the person of the Holy Spirit. We must realize as believers that the Holy Spirit is a person that has feelings just like us. We need to be aware of what we say and do because the Spirit dwells within us at all times, and our relationship with Him is affected by our actions and thoughts.
The Father sent the Spirit to us to bring us gifts and to continue His work through us, just as He did for Jesus. The Spirit will minister to us and through us as we allow Him to work in our life. Matt. says it is not us that speaks but the Spirit that speaks through us. This filling of the Spirit gives us wisdom , knowledge and understanding to give us the words to say that will honor and glorify the name of Jesus. As believers we are to daily live, breathe, and walk in the Spirit. We are to worship God through the Spirit. The Holy Spirit is our Comforter, Advocate, and Teacher who guides us through the Word to find the truth and counsels us in the ways we should live and walk.
What a blessing the Holy Spirit is to us as believers.
The Spirit also has a relationship to the rest of the world, the unbelievers. The world wants to deny that there is sin or judgment. The world wants to ignore that there is a right or a wrong way to live and act. The world wants to do as it pleases -if it feels good then do it attitude- regardless of what the Word of God says. The world does not want anybody telling them how they should or should not live. In the Gospels, we are commanded to go into the world and teach about Jesus and what He did on the cross for everyone. We, as believers can only do this through the power and strength of the Holy Spirit. We need to take the Word to the world. The Holy Spirit will then convince or convict the unbelievers of the world that they need a personal relationship with Jesus. It takes the work of the Holy Spirit to make people see the truth.
Through the study of the Gospels it can be seen that the Holy Spirit is a distinct individual from God and Jesus. Even though Jesus is the Son of God, and One with Him, Jesus, as man, still needed the filling of the Holy Spirit in Him on this earth to guide and direct Him. The Holy Spirit gave Him the power and the strength to overcome the temptations of Satan and to stand up to the unbelievers who ridiculed and persecuted Him. We have the same Holy Spirit within us that Jesus had. We can have that same strength and power and boldness of Jesus through the Holy Spirit. There is a world of unbelievers just as in the time of Jesus. Through our teaching and preaching of the Word of God by the Holy Spirit, the unbelievers can receive the truth about Jesus. The Holy Spirit will then work in their lives. It then becomes a choice of choosing Jesus or the world. In the gospels, through the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus, the Holy Spirit was active in and through all the believers, especially through the Son of God. Let the Gospels be an example to us to allow the Person of the Holy Spirit to work in and through us as He did through Jesus to reach the multitude of unbelievers. Are we that Christlike? As believers we should be.
What the Bible Says About the Holy Spirit, Horton, Stanley M.
Copy.1976 by Gospel Publishing House