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Did Jesus receive the Holy Spirit at the Jordan River?

No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.” John 6:44

When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” Luke 3:21-22

Jesus was God who came to the earth in human flesh. As God, he is described as a relationship – Father, Son, Holy Spirit. He is separate and distinct, yet co-exists in a larger sense.

So with that in mind, Jesus as God could not receive the Holy Spirit because he is in relationship with the Holy Spirit. He was not separate from the Holy Spirit and therefore did not need to connect with him. We, on the other hand, receive the Holy Spirit because we are not in relationship with God.

However, as a human, Jesus could have “received” the Holy Spirit at some time in his life since the Holy Spirit makes humans aware of God, drawing us to Him, working on our hearts, guiding us and teaching us. Though not stated, that could have happened before he was twelve years old. Jesus in human flesh would need the power of the Holy Spirit to reveal to him over time who he really was. By the age of twelve, in the temple with the Jewish teachers, Jesus communicated his understanding of that knowledge, an understanding only the Holy Spirit could give.

Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God.” John 1:32-34

So why did the Holy Spirit descend on him at the Jordan River?
  1. John the Baptist was told earlier to look for someone who will perform a supernatural sign of baptism by the Holy Spirit. That person was Jesus and the place was the Jordan River. The Holy Spirit descended as a sign, pointing to him as the Messiah. sort of saying “Here he is!”
  2. Maybe Jesus received the Holy Spirit for this new work that he was about to do, like a refilling or a new dedication. Some people also pray to receive a fresh refilling of the Holy Spirit as they venture into a new direction in life or ministry. Since the Jordan River experience began a new phase in Jesus’ life, so he, again out of his human need, “refilled” his tank. He would need that power especially in light of the next step in his journey – the temptation and fast in the desert for forty days.