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The Holy Spirit in Luke

Posted by on Nov 9, 2010 in scripture, spirit/holy spirit | Comments Off

The Holy Spirit in Luke

It’s been almost two months since I analyzed passages about the Holy Spirit in the New Testament. In my previous post, I wrote about “The Holy Spirit in Luke 1-2.” In this post, I’m going to look at the information presented by Luke in the remainder of his Gospel.

While there was some unique information about the Holy Spirit in the first two chapters of Luke, much of the remaining information is similar to what we found in Matthew and Mark.

For example, Luke tells us that the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus at his baptism (Luke 3:22), that Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit (Luke 4:1), and the Holy Spirit led him into the wilderness (Luke 4:1). Furthermore, Luke tells us that Jesus returns to Galilee after being tempted “in the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Luke 4:14) We also see Jesus reading from Isaiah that “the Spirit of the Lord is upon me.” (Luke 4:18)

Luke tells us that Jesus “rejoiced in the Holy Spirit” that God had revealed the things of the kingdom to “little children.” (Luke 10:21) In a slight addition to Matthew and Mark, Jesus says that the Father will give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him. (Luke 11:13) And, again, we see Jesus warning about blaspheming the Holy Spirit (Luke 12:10) and encouraging his hearers that the Holy Spirit will tell them what to say when they are persecuted. (Luke 12:12)

For the most part, there is little new information given by Luke about the Holy Spirit. We still see the Holy Spirit primarily leading Jesus and those associated with him.

Perhaps the addition of Jesus “rejoicing in the Holy Spirit” is important, but we’re not told much more than that. We don’t know what it means to “rejoice in the Holy Spirit,” only that Jesus did it.

Also, it is important that Luke has Jesus saying that the Father will give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him. In the context, Jesus is comparing God’s giving of the Holy Spirit to an earthly father giving good gifts to his children. The indication is that when God gives the Holy Spirit to those who ask him, it is much better than an earthly father’s good gifts.

Finally, if we combine the information here with the previous information from Chapters 1-2, we see that Luke recognizes the Holy Spirit as active in a more universal sense. In Luke, we not only see the Holy Spirit at work in the life of Jesus and in the promise to those who follow him, but we see the Holy Spirit active even before the birth of Jesus. The indication, then, is that the Holy Spirit was at work before Jesus, worked during the life of Jesus, and will continue to work after Jesus’ resurrection.