The Holy Spirit in the Incarnation – Matthew 1:18

Now the birth of Jesus Christtook place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothedto Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Matt 1:18

Of the three person of the Holy Trinity, it is probably most difficult to think about the Holy Spirit as a person. Because of the word “Spirit” and its connotations, it is difficult to immediately grasp His personhood as readily as we do the “Father” and the “Son.” While these names convey a relational identity between the persons, the name “Spirit” tends to suggest a cold and impersonal cloud; and sadly much of the evangelical church relates to the blessed third person of the Trinity as just that – a force or manifestation of God. But if we understand the Spirit rightly, it will lead us to a greater loving devotion of Him, and accordingly with the Father and Son as well.

But how can we know the Holy Spirit? The answer is, as He is progressively revealed throughout human history in the Scripture. We find the Holy Spirit at work from the very first verses of the Bible, in creation (Gen 1:2). We see Him breathing life into the first man, Adam (Gen 2:7). We see His operation behind the scenes throughout the Old Testament. But the greatest surge in the revelation of the Spirit occurs in the life of the Lord Jesus Christ. First, the Holy Spirit is the immediate cause of the incarnation of Christ. The Virgin was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit (Mt 1:18). When Mary was visited by the angel who tells her that she will bear a son in Luke 1:34-35, she asked, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” To which the angel answered, The Holy Spirit will come upon you…” Later as Joseph, Mary’s betrothed bridegroom, was considering these things, an angel came to him to assure him, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.” Clearly without the Holy Spirit there could be no incarnation.

The third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, shared significantly in the greatest miracle in human history – the incarnation of the Son of God, which is a work that supersedes even His great work of creation. As the Spirit first breathed life into Adam, making man into a spiritual being, in the incarnation of Christ, the Spirit is again at work in the human race creating the new man. Christ then revealed the Holy Spirit and His work to us through His growth and development, baptism, temptation, ministry, death and resurrection. This Christmas we will shine the spotlight on the Holy Spirit, who, though His primary purpose is to glorify Christ, in the words of the Nicene Creed is, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father [and the Son], who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets.

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