1. Did Jesus operate in the gifts of the Spirit?
Yes. He healed the sick, drove out demons, performed miracles, prophesied, used discernment, exercised wisdom & words of knowledge, and he expressed faith.
He didn’t use tongues or interpretation. Because He already prayed the will of the Father, He didn’t need those gifts. They didn’t appear until the Holy Spirit fell at Pentecost in Acts, after Jesus had ascended.
2. How was Jesus able to operate in the Spirit?
By being completely dependent on the power of the Holy Spirit working through Him.
Jesus himself could not heal the sick, raise the dead, or perform miracles (John 5:19—The Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does).
Yes, He is 100% God, but He chose to live as a man, with the same limitations man would face after redemption. This is hugely important, because if Jesus performed miracles as God, these acts would be impossible and unattainable. We would read about signs and wonders and say, “Wow, good for him.” But if Jesus did miracles as a man, I am responsible to pursue that lifestyle!
3. How was Jesus empowered?
Jesus was empowered by hearing God’s voice and then responding in obedience. How did He so easily know the will of the Father? Simple. He spent time with the Father.
Jorie, as my daughter, knows my heart because she spends a lot of time with me. If she wanted to know how I would respond in a specific situation, she probably wouldn’t ask all my friends or read someone’s biography of me. She could, but at best all that would do is point her in the right direction. No, she would ask me. Watch how I act. Read my journals, maybe. The more time you spend with someone, the better you know them.
In Luke 4, the context is that the Holy Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness for 40 days, where He did nothing but pray and fast and was tempted by Satan. (Luke 4:14--Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit.)
He has been filled with the Spirit. Did someone prophesy over him? Did anyone lay hands on him? Was there a band playing amazing Hillsong and Jesus Culture songs? What was he doing that filled him with the Spirit?
He was 1. Spending time with the Lord and 2. Standing up against temptation.
I think it’s important to note that his time with the Father included prayer, fasting, and meditating on Scripture. In fact, he battled Satan simply by confessing Scripture…OUT LOUD. But that’s another topic.
Turn to Mark and someone read 9:14-29 (OR) context: The disciples were trying to drive a demon out of a boy, and they couldn’t, so Jesus was summoned. Read 4:28-29.
Now, did Jesus stop right then and began praying? No. He led a lifestyle of prayer and spending time with God. It was intentional devotion. His time in the desert is proof that time with God empowers the Spirit.
Now read Jesus’ response to the same scenario in Matthew 17:20 (If you would only have faith, nothing would be impossible). Okay. Seems like a different response, right? One time he calls for prayer, the other, faith. Make up your mind! But hang on. Look up Romans 10:17 (Faith comes from hearing the message). How do we hear the word of the Lord? We pray. We study the Bible. We confess Scripture out loud. We spend time with Him. Then look—nothing will be impossible. As we hear the word, faith builds!
4. How often did Jesus operate in the gifts?
All the time! For a frame of reference, I looked up JUST instances of healing in Matthew chapters 5-25. There are over 20 listed, and in over half of them, there is no way to count all the healings. Words are used like “every,” “large crowds,” “all who were ill,” “every disease,” “all were healed,” and “great crowds.”
That’s just healing. That isn’t including times he prophesied or used wisdom or drove out demons, etc. He was constantly moving in the Holy Spirit. He never fell out of the anointing. His lifestyle of personal devotion didn’t allow Him to.
5. Why did Jesus operate in the gifts?
He moved in the Spirit to bring God’s kingdom to heart. He wanted to serve and minister to all, so that Heaven would be recognized here.
How do we follow the example Jesus left? We spend time with the Lord. We let our faith grow. We allow the Holy Spirit to fill us. And we exercise that power by operating in the gifts of the Spirit for service, ministry, encouragement, and simply to know Jesus better. The more time we spend with Him, the more clearly we hear Him.