Jesus and the Holy Spirit

Did Jesus have the Holy Spirit when conceived, like John – did He need the Spirit anyway AND when He was baptised in water and the Holy Spirit came upon Him was that baptism in the Spirit?

I think it’ll be clearest if I number each logical step in working out the answer to your question:

1. Jesus was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit. He was called the “Son” of God for a good reason.
Matt 1 20   But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.
Luke 1:34   “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” 35   The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.

2. For us, sin causes a separation between us and the Father:
Is. 59:1   Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. 2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.

But as Jesus was without sin, there was no separation between him and the Father.

3. The Holy Spirit, therefore, was able to live within him (indwell him) right from the moment of his conception.
And not only was the Holy Spirit ABLE to indwell, but he had a NATURAL “oneness” with Jesus which maintained the legal divine status of Jesus; we can see this in these references:
Phil 2 5   Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God…
Heb 1 3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being…

NB. “Radiance” in this last reference, actually means something like “the ShiningOutNess” – in other words, Jesus “belongs” to God in the same way that the Sun’s light belongs to the Sun – you can’t have one without having the other.

4. At his baptism, the Holy Spirit fell UPON him; the same as he fell UPON the disciples in Acts.

NB. Whenever the Holy Spirit falls ON, whether in the New or Old Testaments, the text always records a release of Power gifts as a consequence. In this case, Jesus had done no miracles prior to the falling on of the Spirit, but afterwards – well we are all familiar with the power release in all of his ministry.

a. The Holy Spirit falls ON Jesus:
Matt 3 16   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 lighting on him.
Also Mk 1 10, Lk 3 22, John 1 32

b. The Holy Spirit falls ON the Disciples and others:
Acts 2 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.
Acts 2 17 “‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people…
Acts 2 32 God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact. 33 Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.
Acts 8 15 When they arrived, they prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, 16 because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them; they had simply been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus.
Acts 10 44   While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. 45 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. 46 For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.  Then Peter said, 47 “Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.”
Acts 11 15   “As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came on them as he had come on us at the beginning. 16 Then I remembered what the Lord had said: ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17 So if God gave them the same gift as he gave us, who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could oppose God?”

Note that in the later passages here, Peter identifies this “falling on” of the Spirit as “Baptism in the Holy Spirit”, and in Acts 2 33 he attributes this Baptism to the ascended Jesus.

So, in conclusion, to answer your question as you pose it:
Yes, Jesus did have the Holy Spirit indwelling him as a natural consequence of his conception.

Years later, the Holy Spirit “fell on” him, which was the same experience of “Baptism in the Holy Spirit” that the disciples were later to have, and the event which released his ministry of Holy Spirit Power.

He now releases the same experience ON us.

2nd Question

What about John? John leapt for joy in his mother’s womb when Elizabeth heard Mary’s news. Was the Holy Spirit doing something with John too?


Yep, just goes to show that God’s all-powerful nature (the Christian Jargon-word is His “Sovereignty”) stretches to all kinds of circumstances.

John was not (like Jesus) conceived by the direct action of the Holy Spirit on a woman, he was conceived by the normal sexual process between Zechariah and Elizabeth. Nevertheless as a “child of the promise of God”, God decided to fill John with the Holy Spirit even before he was born:
Luke 1 15… and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from birth.

This phrase “even from birth” in the original Greek, is “From the womb”.

And John was spiritually aware even before he was born, as Elizabeth said to Mary, “As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. ” (Lk 1 44)

It gives another perspective to the abortion debate, if unborn babies can be spiritually aware, and filled with the Spirit.

Related Q & A