Good News of the Holy Spirit


Why did Jesus get baptized when he had never sinned? Why did the Holy Spirit come upon him when he was conceived by the Holy Spirit and filled with the Holy Spirit from conception?


I want us to see the role of the Holy Spirit in history and in our lives.


We will look at Mark 1:4-11 and see Jesus’ baptism and the importance of the Holy Spirit’s role.

Why the Holy Spirit Descended on Jesus

If Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit why did he descend again on Jesus at his baptism (Mark 1:4-11)? Like the curtain of the temple is later torn apart, here the heavens are torn apart and the Holy Spirit descends. Jesus was God in the flesh, so the coming of the Holy Spirit to him was a confirmation of what he had. The difference between Jesus’ baptism and John’s was that John baptized for repentance. Christian baptism is for receiving the power of the Holy Spirit. God also says of Jesus that he is well-pleased with him, not in the sense of what he has done but who he is. In the same way God loves us, not for what we have done, which is not worth bragging about, but that God loves us for who we are.

As Jesus Arose from the Water

At what moment did the Holy Spirit come upon Jesus? Ancient paintings show Jesus standing knee deep in the Jordan with water poured over him from a sea shell. Another picture is of his head coming out of the water. The second picture is one by those who assume that the words “as Jesus was coming up out of the water” mean that he was immersed. A particular mode of baptism is not mandated anywhere. The original Greek is clearer, coming from a word often translated as to mount. The mode of his baptism is obscure. God must see it as unimportant. Otherwise he would have inspired greater clarity. What the wording does seem to show is that Jesus began to mount the riverbank, thus arising out of the water. It seems that then the Holy Spirit came upon him.

History of the Holy Spirit

At the beginning, in the creation account, the Holy Spirit hovered over the waters (Genesis 1:2). Later, Bezalel was filled with the Spirit of God in order to build the tabernacle (Exodus 31:2-4; 35:30-32). Old Testament prophets prophesied as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21). Mary became pregnant by the creative action of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:18-20; Luke 1:41). At his baptism (Mark 1:4-11) Jesus’ who was filled by the Holy Spirit his whole life was confirmed by the Holy Spirit descending from heaven like a dove. Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit to be tested (Luke 4:1). The Holy Spirit came as a gift to the baptized Christians and now He empowers the church to speak the word boldly (Acts 2:38; 4:31).

Baptized with the Holy Spirit

Baptize literally means "to dip" but is used in the Bible in several nonliteral ways like passing through the Red Sea dry shod (1 Corinthians 10:2), washing dishes (Mark 7:4), overwhelmed with calamity like the cross (Mark 10:38-39), ceremonial washings by sprinkling (Hebrews 9:9-14), and an outpouring or large bestowal (Matthew 3:11). What do following Jesus and a life baptized in the Holy Spirit (Mark 1:4-11) mean? Could it include the "baptism" of suffering and death which Jesus experienced? The cross is as Christians understand it, good news indeed for God's anointed, the Son of God. If we want to follow Jesus, make sure we “look good on wood.” A commercialized Christmas hides the real cost of following the baby who would be born. Advent prepares the way that will lead to the cross.

Self-sacrifice is the Way

Being baptized with the Holy Spirit (Mark 1:4-11) brings a different way of life, the way of the cross. Much of today’s politics is about selfishness. We don’t want to make sure the poor have health care because we are selfish. The super rich block any legislation that requires them to pay more in taxes, because they are selfish. We don’t want to be merciful towards illegal aliens because we are selfish. Countries with universal health care pay much less than Americans do for health care. We want abortion on demand because we are selfish.  On average more foreigners start businesses and create more jobs than native born citizens. In the 50’s-70’s requiring the super rich to pay more in taxes caused a resurgence of the middle class. We once defined blacks and natives as non human and now we define the unborn as non human purely for our selfish convenience. Selfishness hurts a nation. Jesus taught us that self-sacrifice benefits everyone. Living the way of the cross is good news.

The Nicene Creed on the Holy Spirit

The Nicene Creed reminds us that the Holy Spirit is 1) “the Lord” because God is Spirit (John 4:24) and holy (Psalm 99:9). The Holy Spirit is 2) “the… Giver of Life” (John 6:63). 3) “who proceeds from the Father and the Son.” The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of the Father and the Spirit of the Son. The Father sends the Spirit (John 14:26) and Jesus sends the Holy Spirit from the Father (John 15:26). 4) “who… is worshipped and glorified.” We baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19), the third person of the Trinity (John 14:26). 5) “who Spoke through the Prophets.” (2 Peter 1:21). This reminds us that the Old and New Testaments are both inspired by God.

Benefits from the Holy Spirit

Thomas Aquinas wrote of five benefits of the Holy Spirit as 1) He cleanses us from our sins. How? He recreates the hearts of men, destroyed by sin (Psalm 103:30). 2) He enlightens the intellect. All that we know spiritually, because He teaches and reminds us of all things (John 14:26; 1 John 2:27). 3) He assists and compels us to love God and keep his word and move us to keep his commandments (John 14:23; Ezekiel 36:26-27). 4) He strengthens us in the hope of eternal life. He is a seal marking the pledge of our inheritance as adopted children of God (Ephesians 1:13; Romans 8:15-16; Galatians 4:6). 5) He counsels us when we are in doubt and teaches the churches the will of God (Revelation 2:7; Isaiah 50:4).


The Holy Spirit descends on us in loving embrace to let us know that God is also well pleased with us, pleased to call us his children and a special treasure forever.