Bible Answer

When did Jesus receive the Holy Spirit?

In the Gospel of John study, Pastor Armstrong teaches that when John the Baptist baptized Jesus, the Holy Spirit came upon Him. Is the pastor inferring that Jesus was without the Holy Spirit the first 30 years of his life? 

The Gospels teach that Jesus received the Holy Spirit at the moment of John’s baptism. Prior to that moment, Jesus did not have the anointing of the Spirit of God. As John the Baptist explains:

John 1:29 The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
John 1:30 “This is He on behalf of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.’
John 1:31 “I did not recognize Him, but so that He might be manifested to Israel, I came baptizing in water.”
John 1:32  John testified saying, “I have seen the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven, and He remained upon Him.

Notice in v.32 John says the Spirit “remained” upon Jesus after His baptism. Until that moment, the Spirit of God was not yet upon Jesus. The Spirit’s arrival empowered Jesus for His public ministry. We can’t say whether the Spirit was with Jesus in any other way before that moment, but according to John, Jesus’ baptism was the moment He received the accompaniment of the Spirit of God. The Gospel of John Bible Study may be helpful.

This truth doesn’t diminish Jesus’ deity. Rather, it reminds us the reality of Jesus’ humanity. He willingly took the form of man, a place lower than the angels Hebrews says:

Heb. 2:7 “You have made him for a little while lower than the angels; You have crowned him with glory and honor, And have appointed him over the works of Your hands;
Heb. 2:8 You have put all things in subjection under his feet.” For in subjecting all things to him, He left nothing that is not subject to him. But now we do not yet see all things subjected to him.
Heb. 2:9 But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.

At His incarnation Jesus willingly gave up the place He had with the Father as Paul says:

Phil. 2:5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,
Phil. 2:6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,
Phil. 2:7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.
Phil. 2:8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

In His form as man, Jesus willingly relinquished equality with God (in terms of His power and position, not identity). Therefore though Jesus was God, He required the presence of the Holy Spirit to perform supernatural works while on earth as a man. Scripture goes on to tell us that all Jesus' miracles during His public ministry were “permitted" by the power of the Spirit. According to Mark 6:5, the Lord’s ability to perform miracles was not His own. He was “permitted” to do miracles by the Spirit.