My Bible group asked me a question I was unable to answer, and so I seek your advice. Did Jesus receive the Holy Spirit at birth? I know John the Baptist did, but the Bible doesn't say whether Jesus did. Some were wondering why he got baptised if he did in fact already have the Holy Spirit. We thought it was to open heaven and to be an example to others to get baptised as well, but couldn't find evidence to support our theories. -- Danielle

Douglas Jacoby: It's a good question, and I confess I have never thought about it. I guess my thinking is that since in nature Jesus on earth was God (Colossians 2:9, Philippians 2), his spirit was by definition the Holy Spirit. I may be wrong about that. I am not aware of any scripture which directly addresses this. I will email some of my respected friends and see if any of them have some thoughts.

Additional response from James Greig (Oxford, England): My first thoughts are about Jesus' unique birth--no, unique conception! He had no human father. Instead, the Holy Spirit was involved in the conception, as Mary was told he would be. Luke 1:35. Even as unborn, he was recognised as special by Elizabeth's unborn child (who at that point did not have the Spirit if filled "from birth"). Don't know how much to make of the birth/conception distinction! He was therefore not filled from birth as Samson and John the Baptist were, but was of a different order altogether. As the Holy Spirit is the "interface" of all God's activity (creation, rebirth, Scriptures, resurrection), it's fitting he is part of the incarnation.

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