by the Holy Spirit — from the Apostle's Creed & John 3:34

Reverend Anthony R. Locke

at the First Presbyterian Church of Tucker

John 3:34 Apostle’s Creed Series 07 English Standard Version

34 For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure.[1]

Jesus was sent from the Father to utter eternal words of life. The Father anointed the Son with the Holy Spirit without measure to do His will. Jesus has sent that same Spirit to us. This is a very important doctrine and encourages us greatly in Christian living.

When I was a teenager I was greatly discouraged in Christian living. I had standards set for me that were almost impossible to reach. My parents raised us 3 boys in a very conservative Baptist church where all the pastoral staff had graduated from Bob Jones University.

My parents were very impressed by the faith and life of these ministers. To be fair, they lived very godly lives and they were my heroes. I still remember them with great respect and appreciate what they taught me.

As teenagers we were measured by standards of Christian conduct that seemed unattainable. I knew I was blessed to have such caring parents that demanded so much from us, but we were not super human. Sometimes these high standards only worked to discourage me.

Our youth minister would constantly tell us to be like Jesus. I always wondered if that was even possible. Jesus was born of a virgin without sin. According to Psalm 51:5 I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. Jesus and I were very different indeed.

Was it fair to place the life of Jesus as my standard for living? How could I live like the Son of God? Jesus shared in His person the full essence of Deity that is within the Trinity. His humanity was not stained by Adam’s sin. How was I supposed to live like Jesus?

In the Apostle’s Creed we confess that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit. Luke 1:35 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.

Jesus was born holy and God was His Father. My parents were Bob and Betty Locke of Roswell, Georgia. There was no way I was going to be as holy as Jesus.

But the doctrine of Jesus being anointed without measure by the Holy Spirit is our encouragement. The Apostle’s Creed says that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Ghost. But that only tells us the beginning of Jesus’ life.

In truth, Jesus lived His whole life by the Holy Spirit. This truth is both amazing and shocking when we understand what this truth means.

John 3:34 teaches that the anointing of Jesus would be unlimited. This was also taught in the Old Testament. Psalm 45:6-7 teaches that the anointing of Jesus would be greater than all others. Your throne, O God, is forever and ever. The scepter of your kingdom is a scepter of uprightness; you have loved righteousness and hated wickedness. Therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.

This unique anointing of the Holy Spirit upon the life of Christ started at His incarnation and stayed with Him throughout His entire life. Jesus lived by the power of the Spirit. We can too.

Our Westminster Confession of Faith chapter 8 and paragraph 2 mentions the start of Jesus life by the Spirit: The Son of God, the second Person in the Trinity, being very and eternal God, of one substance, and equal with the Father, did, when the fullness of time was come, take upon him man’s nature, with all the essential properties and common infirmities thereof; yet without sin: being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost, in the womb of the Virgin Mary, of her substance. So that two whole, perfect, and distinct natures, the Godhead and the manhood, were inseparably joined together in one person, without conversion, composition, or confusion. Which person is very God and very man, yet one Christ, the only Mediator between God and man.

The Second Person of the Trinity was dependent on the work of the Holy Spirit upon the womb of Mary to prepare His physical body, so too the Second Person of the Trinity was dependent upon the anointing of the Holy Spirit upon His human soul to fill Him with the necessary supernatural power to do the work the Father had called Him to do.

We are given a measure of that same anointing of the Spirit to do the work God has called us to do. Just as Jesus lived by the power of the Spirit, so too we can live by the power of that same Spirit.

That’s why this truth is so comforting. As the Church we can work the same work as Jesus. Jesus glorified God by the power of the Holy Spirit and we can glorify God by the power of the Holy Spirit. We must understand this if we are to look to Jesus as our model for Christian living.

Let me be more direct. Jesus did not walked on the water using His divine power. He walked on the water by the power of the Spirit. Jesus didn’t automatically know the scriptures as Mary’s son because He was the eternal Word. Jesus knew the scriptures by the anointing of the Spirit. Jesus didn’t raise people from the dead by His own power. He did miracle after miracle by the power of the Spirit of God.

Notice that the people living during the time of Jesus almost never thought His powers proved He was God. In Matthew 21:23 the crowds asked Jesus, By what authority are you doing these things? They knew a spirit could enable a man to do the things Jesus did. They were curious if it was God’s Spirit and if Jesus was doing this by God’s authority.

The miracles did not impress the crowds. They had seen all this before. Prophets of God had parted the waters, raised the dead, healed the sick, and told of future events. The Spirit of God upon the Old Testament saints enabled them to do mighty things for God’s glory. When Jesus did miracles He did it in the same way. He relied on the Spirit’s power. New Testament saints were also enabled to do miraculous things.

The difference for Jesus was that He was not given the Spirit by measure according to a few gifts. We all have a spiritual gift or two. Jesus was given the Spirit without measure. What does that mean? Well, imagine every Old Testament spiritual gift and every New Testament spiritual gift, every fruit of the Spirit and every grace of God upon the life; all of them in their maximum capacity were given by the Father to Jesus.

It was this ultimate anointing that enabled Jesus to be the ultimate high priest, the timeless prophet and the great king.

Another example comes out of Isaiah 11:1-3. And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD.

Jesus knew the scripture because the Holy Spirit brought to Him a Spirit of wisdom and understanding, counsel, might, knowledge and made Him a quick study in the fear of the Lord. Jesus had to grow in wisdom and stature. That’s what He was doing in the temple as a young man. Jesus was asking questions and giving answers. Jesus didn’t know the eternal word intuitively. Jesus had to learn through rigorous study.

The Spirit of God can do the same for us. In the New Testament the Spirit of God came upon the disciples to help them remember the utterances of Jesus. The Spirit helps us in the same way. 1 Corinthians chapter two speaks directly to this truth. The Spirit of God can come upon you to understand this book. Jesus is our model.

Another example comes out of Luke 3:21-23. Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased. And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph.

Jesus didn’t get His Messianic mindset at His baptism. From His birth He knew who He was and what He came to do. But, the baptism of Jesus did ordain him into His ministerial responsibilities. Only a priest could anoint another man into the priesthood. Jesus was anointed by the priest John the Baptist at the right age of 30 to begin His Messianic duties.

The Holy Spirit comes upon us to bestow upon us our spiritual gifts for our Christian duty.                    1 Corinthians 12 lists the spiritual gifts given to us when we are baptized by the Spirit into Jesus’ life, death, burial, resurrection and ascension. Again, Jesus is our example.

Another example comes out of Luke 4:1. And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness. Jesus was tempted by the Devil for 40 days. How did Jesus overcome direct satanic temptation? Was the whole wilderness temptation a fake test or did Jesus actually have to struggle like we do? Answer? Jesus relied on the Holy Spirit to help Him remember the written word of God to fight off temptation. Again, Jesus is our model for Christian living.

Another example comes out of Luke 4:14. And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee. Even though Jesus was exhausted and hungry, He made it through His day by the Spirit’s power.

Further in Luke 4:16-21. And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.

Jesus preached and healed by the power of the Spirit. He as much says so. He is absolutely our example for every aspect of the Christian life.

We confessed this in the Apostle’s Creed and it is repeated in our Westminster Confession of Faith chapter 8 and paragraph 3. The Lord Jesus in his human nature thus united to the divine, was sanctified and anointed with the Holy Spirit above measure; having in him all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, in whom it pleased the Father that all fullness should dwell: to the end that being holy, harmless, undefiled, and full of grace and truth, he might be thoroughly furnished to execute the office of a Mediator and Surety.

Is this making sense? The same Spirit that enabled Jesus to do God’s will is sent to us to do God’s will. Why should we be discouraged?

1 Corinthians 2:10-11 says, these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. John 3:34 says that Jesus utters the words of God because the Father gave to Jesus the Spirit without measure. We also know God’s word as we are illuminated by the Spirit.

1 Corinthians 2:12-16 says, 12 Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. 13 And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. 14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 15 The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. 16 “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

As a man Jesus knew the mind of God by the anointing of the Spirit. We know the mind of God only as the Spirit of God enlightens our minds in the knowledge of Christ. This is our only means for Christian living. Jesus is once again our example.

We could keep providing example after example if we had time. For instance, Jesus communicated with the Father by prayer. He would stay up all night in prayer and then rely on the power of the Spirit to get Him through the next day.

Jesus is our example over and over again.

There was only one time that Jesus stopped acting as a man. There was only one time that Jesus stopped being found in fashion as a man. On the Mount of Transfiguration Jesus opened up the windows of His flesh to show His divine attributes independent of the anointing of the Holy Spirit. In that one brief event we see the Son of God in His own glory.

Let me give it to you one last time. Jesus was fully God yet lived as a common man who was dependent on the power of the Holy Spirit. He is our example. It is not unfair to set Jesus as our model for Christian living. He can place our feet on the highway of holiness in spite of our failures. He can help us live the victorious Christian life. He can help us live holy, even as the Father in heaven is holy.

May we all be comforted and encouraged by this amazing truth. Thanks be to God.


[1] The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

Tony Locke

Live in Gwinnett, GA next to Lake Lanier Islands. Married with four children. Pastored three churches over 18 years. Spent time serving as an Army Chaplain. Traveled in ministry to over 34 countries. B.A., M.A., M.Div., M.A.T.S., D.Min. BCC with NSC. Covering Georgia and upstate South Carolina
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