Spirit and Mission

The Messiah is identified in the Second Psalm as the Messianic King destined to reign over the Nations of the Earth. In the New Testament, he is anointed by the Holy Spirit at his baptism, equipping him to proclaim the “Kingdom of God” to Israel. He, in turn, granted the Gift of the Spirit to his disciples to enable them to announce his message and sovereignty to the world.

Unlike the kings and high priests of the Hebrew Bible, Jesus was anointed with God’s Spirit rather than olive oil. This separated him apart for ministry as the Herald of God’s Kingdom and the Suffering Servant of Yahweh - (Psalm 2:6-9, Isaiah 61:1-2, Psalm 45:7, Isaiah 11:1-5, 42:1, 59:21).

Earth globe - Photo by Gaël Gaborel - OrbisTerrae on Unsplash
[Photo by Gaël Gaborel - OrbisTerrae on Unsplash]

In the Old Testament, men were endowed 
temporarily by the Spirit for specific tasks. In contrast, the Spirit descended and REMAINED on Jesus. He had the fullness of the Spirit and “not by measure,” unlike the prophets, kings, and priests of old - (John 3:34).

Following his baptism, the Spirit drove him into the wilderness to be tested by the Devil. However, where Israel failed during its wilderness sojourn, Jesus overcame the Adversary by submitting to the will of his Father. Afterward, he “returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee” and began preaching the Gospel - (Matthew 4:1, Luke 4:13-14).

Jesus attributed his miracles to the Spirit of God, not to any inherent superhuman power that he possessed. When accused of exorcising demons by the power of Satan, he retorted, “But if I, by the Spirit of God, cast out demons…” If the Spirit of God was manifesting in his words and deeds, “then is the Kingdom of God come upon you.”

This last point was also the understanding of the early Church, and this is reflected in the Epistles and the Book of Acts:

  • (Acts 10:38) - “How God anointed him with Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed by the adversary, because God, was with him.
  • (Romans 1:4) – “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, a called apostle, separated unto the Gospel of God, which he promised beforehand, through his prophets, in holy scriptures, concerning his Son who came to be of the seed of David, according to flesh, who was distinguished as the Son of God by power, according to a Holy Spirit, through means of a resurrection of the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord.

The presence of the Holy Spirit was integral to the identity and mission of the Messiah. Jesus was also the one who dispensed the Spirit to his Assembly and followers, just as he promised to send the same Spirit to “bear witness of me”:

  • Whenever the Advocate shall come, whom I will send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which from the Father comes forth. He will bear witness concerning me” - (John 15:26).

After his Ascension, Jesus “sent the Promise of his Father upon” his disciples to empower them to preach the Good News of salvation and his reign. This mission to the Nations was part and parcel of how the Spirit “bore witness” to the Son of God. Since he was appointed to reign over the Nations, he “received of the Father the Promise of the Holy Spirit.” - (Luke 24:45-49, Acts 2:33-38, Ephesians 4:8-12).

Just as the Spirit separated the Son to declare the “Kingdom of God,” the Gift of the Spirit empowers his disciples to preach the Gospel to “all the Nations.” This is the paramount task of the “Body of Christ,” but its members cannot implement it without the presence and guidance of the Holy Spirit, therefore, the disciples were commanded to wait in Jerusalem until they received the Spirit.

Only then could they become his “witnesses… to the uttermost parts of the Earth” since the Spirit of God was essential to the mission of the Church, which can only be carried out by a people who possess the Gift of the Holy Spirit - (Luke 24:45-49).

  • One People - (By his death and resurrection, Jesus formed one covenant community - One New Man - based on faith in him – Ephesians 2:11-22)
  • The Mission - (The mission of the church between now and Christ’s return is to announce the Good News of his Kingdom to all nations – Matthew 24:14)
  • The Assembly of God - (The Christian use of the term church or ekklésia is derived from the assembly of Yahweh gathered for worship in the Hebrew Bible)



The Living Word

The Suffering Servant