An Unforgettable Day
Text: Matthew 3:1-17
What an unforgettable day that was when Jesus went to the Jordan to be baptized! Matthew noted one especially wondrous event.
“When He had been baptized, Jesus came
up immediately from the water; and
behold, the heavens were opened to Him,
and He saw the Spirit of God descending
like a dove and alighting upon Him.
And suddenly a voice came from heaven,
saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom
I am well pleased.'”
Imagine seeing the heaven cleaved wide open, and then hearing a mighty voice from above! And as quietness prevailed after the proclamation of God, a gentle dove came from the skies to alight upon Jesus! It was a day that would not be forgotten in a hurry.
THE WITNESS OF JOHN THE BAPTISER
John the Baptiser received a confirming word from the Lord Himself concerning Jesus. We read this from the Gospel of John.
“And John bore witness, saying, ‘I saw the
Spirit descending from heaven like a dove,
and He remained upon Him. I did not know
Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water
said to me, “Upon whom you see the Spirit
descending, and remaining on Him, this is He
who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.” And I have
seen and testified that this is The Son of God.’ ”
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF GOD’S PROCLAMATION
That God would speak aloud has a significance all of its own. The words that He uttered added even greater weight to the event.
This was God’s way of expressing His approval of Jesus. We may divide this thought along the following lines:
a. Approval of the way He had grown up
Jesus had indeed grown up well. He was now ready to take on the role that God had planned for Him. Luke’s description of the growth of Jesus comes readily to mind.
“And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature,
and in favour with God and men.”
b. Approval of the way He conducted Himself before John
The humility that Jesus displayed as He stood before John asking for baptism speaks well of Jesus! He had understood the need to submit Himself to the forerunner! His demeanour, His personality, and yes, also His character were well evidenced in the way He conducted Himself as He stood before John.
c. Approval of His role as Messiah
The role of the Messiah may be spoken of as a threefold ministry. He was to be prophet, priest and king! To fulfil these roles was not going to be easy at all. He would have to endure much along the way. God knew the heart of His beloved Son. He was proud of Him. He must declare that He was His beloved Son to all who would give ear to what He proclaimed!
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE DESCENT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT UPON JESUS
Every detail had its share of significance to add to our understanding of the Scriptural text. Let us take time to ponder over the following thoughts:
The Spirit of God could have taken almost any symbolic form He chose. Significantly, He chose the form of a dove to alight upon Jesus. The symbol of the dove would signify that Jesus would be marked by a special spirit of gentleness. We are surely reminded of the famous prophetic text in the book of Isaiah.
“Behold! My Servant whom I uphold,
My Elect One in whom My soul delights!
I have put My Spirit upon Him;
He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles.
He will not cry out, nor raise His voice,
Nor cause His voice to be heard in the street.
A bruised reed He will not break,
And smoking flax He will not quench;
He will bring forth justice for truth.”
Where the Spirit of God is, there will always be power! The expression of power need not be explosive or destructive at all. Gentleness and power are not diametrically opposite to each other.
The Spirit of God may appear as a gentle dove upon Jesus, but His very Presence would indicate that He would arm Jesus with special Divine power for His Messianic duties! He would need all the Divine power He could get to succeed as the Servant of the Lord. God does not only call a person to ministry. He would also ensure that His servant would have the necessary power to fulfil the tasks assigned!