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The Holy Spirit and the Prince – Part 1

Isaiah series

The Holy Spirit and the Prince – Part 1
Posted on April 23, 2021  - By Tom Horvat

We visited the first three verses of Isaiah 11 in our study of Isaiah 4:2-6, where the Lord Jesus Christ is referred to as the Branch of the LORD. The great mystery of the incarnation was discussed in relation to Christ coming genealogically through the stem of Jesse. This lineage is carefully given in both Matthew and Luke’s Gospel, thus firmly affirming the humanity of the Lord Jesus through David’s line.

In this study, we visit another great mystery in the operations of redemptive history — the relationship between the Holy Spirit and Messiah the Prince. We are told in 1 Peter 1:10 that the prophets inquired and searched diligently into the salvation to come. Do we inquire and search diligently into the salvation that has come? 

The gospel is the simple but very good news that Christ died for our sins and was buried and rose again on the third day according to the Scriptures. One cannot minimise the mighty gulf that God spanned on Calvary. This is, however, the ‘milk’ of the whole story. And there is a need to increase in the grace and knowledge of the Lord so that we do not remain in a spiritually immature condition. 

One cannot minimise the mighty gulf that God spanned on Calvary. Yet, that is but the ‘milk’ of the whole story

We may be slow to grasp truth, but slow is still a forward motion and much better than losing the little we may have gained or remaining stagnant. I am convinced we will be increasing in our knowledge and understanding of God and His works in the endless years of eternity too.

Ministry of the Spirit

In Isaiah 11:2, the Spirit is said to rest upon the one foretold in verse 1. We therefore must conclude that this is someone other than the Branch. The Person and ministry of the Holy Spirit, like the light that shines brighter and brighter from the dawn to full light of day, become very clear as we review the life of Christ in light of this prophecy.  

  • He was conceived by the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:20)
  • He was confirmed by the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:16)
  • He was led by the Spirit (Matthew 4:1; Luke 4:1)
  • He ministered in the power of the Spirit (Luke 4:14)
  • He was raised from the dead by the Spirit (Romans 8:11) 

Philippians 2:6-7 connects the ministry of the Spirit with the humanity of Christ, “who, although He existed in the form of God (His deity), did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant (His humanity) and being made in the likeness of men.”

Emptying Himself did not mean He became less than God, but as He acquired a human nature, He subjected all of His humanity to dependence on the Holy Spirit rather than Himself as God.

Attributes of the Spirit

Isaiah 11:2-3 gives us insight as to the attributes of the Spirit by which the Branch shall be characterised.  There are four to be studied with what is revealed in the life of Christ.

1. The Spirit of wisdom and understanding. For 12 years, Jesus was taught the Scriptures in His home, the synagogue at Nazareth and visited the temple in Jerusalem each year, hearing the psalms of ascent along the journey. 

There are 15 Psalms of Ascent in Psalms 120 to 134. Out of these, four were written by King David: Psalms 122, 124, 131 and 133. David’s son Solomon wrote Psalm 127, and the author of the others is not mentioned in the Bible. These Psalms would have been memorised and sung as people made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. 

Jesus emptying Himself does not mean He became less than God, but He subjected all of His humanity to dependence on the Holy Spirit rather than Himself as God

In Luke 2, we read about this amazing scene in the temple: 

42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom. 43 And when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, 44 but supposing him to be in the group they went a day’s journey, but then they began to search for him among their relatives and acquaintances, 45 and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, searching for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.

The Spirit of God enabled Jesus to be wise and understanding in the Scriptures so that all who heard Him were amazed at His understanding and answers. That same Spirit has been given to us too to enable us to grow wise in the word of God.

2. The Spirit of counsel and might. This attribute seems to be connected with power and authority. Jesus taught with authority. We are told the following after Jesus concluded His sermon on the mount, the multitudes were astonished at his teaching, “for He was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes” (Matthew 7:29).

The Gospel of Luke records a similar reaction: And he was teaching them on the Sabbath, and they were astonished at His teaching, for His word possessed authority (Luke 4:31-32).

Finally, we are told in John 7 of the astonishment Jesus caused because they all knew Him only as the carpenter’s son:

14 About the middle of the feast Jesus went up into the temple and began teaching. 15 The Jews therefore marveled, saying, “How is it that this man has learning, when he has never studied?” 16 So Jesus answered them, “My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me. 17 If anyone’s will is to do Gods will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority.

Is there not a very deep message and application for us in the fact that the Son of God depended so greatly upon the Spirit and the Word in His life and ministry? Oh, to be mighty in the Scriptures! Let us be those like the Bereans of old who searched the Scriptures daily to see if those things were so.

(Editors note: Dont miss Part 2, coming soon.)



Tom Horvat

About Tom Horvat

Tom Horvat completed his BA in education and theology at Washington Bible College. He pastored a house church for 15 years and served as a volunteer chaplain in a local prison for 20 years. He is employed by the Department of Defense in the US, and works at a military installation in Maryland. He is passionate about ecology, and is a soon-to-be-published author. Tom has seven children and 12 grandchildren with his wife of over 40 years.

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