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Friday, December 8, 2017

Day 11: The Spirit and the Messiah

Today's Scripture Reading: Isaiah 11:1-10

And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him,
    the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
    the Spirit of counsel and might,
    the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord. - Isaiah 11:2-3a, ESV

The Spirit and the Messiah 

What could be wrong with my car now?? I shook my head in disgust and frustration, anxious about the high cost of repairing whatever had gone wrong. The car's engine sputtered and died and I drifted to a complete stop by the side of the road. I popped the hood and looked underneath, not that I knew what I was trying to see. Nothing was smoking or smelling bad. The car hadn't made any strange noises before it died. I closed the hood and got back into the car. That's when I saw the gas gauge: Empty.

A car can be in perfect mechanical condition, but it will not run without gas. Why did Jesus need to be filled with the Holy Spirit? Wasn't He perfect? Why did the Spirit descend on Him like a dove at His baptism? Was it just a public show of His status as Messiah? Well, the Spirit and the Father were both certainly publicly testifying. The descent of the Spirit was a direct and unmistakable fulfillment of the words of Isaiah 11. Yet, the Spirit also came upon Jesus because Jesus needed Him.

We must realize and remember that Jesus was both true God and true man. As Messiah, He represented us in His human flesh. "God cannot be tempted with evil," according to James 1:13, but Jesus was tempted by the devil in the wilderness, because He was a true man. The only way for any of us to resist temptation and glorify God in our lives is by the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit. He faced His temptations and trials in the Spirit's power. He overcame the devil's lies by the truth of God's word and the power of the Spirit. We have victory in the same way, for we need the same Spirit that Jesus needed - and even more so, for we are not perfect.   

Isaiah 11 is a beautiful description of a life that fully manifests the fruit of the Spirit. Jesus was the perfect picture of a fruitful believer: one who walks by faith, who seeks the glory of God, who is filled with the Holy Spirit, and who walks in the path of God's Word. Thus, His ministry as Messiah began with the filling of the Spirit.

Yet Jesus is so much more than a mere man. His obedience does more than just exhibit the fruit of the Spirit, Ultimately, Jesus' obedience brings in the fullness of God's kingdom. God's blessings spread throughout all the earth in peace and prosperity for all, one Jesus returns to consummate the kingdom He is now advancing.

Today's Advent lesson is to thank God for anointing Jesus with the Holy Spirit and to realize how much we need the Spirit in our lives. We need Him more than we can ever know, and He is available to us with more power than we could realize.

Heavenly Father, Your Spirit is a comforter, counselor and guide. He is our source of strength and our connection to You. He applies all the saving benefits of Jesus to us, just as He filled Jesus and empowered Him to please You perfectly. Thank You for Your Spirit. May we see more of His powerful presence in our lives. In Jesus' name, Amen.


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