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New Hope Christian Church

Introducing The Bible

The Bible was written by the Holy Spirit. Through people of course, because that’s how the Holy Spirit acts.

Who received the Holy Spirit in Jesus’ earthly ministry? The thirty three years of his human incarnation? How many would you guess? Let’s have a look.

We first hear of the Holy Spirit by name in the New Testament, although the Old Testament prophets have certainly received the Holy Spirit and are thus able to prophesy.

In the New Testament the first person to receive the Holy Spirit is Mary, Mother of Jesus. She was visited by Gabriel and told she would give birth to a Son, conceived by the Holy Spirit.

“The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.” Luke 1:35

The second and third people to receive the Holy Spirit were Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist, and simultaneously the unborn John still in the womb. This was some six months after the conception of John, and happened when the pregnant Elizabeth was visited by the then newly and miraculously pregnant Mary.

“When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.” Luke 1:41

The fourth person to receive the Holy Spirit is Zecharia, the father of John the Baptist, at the time of John’s circumcision and naming at 8 days after his birth.

“His father Zecharia was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied:” Luke 1:67

The fifth person to receive the Holy Spirit is Simeon, either before or at the time of Jesus’ naming and circumcision, at 8 days after his birth.

“Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.” Luke 25:26

Five people received the Holy Spirit during this time. Just five. All of them related to the conception and birth of Jesus. And that was five more than had received the Holy Spirit than in the previous four hundred years.

Mary. To conceive Jesus.

Elizabeth and the unborn John upon meeting Mary and the unborn Jesus. Zecharia at the naming of the infant John Simeon at the naming of the infant Jesus

There is a strong relationship between Jesus and the activity of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit works with Jesus, to prepare people for him.

To enable the conception of him within.

To confirm his divinity. They work together. Always. Spirit and Truth.

The sixth person to receive the Holy Spirit is Jesus himself, at the time of his water baptism by John the baptiser, some 30 years later. He received the Holy Spirit even though he was the incarnated Holy Spirit. And Son. And Father. And therefore God.

“When all the people were being baptised, Jesus was baptised too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased”. Luke 3:21

This baptism of the Holy Spirit initiates the beginning of Jesus’ earthly ministry, aged about 30 years old.

‘Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the desert, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil.’ Luke 4

Here’s an extraordinary thing. Just five people, plus Jesus himself, received the Holy Spirit during Jesus’ incarnated time on Earth. Just five. All of them related to the conception and birth of Jesus.

Jesus went on to teach about the Holy Spirit, and to explain the process of receiving the Holy Spirit, which transforms people from disconnected individuals to Christ connected reborn children of God.

He taught, and prepared. For no more people were to receive the Holy Spirit yet. But soon they would.

In their thousands. And tens of thousands.

And hundreds of thousands. And millions.

It’s extraordinary that this is happening and the world has no idea of it. There’s millions of people, right now, in 2023, who have received the Holy Spirit and know the experiential truth of these words. Many millions.

It’s time to stop denying God is real and instead start asking intelligent questions that lead to the truth. God is real. It’s a fact of life. Start asking who God is.

Start being interested in the truth rather than beliefs you may already have. Be open. The truth in words is right here but if you want it in Spirit you’ll have to ask for that yourself.

Back to scripture.

Jesus returned from the desert some 40 days after his receiving of the Holy Spirit, and began teaching in the synagogues. He is at this time in the power of the Spirit, and will have been able to recognise the writings in the scriptures that were made by the Holy Spirit, through the prophets of old.

Try to understand this, because it’s fascinating.

The Holy Spirit, through people, is able to act. Those acts include speaking and writing. There are many prophecies in the Old Testament regarding the coming of a Saviour, the Messiah. The prophecies were spoken by people under the influence of the Holy Spirit.

They were few and far between, on average perhaps just one every hundred years, and there was a four hundred year period before the coming of Jesus where there were none at all.

On a timeline, a graph, showing the number of people who had received the Spirit and were acting accordingly as part of a major plan, the graph would be almost flat since recorded history, with the rare blip of single individuals, such as those named and chaptered in the Old Testament.

However, as we have already begun to see, something is happening with the coming of Jesus to Earth. More people received the Holy Spirit in the 12 months of his conception and birth than in the 400 years previously. And two of the five were pregnant women.

Something is being born. Spoiler alert. It’s a new version of the human race. In the synagogue Jesus stood up to read.

‘The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:’

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom to the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind. to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.” Luke 4:17

Then he rolls up the scroll, sits down, and says;

“Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” Luke 4:21

I’d suggest the poor, and the prisoners, and the blind, and the oppressed are literally everyone, by the way.

So what happened here was this: Some 800 years before the birth of Jesus, the Holy Spirit was within the man Isaiah, and regularly and repeatedly spoke and acted through him. One of these occasions resulted in the written scroll that became part of the Holy Book of the Jews, and Isaiah became one of the recorded prophets. Around 800 years later, Jesus, with the Holy Spirit within him, reads the words the Holy Spirit spoke through Isaiah, and says that the scripture is now fulfilled. That which was prophesied has come to be.

This is how prophecy can work, the Holy Spirit communicating a consistent message through multiple people across hundreds or thousands of years.

It’s actually only one voice. Spirit writing to Spirit, spanning the ages. Here’s another prophecy that comes to be.

John the Baptist, who received the Holy Spirit in the womb, is now a 30 year old man, and a prophet himself.

His ministry is singular. To prepare people for the coming of Jesus. The coming of John the Baptist is also foretold of by the Holy Spirit, via the Prophet Malachi, some 500 years previously.

“See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the Lord Almighty.’ Malachi 3

John himself when asked who he was replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet,

‘I am the voice of one calling in the desert,’ “Make straight the way for the Lord” John 1:23

John delightfully quotes with the words of Isaiah, who said;

“A voice of one calling: In the desert prepare the way for the Lord,” Isaiah 40:3

The desert in question also being not the geographical one, but the hearts of man. John clearly spoke of the imminent coming of Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

“After me will come one more powerful than I, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I baptise you with water, but he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit.” Mark 1:7

John, who has himself received the Holy Spirit and is running a ministry focussed on the repentance of sins, the turning away from sin and towards God, under the guidance and counsel of the Holy Spirit, clearly states that the one who is about to arrive will baptise people in the Holy Spirit.

John imerses people in water to symbolise a rebirth.

Jesus is going to immerse people in a living Holy Spirit to actualise that rebirth. John is making them ready. For what Jesus is going to do.

He’s going to give birth to what amounts to a new humanity. It’s as radical as that. Soon after, John baptised Jesus in the river Jordan. And as Jesus emerged from the water;

‘He saw Heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from Heaven:’ “You are my Son, whom I love, with you I am well pleased.” Mark 1:10

And from there, Jesus goes into the desert, overcomes the temptations of the devil, the evil spirit opposed to God, and returns after 40 days, on fire with the Spirit of God and ready to teach. Which he never stops doing.

Jesus begins calling disciples, preaching, teaching, and healing the sick. This includes sickness caused by unholy or unclean spirits. A real thing. He also forgives sins, an act that outrages the religious order of the time, for only God has that authority.

He speaks often times in parables, metaphors of meanings, such as the parable of the sower, who spreads the word of God as seed, and speaks of the various kinds of ground upon which it falls. Those with the ears to hear, hear.

The Gospels are extraordinary.

They are both narrative, this happened, then this happened, and they are enlightening, fortelling, having levels of meaning that speak to mind, body, and spirit.

They were written by the Holy Spirit, through man, and when read by another person with the same Holy Spirit as wrote them, they awaken and enliven that Spirit further.

The Gospels are deeply intelligent, far more so than can be experienced by casual reading. They have transformative power. And multiple meanings.

They require interpreting and explaining, and this can only be done by the Holy Spirit that wrote them, either via the medium of a person with the Holy Spirit, or directly by the Holy Spirit from within the reader. Ideally both.

Only the Holy Spirit can make sense of what the Holy Spirit wrote about the Holy Spirit.

That’s for sure.

All the parables and all the narrative records of healings are simultaneously metaphors for our relationship with God.

Water to wine.

Receive your sight.

Your faith has healed you.

Witten by Bird Lovegod, Director of CompassionateTV

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NHCC UK | Greenhill Parkway

Sheffield | S8  7JP

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