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.

Matthew 3:16 (NIV)

If the Spirit of God came and rested on Jesus when he was baptized in water, does that mean he didn’t have the Holy Spirit before he was baptized?

Scripture does not tell us the answer to this question. However, it does tell us some other things.

Luke 1:15 tells us John the Baptist would be filled with the Holy Spirit in the womb.

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 (emphasis added).

Luke 1:15 (NIV)

Jesus is more eminent than John.

This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’

John 1:30 (NIV)

Therefore, if John were filled with the Spirit before birth, why not Jesus?

We know Jesus was fully man and God. Furthermore, Jesus “made himself nothing” when he became human (cf. Phil 2:7). The ESV and some other translations say he “emptied himself.”

But emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.

Philippians 2:7 (ESV)

This means Jesus didn’t have all his powers as God when he was born. Perhaps one of those things he emptied himself of was the indwelling of the Spirit? This was done so he could experience life as a human.

One thing that occurs to me is that Christian water baptism isn’t part of salvation. Instead, it’s a public declaration of our new life in Christ. Since God acknowledged Jesus here as his son publicly, we might consider this event in a similar light. Jesus may have had access to the Holy Spirit, but it wasn’t until this moment that he was filled and it was publicly revealed.

And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

Matthew 3:17 (NIV)

Whether Jesus was filled with the Spirit before he was baptized is something Scripture doesn’t tell us. Yet, how much more remarkable if he wasn’t because Jesus never sinned!

Do you know God? God knows you, and he loves you. He sees you as significant because you are. No one is insignificant to Him. He’s with you today, and he wants you to know him. Jesus died for your sins and mine so we could be free of guilt, freed from death, and live eternally with him. Eternal salvation is just a prayer away.

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation:

Lord Jesus, forgive me for all my sins. I repent from my ways. Wash me in your blood and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. I believe you died on the cross and were buried, and God the Father raised you from the dead on the third day. Right now, Lord Jesus, I open the door to my heart and receive you into my heart as my Lord and personal Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer, then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment, and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.