God often asks us to do something that is beyond our human capabilities. Even if we think serving God is within our strength to perform, we need a special power to do it the way He wants it done. Whether it is preaching the Gospel, encouraging the weak, or sacrificially giving our time, energy, and resources… we need God to help us serve Him.
I would rather a person be reluctant to serve God because they felt incapable, than someone serve successfully but not relying on God for strength. This is the danger of serving God over time. If we aren’t careful, we think we can do it. But the Apostle Paul reminds us, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).
Jesus is no exception to the need of God’s strength. Even though He was God in the flesh, He needed the power of God to do God’s will. That is why immediately after He was baptized, as He was coming up out of the water, He was anointed by the Spirit of God.
And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him (Mark 1:10).
Luke 3:22 puts it like this: “And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him.” In some way the Spirit was present and ‘flew down’ on Jesus like a dove. Doves are gentle, non-threatening birds, they do not resist, and they do not fight back. This represents the gentle, faithful work of the Holy Spirit.
Jn. 1:32 tells us something else about this event: “And John bore witness, saying, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him.” The Holy Spirit remained on Him throughout His life.
This anointing of the Holy Spirit is a reminder of the anointing of the Old Testament priests. The Levitical Law required that all priests be consecrated when they began their ministry at about 30 years of age (Num. 4:3). This encompassed washing and then anointing (Exod. 29:4-7; Lev. 8:6-30). Jesus had both done to him at the same time. One by the appointed man, John who was the forerunner. The other by the Father who is in heaven. John washed him and the Father anointed him by sending the Holy Spirit upon Him.
What did this anointing mean? It meant that the Holy Spirit would empower Him to do what His Father wanted Him to do.
In Luke 4:18-19, Jesus personally tells us what this meant to Him… “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.” The Spirit would give Jesus the supernatural ability, when necessary, to proclaim and perform all God wanted Him to do. All He did was through the power of God and He did nothing but in the power of God.
It is the same with us. God’s anointing enables us to have His power to do what He wants us to do. We receive this anointing at salvation, along with our spiritual gifts. The Holy Spirit takes up permanent residence in the life of a believer (Galatians 4:6). Whatever God wants you to do, He has already given you His Holy Spirit to strengthen you to do it. Like the old Nike commercial, “JUST DO IT.”