C. TO JESUS CHRIST
1. As the Divine Essence for the Conceiving and Birth of Jesus
The third instance of the coming of the Spirit in the New Testament is the coming of the Spirit to Jesus Christ as both the divine essence and the divine power. First, the Spirit came as the divine essence for the conceiving and birth of Jesus (Luke 1:35; Matt. 1:18, 20). This was the coming of the Spirit essentially for Christ’s existence and being as the God-man. The Lord Jesus was conceived of the divine essence, and this essence constituted His being.
As the God-man, Christ was conceived of the Holy Spirit with the divine essence. The Holy Spirit is God Himself reaching man. In the conceiving of the God-man, the Holy Spirit came into humanity. The God-man was conceived of the Holy Spirit not only with the divine nature but also with the divine essence. Because Jesus Christ was conceived of the Holy Spirit, He has the divine essence, the essence of God.
Concerning the conceiving of the God-man, Luke 1:35 speaks of the Holy Spirit coming upon Mary and the power of the Most High overshadowing her. It seems that, according to this verse, the Holy Spirit only came upon Mary as the power for her to conceive the Lord Jesus. However, Matthew 1:18 and 20 tell us that Mary “was found having in womb out of the Holy Spirit” (lit.), and “the thing begotten [generated] in her is out of the Holy Spirit” (lit.). This indicates that the divine essence out of the Holy Spirit had been generated in Mary’s womb before she delivered the Lord Jesus.
Because the God-man was conceived of the Holy Spirit with the divine essence and was born of a human virgin with a human essence, He has two essences, the divine and the human. Such a conception of the Holy Spirit in a human virgin, accomplished with both the divine and the human essences, constitutes a mingling of the divine nature with the human nature, producing the God-man, the One who is both the complete God and a perfect man, possessing the divine nature and the human nature distinctively, without a third nature being produced.
The conception of John the Baptist and that of Jesus the Savior are strikingly different in essence. The conception of John the Baptist was God’s miracle, accomplished with the overage human essence, merely by the divine power, without the divine essence being involved, thus bringing forth a mere man who was only filled with the Spirit of God economically for power but lacked the nature of God. The conception of the Savior was God’s incarnation (John 1:14), constituted not only by the divine power, but also of the divine essence added to the human essence, hence producing the God-man of two natures—divinity and humanity. Through this, God joined Himself to humanity that He might be manifested in the flesh (1 Tim. 3:16) and be our Savior (Luke 2:11).
2. As the Divine Power for the Anointing of Christ
The Holy Spirit also came to Jesus Christ as the divine power for the anointing of Christ (Matt. 3:16). This was economical and was for Christ’s ministry and work, whereas the coming of the Spirit as the divine essence was essential and was for the Lord’s being and living. When He came forth at the age of thirty to minister and work for God, He needed the Spirit as His power economically.
Matthew 3:16 says, “He saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and coming upon Him.” Before the Spirit of God descended and came upon the Lord Jesus, He had already been born of the Spirit, which proved that He had the Spirit within Him. That was for His birth. Now, for His ministry, the Spirit of God descended upon Him. This was for the fulfillment of Isaiah 61:1; 42:1; and Psalm 45:7 to anoint Christ for His ministry.
The Lord Jesus was conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of the Holy Spirit, and constituted of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit was His constituent. Nevertheless, He still needed the baptism of the Holy Spirit, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. When He was in the womb of the virgin Mary, He was constituted of the Holy Spirit. That was something inward. Outwardly, He still needed the Holy Spirit to come upon Him as divine power. The Holy Spirit’s conceiving of Jesus was essential, related to the being, the person, of Jesus. The essence of the Holy Spirit’s element in the conception of Jesus is unchangeable and cannot be removed. However, the Holy Spirit’s descending upon Christ was economical, related to the ministry, the work, of Jesus. The power of the Holy Spirit for the ministry of Jesus (Luke 4:1, 14, 18; Matt. 12:28) is removable according to the condition of need for it. Before the Holy Spirit in power descended upon the Lord Jesus, He already had the Holy Spirit in essence from His birth. Furthermore, while the Holy Spirit in power was descending upon Him, He was existing with the Holy Spirit in essence.
Christ’s person is His being, His existence, and His work is His ministry. For His person He had the Holy Spirit as His intrinsic essence from the time of His conception. This is the Spirit for the Lord’s being, for His existence. He was constituted of the Holy Spirit as the intrinsic essence of His being when He was conceived in the womb of the virgin Mary. Hence, He was born with the Holy Spirit as His essence. In other words, He was born with the essential Spirit for His person, being, existence.
For thirty years the Lord Jesus lived on earth by the Holy Spirit as the intrinsic essence of His person. Then at the age of thirty He came forth to work. For His ministry He needed the Holy Spirit in a further way, not essentially but economically. After Christ was baptized, the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form as a dove. This was the Holy Spirit coming upon the Lord Jesus economically for the carrying out of God’s economy through the Lord’s ministry.
It is crucial for us to see these two aspects of the coming of the Spirit to Jesus Christ—the essential aspect and the economical aspect. The essential aspect of the Holy Spirit was for the person, the being, the existence, of the Lord Jesus. The economical aspect of the Spirit was for the Lord’s work, for His ministry. Therefore, the Spirit came to Jesus Christ in two ways: in the essential way for His conceiving and birth so that He might be a God-man and live the life of a God-man; in the economical way as the divine power so that Christ might carry out His ministry and work for God. In these two ways the Spirit came to the Lord Jesus.
(Conclusion of the New Testament, The (Msgs. 079-098), Chapter 6, by Witness Lee)