John 1:25-34 – Anointing with the Holy Spirit Theme

With the commercialization of Christmas and the billions of dollars spent on gifts, we forget the gift of the Holy Spirit. Stores in the U.S. switch over to Christmas mode on November 1st. Its all commercial, nothing spiritual is involved. The gifts we should care about are salvation through Jesus Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 1 (verses 13-14) states explicitly that the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is our guarantee of eternal salvation. Thinking in this way, compare the material items we get for Christmas to the immeasurable gift of the Holy Spirit. We ignore what is important and focus on the materially insignificant of this life.

We will deal with the significant themes in the passage above one by one. Proceeding in this fashion allows for digging deeper into major Christian concepts. The author John wants to present these ideas here as if the readers already know this material. John’s gospel has a late date, but before 100 B. C, so much of this conceptual material is in Scripture already. In this lesson, we want to understand the ramifications of this special anointing of the Holy Spirit.

Anointing of the Holy Spirit

“Anoint” means to set someone apart, to allow and equip him or her for a task of spiritual importance. Jesus Christ is set apart by the work of the Holy Spirit for his ministry of preaching, healing, and deliverance. The Holy Spirit sets Christians apart for their ministry in Christ’s name.’[1]

In earlier studies, we mentioned that John the Baptist is the forerunner for the Messiah. Isaiah 61:1-3 is another prophecy that the Messiah must fulfill - something that must happen if we are to consider Jesus the Messiah. As you read the passage, clear;y that a person could not carry out this task. For example, who could heal the “brokenhearted?”. Read the passage below from the NKJV:

The Good News of Salvation

61 “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me,

Because the LORD has anointed Me

To preach good tidings to the poor;

He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,

To proclaim liberty to the captives,

And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;

2 to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD,

And the day of vengeance of our God;

to comfort all who mourn,

3 To console those who mourn in Zion,

To give them beauty for ashes,

The oil of joy for mourning,

The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;

That they may be called trees of righteousness,

the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.”[2]

The Baptist tells the Pharisees that he is the forerunner (John 1:23, Isaiah 40:3). The Pharisees want to know why John is baptizing.

“The Jews practiced baptism for ritual cleansing, but in all cases the baptismal candidates baptized themselves. There was no precedent for John baptizing other people, and the Jews did not regard themselves as needing to repent. This was something Gentiles needed to do when they converted to Judaism. Moreover, since he was not one of the prophesied eschatological figures, he appeared to them to lack the authority to do what he did.”[3]

Who gave him this authority? Instead of a direct answer, the Baptist restates Isaiah 40:3. Jumping to verses 32-34, the Baptist gives proof of Jesus’s anointing by citing this event he saw. Matt. 3:13-17, Mark 1:9-11, Luke 3:21-23 document the baptism of Jesus. Jesus later declares his anointing (Luke 4:18-21) using Isa. 61:1-2 as support. We can see that 1st century Christians understood the particular circumstances about the anointing of Jesus (Acts 4:26-27 and Acts 10:38).

What evidence is there that Jesus’s anointing?

Mt. 4:23-25 – Using the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus healed people while proclaiming the gospel and drawing crowds due to Jesus’ miracles.

Mt. 7:28-29 – The crowds are amazed by Jesus’ teaching as someone who has authority.

Mt. 12:28 – Jesus performs by the power of the Spirit, which is evidence that the Kingdom has come.

Lk.4:14-15 – Again, the Spirit receives credit for the work Jesus does.

Lk. 5:17 – Jesus demonstrates the power of the Spirit in front of the Pharisees and teachers of the law.

Lk. 6:19 – The crowds wanted to touch Jesus for healing.

Lk. 7:14-15 – Jesus raises a dead young man.

Do we receive the Holy Spirit?

In the Old Testament, God anointed specific people for specifics tasks; see 2 Sam. 23:1-2.

“Considering how the will of God may now be known, it should be observed that direct leading by the indwelling Spirit has superseded, as something far more advantageous, the Old Testament method of guidance by natural light, by dreams, by voices, and by tests. All of these new methods should be considered ineffective now.” [4]

The crux is that the Holy Spirit operates differently in the Church Age. The Jews had the law and the Temple for guidance, and we now the indwelling of the Spirit serves this purpose.

What is the role of the Holy Spirit in the Church Age?

2 Cor. 1:21-22 and Col. 2:7 show the indwelling confirms or establishes the believer in Christ. The sense is to solidify our relationship with the Lord. 1 John 2:20 and 27 points to the teaching aspect of the Holy Spirit. If you read 1 John 2:20-27 in its entirety, you find that being in fellowship with the Lord allows the believer to handle misinformation from the world and Satan. Satan designs his lies to take our focus off the promises of the Lord and live as the world does in fear. We to weather these storms in faith, believing in the promises, specifically eternal security.


1. Logos bible Software

2. The New King James Version. (1982). (Is 61:1–3). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

3. Constable, T. (2003). Tom Constable’s Expository Notes on the Bible (Jn 1:25). Galaxie Software.

4. Lemke, S. W. (2007). The Academic Use of Gospel Harmonies. In Holman Christian Standard Bible: Harmony of the Gospels (p. 43). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

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