Jesus, when He lived with us on earth two thousand years ago, was fully God and fully man. As Philippians 2:5-11 tells us:
“For let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Himself the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.
And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Therefore God has highly exalted Him, and has given Him a name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of heavenly ones, and of earthly ones, and of ones under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Though Jesus in the person of the Godhead was and is omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient, as a man He became no more powerful than any other. One way Jesus was separated from the rest of mankind, was His total obedience and reliance on God the Father; in all things, and at all times. This is laid out for us in John 5:19 where we read:
“Then Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, The Son can do nothing of Himself but what He sees the Father do. For whatever things He does, these also the Son does likewise.'”
This meant that Jesus as a man learnt suffering, just as any other man. Jesus learnt hunger, as Matthew 4:2 says “And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He was afterwards hungry.” Jesus learnt thirst, as John 19:28 says “After this, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, Jesus said, ‘I thirst.’“ Jesus learnt tiredness, as John 4:6 says “And Jacob’s well was there. Jesus, therefore, being wearied with His journey, sat thus upon the well. It was about the sixth hour.”
As Jesus lived like a man, He grew like a man, by learning slowly as Luke 2:52 says “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” Though Jesus as God is omnipresent and everywhere at one time, Jesus the man was not, thus he travelled on foot and travelled the same way as all others in His day, as John 4:3-4 says “He left Judea and went away again into Galilee. And it was necessary for Him to go through Samaria …” Jesus the man lived outwardly like any one of us.
In controlling His deity, the knowledge of Jesus also appears to be much the same as that of any man during the time he lived on earth, even the date of His own second coming, of which He said “of that day and hour no one knows, no, not the angels of Heaven, but only My Father” (Matthew 24:36). God the Son, was doing His level best to live the life of a man as naturally as possible. Occasionally the raw potential power of Jesus the Man shows through; one example being Matthew 26:53 when he asks of Peter, “Do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He shall presently give Me more than twelve legions of angels?”
No, instead of relying on His own divinity, Jesus relied on God the Father to supply the power necessary for His works and ministry. We can see it here in Luke 5:17 as we read of the “power of the Lord,”
“And it happened on one of the days, even He was teaching. And Pharisees and teachers of the Law were sitting by, who had come out of every village of Galilee and Judea and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was there, for the curing of them.”
The unbelief of those around Him, affected Jesus just the same as it affects us. We read of this in Mark 6:1-6 where Jesus, because of unbelief in the local population, was forced to relocate to another location to continue His ministry:
“And He went out from there and came into His native-place. And His disciples followed Him. And when the Sabbath day had come, He began to teach in the synagogue. And many hearing Him, were astonished, saying, Where does this one get these things? And what wisdom is this which is given to him, that even such mighty works are done by his hands?
Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at Him.
But Jesus said to them, A prophet is not without honour, except in his native-place, and among his own kin, and in his own house.
And He could do no work of power there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick ones, He healed them.
And He marvelled because of their unbelief. And He went around the villages, in a circuit, teaching.”
Matthew 13:57-58 succinctly reiterates this point saying “And they were offended in Him. But Jesus said to them, A prophet is not without honour, except in his own country and in his own house. And He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.” Jesus, as a man, to a great extent, suffered much the same difficulties as the prophets of the Old Testament and His own disciples as Jesus, in His humility, did not reply on His own power, but that of His Father.
The Old Testament makes the source of the power of Jesus abundantly clear in the following three passages, where the Prophet Isaiah foretells of Jesus saying:
Isaiah 11:1-5 “And a Shoot goes out from the stump of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots. And the Spirit of Jehovah shall rest on Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of Jehovah. And He is made to breathe in the fear of Jehovah. And He shall not judge according to the sight of His eyes, nor decide by the hearing of His ears. But with righteousness He shall judge the poor, and shall decide with uprightness for the meek of the earth. And He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked. And righteousness shall be the girdle of His loins, and faithfulness the girdle of His heart” (emphasis added).
Isaiah 42:1-4 “Behold My Servant, whom I uphold; My Elect, in whom My soul delights. I have put My Spirit on Him; He shall bring out judgement to the nations. He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause His voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed He shall not break, and a smoking wick He shall not quench; He shall bring out judgement to truth. He shall not fail nor be discouraged until He has set judgement in the earth; and the coasts shall wait for His Law” (emphasis added).
Isaiah 61:1-3 “The Spirit of the Lord Jehovah is on Me; because Jehovah has anointed Me to preach the Gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to preach the acceptable year of Jehovah and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to appoint to those who mourn in Zion, to give to them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the mantle of praise for the spirit of heaviness; so that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of Jehovah, that He might be glorified” (emphasis added).
From the instant of His conception in the womb of a virgin, Jesus was empowered by the Holy Spirit, just as Isaiah has predicted. In Luke 1:35 we find this auspicious start in life confirmed for us:
“And the angel answered and said to her, The Holy Spirit shall come on you, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow you. Therefore also that Holy One which will be born of you shall be called Son of God” (emphasis added).
We can see from Luke 1:35 that while the life of Jesus appears to draw close parallels and resemblances with the normal lives of men, the starting points are different. Jesus grew and was baptised by His cousin, John the Baptist. Again here we see the evidence of the power of the Lord via the Holy Spirit upon Jesus, as we read in Matthew 3:16 that “Jesus, when He had been baptized, went up immediately out of the water. And lo, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting upon Him.” John 1:32 adds witness to the Holy Spirit falling on Jesus saying “And John bore record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from Heaven like a dove, and He abode on Him.”
As Jesus was about to begin His ministry, Satan came to tempt Him. Again in scripture we find the presence of the Holy Spirit over the life of Jesus. As we read in Luke 4:1 “And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness.” However, after successfully passing the three tests of Satan, the life of Jesus changed, as we read this in Luke 4:14 “And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee. And a report went out throughout all the neighbourhood concerning Him.”
First Jesus was filled by the Holy Spirit by John the Baptist; then Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the desert to prepare to battle Satan; then Jesus returned in the power of the Holy Spirit into his ministry.
This testimony, this personal testimony of Jesus being in the power of the Holy Spirit continues in his public ministry of Luke 4:15-21
” And He taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all. And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And, as His custom was, He went in to the synagogue on the Sabbath day and stood up to read.
And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And unrolling the book, He found the place where it was written, “The Spirit of the Lord is on Me; because of this He has anointed Me to proclaim the Gospel to the poor. He has sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to proclaim deliverance to the captives, and new sight to the blind, to set at liberty those having been crushed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”
And rolling up the book, returning it to the attendant, He sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fastened on Him. And He began to say to them, ‘Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your ears.'”
Jesus wanted no dubiety or doubt about whose power He was operating under: it was that of the Holy Spirit, not his own. Jesus repeats this in Matthew 12:28 as He is questioned by the Pharisees as to whose power He used to cast out demons, answering “… I cast out demons by the Spirit of God… “ This follows another scripture passage, Matthew 12:18 where Jesus quotes the Isaiah 42:1 passage above saying “Behold My Child whom I have chosen; My Beloved, in whom My soul is well pleased. I will put My Spirit on Him, and He shall declare judgement to the nations” (emphasis added).
Jesus: Empowered by the Holy Spirit? Let the final word be with Peter, as he describes, witnesses and testifies to Jesus after His resurrection, saying “… how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, and He went about doing good, and healing all those who were oppressed by the Devil, for God was with Him” (emphasis added).