Terry R. Baughman
“Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and news of Him went out through all the surrounding region” (Luke 4:14).
After forty days of fasting and the temptation in the wilderness Jesus began a ministry empowered by the Spirit. On His arrival in Galilee there was an anointing of the Spirit so evident upon Him that it became the topic of gossip and shared news communicated to everyone in the area around the Galilee.
When Jesus returned to His hometown of Nazareth He attended the gathering at the synagogue on the Sabbath. He was invited to read the passages for the day from the scroll of Isaiah. He found the place and read a self-fulfilled prophecy, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord” (Luke 4:18–19).
The anointing of the Spirit was the power given for effective ministry. Even Jesus relied on prayer and the empowerment of the Spirit to fulfill the ministry that Isaiah predicted He would fulfill. The Spirit enabled Him to preach, to heal, to deliver all those who were bound, afflicted, and depressed. This was His purpose in ministry.
“Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing,” Jesus said to the gathered crowd (Luke 4:21). Though they did not presently accept Jesus as the fulfillment of this messianic prophecy, in time they would look back to this event, record the statements of Jesus and realize that indeed the Scripture was being fulfilled in Him with defined accuracy.
The same power that empowered Jesus to fulfill His ministry was transferred to those who followed Him. In one of His final meetings with the disciples Jesus said, “‘As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.’ And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit’” (John 20:21–22). He commissioned them to teach and preach the Gospel throughout the world. He would never ask us to do anything that He has not enabled us to accomplish. His Holy Spirit will endue us with the same power that He possessed.
Though His followers felt ill-prepared to complete His ministry and fulfill their purpose Jesus called them with confidence. What He transferred to the eleven on the hills of Galilee was repeated and written to other believers who became disciples. John said, “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). Perhaps this text was the source of a slogan of promise that was adopted many years ago at Christian Life College in Stockton, California, The power behind us is greater than the task before us!
The Same Power that raised Jesus from the dead is working to fulfill His ministry in us today. We can be assured of our success because of the empowering of His Spirit within!
“You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you” (Acts 1:8).