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Luke 4 states:

1And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wildernessESV

and:

13And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time.

14And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and a report about him went out through all the surrounding country. ESV

Had the Holy Spirit left Jesus during the temptation? In other words, does "led by the Spirit" (v1) followed by "returned in the power of the Spirit" (v14) imply the Spirit was absent from Jesus during the intervening period? If so, why did the Spirit leave?

  • Welcome to bh.se! This is a good question. I just formatted a little bit more to fit our site. – Frank Luke Sep 12 '13 at 21:55
  • Hi Kris, I've edited to try and make your question a little clearer, please let me know or edit again yourself if I've got your intention in the question wrong? – Jack Douglas Sep 14 '13 at 8:43
  • That is perfectly edited. I did not know the format that would express the question clearly. I am new to this site. The question is found in Luke 4:14. At the beginning of the chapter the scripture states the Holy Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted, but then Jesus returned in the Power of the spirit in v14 so my question was where did the Spirit go? Moreover why did the Spirit leave? I am here to lear so please edit it freely to get the question across better. I will take notes for future questions. – Kris Sep 14 '13 at 22:43
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"And Jesus ... was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil."

There is no indication in the Greek text of Luke 4:1-14 that the Spirit left Jesus to fend for himself, even briefly, when he was πειραζόμενος ὑπὸ τοῦ διαβόλου ("tempted of the devil" in KJV). Ergo, the same motivation that moved him to go INTO the wilderness apparently remained with and continued to motivate him during the entire 40 days Jesus spent IN the wilderness.

  • This is a good answer, but you may wish to reword the first sentance slightly since I edited the question following a comment from the OP. – Jack Douglas Sep 15 '13 at 20:25
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The simplest solution is a simple clarification of a possible misunderstanding of the grammar. Luke 4:14 could more accurately, albeit more clunky, be translated as:

"And Jesus, in the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee..." Or "And Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit..."

The phrase "to Galilee" εἰς τὴν Γαλιλαίαν is in the Accusative which in simple terms commonly means it is receiving the action of the main verb. While "in the power" ἐν τῇ δυνάμει is Dative and "of the Spirit" τοῦ πνεύματος is Genitive, which is possessive. Both are referring back to the subject, Jesus, not the verb.

So you see the verb "returned" is not directed to the Spirit or the power of the Spirit at all. It is just describing how he returned.

Here are some other translations:

NIV Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside.

NLT Then Jesus returned to Galilee, filled with the Holy Spirit’s power. Reports about him spread quickly through the whole region.

NASB And Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about Him spread through all the surrounding district.

NET Then Jesus, in the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee, and news about him spread throughout the surrounding countryside.

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No. The text wasn't refer to the Holy Spirit in v.13: "he [the devil] departed from him [Jesus] until an opportune time"

  • I've edited the question, but I'm not sure if I've understood the OPs intent or if you have. He may roll the change back or add further clarification. – Jack Douglas Sep 14 '13 at 8:45
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    It is my fault you have misunderstood the question, refer to my comment. – Kris Sep 14 '13 at 22:44
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The holy spirit is gods own divine magic Consider it a force that can not only enter into your shell so to say,but it always encompasses not only you but the entire earth if you are not in tuned with the holy spirits frequency than it is difficult to receive alone not for Jesus but for men. God said where two are gatherd in his name his spirit will come "church" that's why when the holy spirit "god's majic" moves in a congregation you can get the conviction in a non believers heart to accept and have faith in a savior hes has never seen that's blind faith and it is wonderful to fall and feel the god send you back out!

  • I'm very grateful for your participation here. We're a little different from a forum, so do take the site tour if you haven't already. Answers are expected to have informed argument, cite evidence (primary and secondary), and not simply offer speculation. I think you can benefit a lot if you see the kind of answers that this site is looking for. – Paul Vargas Apr 11 '15 at 7:06
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First of all, in Trinitarian tradition, Jesus had no need for the Holy Spirit, because each is a person of the Holy Trinity. Luke 4 tells us that Jesus was easily able to overcome the temptations that Satan threw at him.

The earliest account of the temptation of Jesus is in Mark 1:12-13. Here, we are not told how Satan tempted Jesus, but the Spirit was apparently not present. Instead, angels ministered to Jesus during the forty days in the wilderness, resulting in an interesting mental image if we read the three temptations of Luke (and Matthew) back into this account:

Mark 1:12-13: And immediately the Spirit driveth him into the wilderness. 13 And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him.

In Luke's more detailed account of the temptations (and in the parallel account in Matthew) it appears Jesus was entirely alone while Satan tempted him. It is hard to imagine the angels or the Holy Spirit permitting Satan to demand that Jesus worship him, or allowing Satan to take Jesus to the pinnacle of the temple. Although we are not actually told this, it has to be assumed that the Holy Spirit must have left Jesus, at least while he was in the wilderness.


Now we can look at the account even more critically in order to understand its true meaning. Dale C. Allison Jr. ('How to Marginalize the Traditional Criteria of Authenticity', published in Handbook for the Study of the Historical Jesus, Volume 1, edited by Tom Holmén and Stanley E. Porter - page 14) asks us to look at this account as an unhistorical fiction intended to help readers to understand the historical Jesus. He says:

Most modern scholars have rightly judged this to be unhistorical, an haggadic fiction produced through reflection on scripture. Yet whoever composed it clearly did so in the knowledge that Jesus was (a) a miracle worker who (b) sometimes refused to give signs, (c) thought himself victorious over demonic forces, (d) was steeped in the scriptures, (e) had great faith in God, and (f) was a person of the Spirit. So what we seem to have in Q 4:1-13 is an illustration of the obvious fact that historical fiction can inform us about history. The story, which narrates events that probably never happened, nonetheless catches Jesus in several respects. Here the inauthentic incorporates the authentic.

If most modern scholars have judged this to be unhistorical, then we need not try to understand whether the Holy Spirit had left Jesus, or why. Allison says that the story narrates events that probably never happened, but nonetheless catches the authentic Jesus.

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