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Tracing the Theme of the Spirit in the Gospels & Acts

On Sunday we looked at Jesus' promise to send the Helper, the Holy Spirit, to give us power to advance the gospels. One of the things you see when you read the gospels is that the Holy Spirit didn’t suddenly “show up” after Jesus left but that Jesus did his ministry in the power of the Spirit. We encourage you to explore and meditate on these verses as you trace this theme in the gospels. You can also download a .PDF of this Scripture list here

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

Matt 3:11 - “I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worth to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

Matt 3:16 - And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to resto on him.

Luke 1:15 - For he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. (Prophetic word about John the Baptist)

Luke 1:35 - And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.”

Luke 1:41-42 - And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.

Luke 1:67 - And his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying...”

Luke 2:25-26 - Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 

Mark 1:8 - “I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

Luke 3:16 - John answered them all saying, “I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals, I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

Luke 4:18 - “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed,”

Luke 11:13 - “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.”

Luke 12:12 - “For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”

John 1:33 - “I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.”

John 7:37-39 - On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

John 14:26 - “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”

John 15:26 - “But when the Helper comes whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of Truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me.”

John 16:6-7 - “But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.”

John 16:12-15 - “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore, I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.”

John 20:21-23 - Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

Just as the Spirit was active and empowering Jesus’ ministry, the Holy Spirit empowers the early church. Meditate on these verses and ask the Spirit’s power in your own life.

Acts 1:1-2 - In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen.

Acts 1:4-5 - And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me, for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

Acts 1:8 - “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Acts 2:4 - And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Acts 2:33 - “Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing.”

Acts 2:38 - And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

Acts 4:8-10 - Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well.”

Acts 4:29-31 - “And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.

Acts 5:32 - “And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”

Acts 6:3 - “Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty.”

Acts 6:5 - And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit...

Acts 7:54-55 - Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth at him. But, he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.

Acts 8:14-17 “Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John, who came down and prayer for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, for he had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit.”

Acts 9:17 - So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you might regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”

Acts 10:37-38 - “You yourselves know what happened throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power.”

Acts 10:44-48 - While Peter was still saying these things the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word. And the believers from among the circumcised who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles. For they were hearing them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter declared, “Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.

Acts 11:15-18 - “As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as on us at the beginning. And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ If then God gave the same gift to them as he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?” When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.”

Acts 13:2 - While they were worshipping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”

Acts 13:9 - But Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently and him and said,...”

Acts 13:52 - And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

Acts 15:8-9 “And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them, by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us, and he made no distinction between us and them, having cleansed their hearts by faith.”

Acts 19:2 - And he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”

Acts 19:5 - On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying.

Acts 20:22-23 - “And now, behold, I am going to Jerusalem, constrained by the Spirit, not knowing what will happened to me there, except the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and afflictions await me.”

Acts 20:28 - “Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.”

Acts 21:11 - And coming to us, he took Paul’s belt and bound his own feet and hands and said, “Thus says the Holy Spirit, ‘This is how the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.’”