A Question I Was Asked:

Did Jesus Have the Holy Spirit Before Being Baptized by John the Baptist?

Question: When Jesus was born and up until he received the Holy Spirit decending upon him after being baptised by John the Baptist, was his spirit already the Holy Spirit or that like the spirit of a human being, then to be filled with the Holy Spirit, after baptism.

I am aware that this is possibly a difficult question, any positive feed back is welcome. Thank you for your time.

UK Apologetics Reply:

Jesus, we have to remember, was both God and man. He was already fully God although He emptied Himself of some attributes of the Godhead whilst living as a man, yet nothing alters the fact that He was God in the flesh. Let us look at His baptism more closely:

13. Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. 14. But John tried to deter him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?" 15. Jesus replied, "Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness." Then John consented. 16. As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17. And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." (Matthew 3:13-17).

This could be described as Jesus formally or ceremonially receiving the Holy Spirit of God, but Jesus already had full access to the Holy Spirit of God well before His baptism. John the Baptist somewhat resisted baptizing Jesus because he knew who He (Jesus) was. But Jesus insisted that he should baptize him as others would be baptized, yet He certainly was not baptized because He would not otherwise receive the Holy Spirit because He was part of the very Godhead! How can one be sure?

Because even John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Spirit from birth. Look at this reference to John the Baptist:

For he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. (Luke 1:15).

One would find it hard to imagine John the Baptist having the Holy Spirit before Jesus! However, Jesus certainly more actively took on His ministry after His baptism. Jesus probably primarily wanted to show us all a pattern to follow, with repentance and baptism usually commencing the Christian life. A few have said: look at this - even Jesus had to be baptized before receiving the Holy Spirit! Look, I admire their sincerity but I think they are wrong.

Robin A. Brace. September 21st, 2016.