By Brooke Holt
“And John bore witness: ‘I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him.’” John 1:32
Think of the declarations that have been spoken over you – wife, husband, mother, father, sister, brother, friend, winner/loser, widow/widower, etc. Declarations, good and bad, can define you and instruct others in how to relate to you. Like you, Jesus had many things declared over his life, some true and some not. Thankfully, as the Gospel of John begins, John the Baptist declares God’s truth about Jesus.
In this simple declaration, John is affirming the messianic nature of Jesus. Never had people experienced one on whom the Spirit remained. Instead, in the Old Testament, God’s Spirit would come upon individuals for a specific time and purpose. God’s prophets received the Spirit to speak the word of the Lord, to perform miracles, and to foretell of things to come. Priests received the Spirit to serve as mediators between God and his people; they offered atoning sacrifices in the temple for the forgiveness of sin. God’s appointed kings received the Spirit to lead the nation of Israel with God’s divine authority. These three roles were empowered by God’s Spirit and no person served in more than one of these roles until Jesus.
Jesus comes as the perfect fulfillment of prophet, priest, and king. The Spirit remained upon him because he alone could speak the Word of God, offer himself as an atoning sacrifice for sin, and hold perfect authority over his people. This confirmation of God’s Spirit remaining on Jesus was John declaring to the people that the Messiah had come. He was dwelling among them. They were to listen to what Jesus said, receive the gift of his salvation, and allow Jesus to be the ultimate authority of their lives.
Have you received Jesus as the perfect fulfillment of prophet, priest, and king of your life? Do you receive his words throughout Scripture? Have you been cleansed through his death and resurrection? Have you allowed him to sit on the throne of your heart? If so, you now have God’s Spirit dwelling within you. Unlike God’s leaders in the Old Testament, the Spirit will remain on you as it did Jesus. Through the power of that Spirit, you can discover your identity as his child as well as your calling in this life. That Spirit will equip you for every good work (see 2 Timothy 3:17 )!
Jesus is the anointed prophet, priest, and king; we are his sons and daughters; and we have a kingdom to build in his name.
Are you living in the power and presence of God’s Holy Spirit? What more does he want to do in you and through you? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Jesus’ great commission to his apostles after his resurrection was to go into all the world to preach, teach, and baptize in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. From the very beginning, baptism has been understood as the doorway into this new kind of family. Explore what Jesus expects of this new family that finds its origin and purpose in him. The baptized are called into a new life of faith. From passages in Matthew to the shining examples of faith in our passage from John, Waters of Baptism is a helpful resource for those seeking the sacrament of baptism or those who want a deeper understanding of their faith. This six week study will help us understand the importance of baptismal living.
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