All four gospels speak of Jesus’ baptism by John. Three of the four relate the temptation of Jesus. Only one explains to us the source of Jesus’ power. It would be easy to simply glide past this critical event in Jesus’ life that gave impetus to His ministry. It would be easy to glibly say that “of course He did miracles because He was God.” Yet as the apostle Paul reminds us, “being in the form of God He did not consider equality with God something to grasp/hang onto but He emptied Himself and took the form of a servant, being found in the likeness of mankind …” (Phil.2:6-7). He chose to leave His Godhood behind so that He could completely identify with mankind, though without sin. (Heb.4:15; 2 Cor.5:21).
Luke tells us that Jesus was “full of the Holy Spirit when He returned from the Jordan” (Lk.4:1). The dove, coming down from heaven and landing upon Him, was far more than a symbolic act. He was baptized by John to fulfill all righteousness (Mt.3:15); He was “filled with the Holy Spirit” for ministry (Lk.4:1).
It then seems strange that the Spirit would lead Jesus into the desert to be tempted by the devil (Lk.4:1). Yet there are three areas that seem to be the devil’s playground: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the pride of life (I Jn.2:16). Jesus confronted each temptation by the authority of the word. He did not succumb to the seduction of false promises. Then He returned “in the power of the Spirit unto Galilee …” (Lk.4:14).
Peter, in speaking at Cornelius’ house, told of how “God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and power, Who went about doing good and healing all those who were oppressed by the devil” (Acts.10: 38).
Without Luke’s account we may have missed the source of Jesus’ authority and power. Without Luke we may miss our source of authority and power. Package it however you wish; use whatever language you want but without this baptism of the Holy Spirit, without His fulness in our lives we cannot break the strongholds of the devil nor set the prisoner free. The first thing Jesus declared to the listeners at the synagogue in Nazareth was “the Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me” (Lk.4:18). The rest of Isaiah’s prophesy follows from this anointed presence (Is.61:1-2).
God has not changed His solution for the weakness and ineptitude of the church today. His desire is still to “proclaim the gospel to the poor, to heal the brokenhearted, deliverance to the captives, sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed and to preach the acceptable year of the Lord” (Lk.4:18-19). But His methodology remains the same: the baptism and fulness of the Holy Spirit. Preaching without this fulness may have the form of godliness but lacks the power thereof (2 Tim.3:5). You know it; I know it and the devil definitely knows it (Acts 19:11ff).
Tarry until you be clothed with power from high and then preach the good news to the poor and set the captives free from the bondages of sin and the devil. You may face the fury, as Jesus did in Nazareth, of the religious pious and comfortable sinners (Lk.4:28-29). Know that the servant is not above the master (Jn.15:20). Yet the best awaits those whose hearts stay true, whose minds stay sharp and spirits attentive to “Living and Walking in the Spirit” (Gal.5:25).