We often associate the Holy Spirit with the beginning of the church in Luke’s second volume, the book of Acts. What is interesting is that the Holy Spirit also played a key role in kicking off Luke’s first volume, the Gospel of Luke:
- Luke 1:15 – John the Baptist will be filled with the Holy Spirit before he is born
- Luke 1:35 – The Holy Spirit will take part in the conception of Jesus
- Luke 1:41 – When Mary and Elizabeth meet, both pregnant, John jumps in Elizabeth’s womb and it is Elizabeth who is filled with the Holy Spirit! It prompts her to speak a blessing on Mary.
- Luke 1:67 – The Holy Spirit fills Zechariah, John the Baptist’s father, and he prophesies. I am really unsure why this prophesy always gets the heading “Zechariah’s Song” when it is a prophesy.
- Luke 2:25 – Simeon had been promised that he would see the Messiah before he died. He also had the Holy Spirit on him.
- Luke 3:16 John the Baptist tells the crowds that the one who comes after him will baptize people in the Holy Spirit
- Luke 3:22 – the Holy Spirit descends on Jesus at his baptism (interesting that Luke says this happened “as he was praying” at his baptism)
- Luke 4:1 – Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit as he went out into the wilderness to be tested.
The Holy Spirit played a huge role in the coming of Jesus and the beginning of his ministry. What is more, the Holy Spirit was present in the ministry of Jesus as well:
- Luke 10:21 – The Holy Spirit wasn’t just present at Jesus baptism and temptation. The Holy Spirit was upon him in this verse as well
- Luke 11:13 – Jesus says God will give the Holy Spirit to those who ask
- Luke 12:10 – a warning against blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. This warning means the Holy Spirit was a driving force in Jesus’ ministry and miracles. That is clear because Jesus is warning them against calling his miracles from the devil and saying that to deny his miracles is to blaspheme the Spirit, which means the Spirit was at work in the ministry of Christ.
It is easy to think the Holy Spirit was absent from all of this because we spend more time on Jesus’ promise of the coming of the Spirit from verses like John 16:7,
“But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.”
Some then assume the Spirit wasn’t much a part of anything until after Jesus ascended to heaven. As you can see from all the verses above, the Holy Spirit played a central role in the coming of the Messiah from before he was conceived, through Mary’s pregnancy, to his birth and through his ministry and then, finally, to the church. The Spirit’s involvement in the start of the church wasn’t anything new. It was very much in line with everything the Spirit had been involved in up to that point.