Life-Study of Markby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In the Gospel of Mark we see the Lord Jesus as the One who lived a life according to God’s New Testament economy. This One is both the Sower and the seed. He sowed Himself as the seed into His disciples. The Lord gathered the disciples, the chosen ones of God, as His “soil” in which He sowed Himself so that He might grow in them and that they might grow Him. The Lord also brought His disciples with Him to the cross and terminated them. After this, He brought them into His resurrection. Having seen all this in the foregoing messages, let us now go on to see how the disciples are the continuation of the Lord Jesus.
The Gospel of Mark ends with the Lord’s ascension. What is the Lord Jesus doing now that He has resurrected and ascended? In order to find out what the Lord is doing after His ascension, we need the book of Acts.
In chapter one of Acts the resurrected Christ charged His disciples to remain in Jerusalem for the baptism in the Holy Spirit: “For John indeed baptized in water, but you shall be baptized in the Holy Spirit not many days from now” (Acts 1:5). In verse 8 He went on to say, “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you.” Here we see that the baptism in the Holy Spirit is a matter of the Spirit descending upon the disciples.
In Acts 1 the Lord talks about the disciples experiencing the Holy Spirit coming upon them. But had the disciples not received the Holy Spirit already? According to John 20, in the evening of His resurrection day, the Lord appeared to His disciples, breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (v. 22). In this verse the Holy Spirit is likened to breath. Breath is something inward, something related to the life within us. In John 20:22, therefore, the disciples received the Holy Spirit as breath for life.
Forty days after His resurrection, the Lord commanded the disciples to remain in Jerusalem for the Holy Spirit to descend upon them. That descending of the Spirit upon the disciples was for power, not for life. In John 20 we have the Spirit inwardly for life; in Acts 1 we have the Spirit outwardly for power, for baptism. When a person is baptized, he does not drink the water; instead, he is immersed in the water. In a similar way, the baptism in the Holy Spirit is a matter of the Spirit coming upon us outwardly so that we may have power.
The Lord’s word to the disciples concerning the Holy Spirit in chapter one of Acts was fulfilled in chapter two. On the day of Pentecost “suddenly there came a noise out of heaven like a rushing violent wind,” and it filled the house where the disciples were sitting. Then they were all filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-4). On the day of the Lord’s resurrection the disciples received the Holy Spirit as breath for life. Then fifty days later, on the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples as a rushing mighty wind. We can easily see the difference between breath and wind. Breath is for life, and wind is for power. In John 20 and Acts 2 we have two symbols of the Holy Spirit: the breath for life inwardly and the wind for power outwardly.
With the Lord Jesus we also see these two aspects of the Holy Spirit. First, the Lord was conceived of the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35; Matt. 1:18, 20). Then at the age of thirty, when He came forth to minister, the Holy Spirit descended upon Him, and He was baptized in the Holy Spirit (Luke 3:21-22). The Lord’s being conceived of the Spirit was a matter of the Spirit essentially, but His being baptized in the Holy Spirit was a matter of the Spirit descending upon Him economically. Hence, the Holy Spirit for the Lord’s conception was essential, whereas the Holy Spirit for His ministry was economical.
Because the Lord Jesus was conceived of the Holy Spirit essentially, the Spirit became the essence of His being. The Lord had the divine essence of the conceiving Holy Spirit. He also received the human essence from the virgin Mary. Because He was conceived of the divine essence and born with the human essence, He was born a God-man. This means that for His being as the God-man He had two essences—the divine essence and the human essence. Therefore, the Lord was both God and man, the complete God and a perfect man. This is a matter of His being, His existence.
For thirty years the Lord Jesus lived on earth as the God-man. At the age of thirty He began to minister. For His ministry He needed the Spirit of God to descend upon Him not essentially but economically. This descending of the Spirit upon the Lord Jesus was for God’s economy; it was not for the Lord’s existence. For His existence He needed the Holy Spirit essentially to be His divine essence. But for the carrying out of God’s economy, He needed the Holy Spirit to descend on Him economically.
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