Prepared by John E. Marshall
John 1:30 AThis is he of whom I said, after me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me.@
This repeats verse 15. John wanted everyone to know for sure he considered himself inferior to Jesus.
John 1:31 AI knew Him not: but that He should be made manifest to Israel,
therefore am I come baptizing with water.@
When John learned his cousin was the AOne,@ the natural reaction could easily have been repulsion. A prophet is often honored everywhere except in his own family. John neither rebelled nor recoiled with jealousy. He admitted his whole life and ministry were for Another, for One next of kin.
Greatness is often all around us. We sometimes yearn to be around Agreat@ people. We need to remind ourselves we walk daily with greatness (God, our spouse, our parents, faithful people who love the Lord). In perceiving greatness, we are farsighted, seeing it far off, but not nearby.
John 1:32 AAnd John bare record (witness), saying, I saw the Spirit descending from Heaven like a Dove . . .@
Christ=s heavenly commission was poignantly pictured by the descent not of a crown, sword, or wealth, but of a dove.
In Palestine the dove was a sacred bird, neither hunted nor eaten. Doves were special to Jews. Rabbis said the Spirit of God hovered like a dove over the chaos (Genesis 1:2), breathing order and beauty into it. Later a dove brought an olive leaf to Noah.
Jews saw in doves a picture of tenderness, innocence, graceful motion. These images are lovely, but still fail to convey the main beauty symbolized by a dove.
Because of their gentleness and courtship displays, plus their constant acts and calls of affection for one another, doves became obvious symbols of love. In the Song of Solomon, the lovers use the metaphor of the dove six times (1:15; 2:14; 4:1; 5:2,12; 6:9). The Spirit of God hovered over the chaos because of love. The dove bringing the olive leaf to Noah was a messenger of God=s love.
At Jesus= baptism, on Jordan=s banks, love was openly displayed. Mankind=s days of darkness and groping were ending. Jesus had come in love for all people.
This lovely scene at the Jordan allows us a glimpse into the nature of God. The dove not only represented God=s love for people in general, but also God=s love for Jesus in particular. At this public presentation of Jesus to the world, all three Persons of the Trinity manifested themselves. Angels handled the birth in Bethlehem, but God the Father and God the Holy Spirit handled this day. After thirty years of one-ness in separation we witness a reunion. The desire had been growing in intensity. Finally, the Father said, ASon, I am well pleased,@ and sent His words of love on wings of a dove.
The Holy Spirit was a vital part of this moment and of Jesus= ministry. By studying our text and other verses we see the Holy Spirit on Jesus was an:
1. Assurance. The Spirit encouraged Jesus by letting Him hear, AThou art My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased@ (Mark 1:10). This announcement came before any of Jesus= great public miracles. God was pleased with His Son because Jesus loved the Father and stayed clean.
2. Announcement. Others heard, AThis is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased@ (Matthew 3:17). Jesus did not have to blow His own horn. A person filled with the Spirit will not have to advertise. It will be obvious in their life. God will announce it for them. Moses did not know his own face was shining.
3. Anointment. Jesus said, AThe Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He hath anointed me to preach the Gospel to the poor@ (Luke 4:18). The power for Jesus= life came from the Holy Spirit. Christ was God, but emptied himself. He made Himself reliant on the Holy Spirit, and thereby becomes for us an example of how to live the Christian life effectively.
4. Abode. AThe Holy Spirit abode upon Him . . . remaining on Him@ (vv. 32-33). Israel hoped for a rod out of the stem of Jesse upon whom the Spirit of the Lord would rest (Isaiah 11:2). By a process not described, John saw the Holy Spirit remain on Jesus. The Latter=s was not a temporary inspiration, as with Old Testament prophets and judges. The Holy Spirit came to them from time to time, but rested on Jesus unchangeably.
This constant, uninterrupted supply of the Holy Spirit in Jesus= life makes the next point possible.
5. Allotment. The Holy Spirit was given to Jesus to be shared with others. He is the One who Abaptizeth with the Holy Ghost@ (v. 33b). Jesus contains the Holy Spirit without measure (John 3:34) and without fail (abode). From this infinite (the word Abaptism@ denotes an abundant supply) and dependable abundance we receive.
Baptism with water essentially had a negative significance. It pictured a cleansing from sin.
Baptism with the Spirit is positive. It entails bestowal of God Himself to enable us to live the God-life.
Christ not only fulfills the negative, taking away the sin of the world. He also performs the positive, baptizing with the Holy Ghost. Jesus died to be our Atoner, but lives to be our Baptizer. Without Holy Ghost baptism, the atonement remains a foundation with no building on it. Many have a foundation of salvation without a building of fulness on it. What a waste.
Jesus is Giver of the Father and the Holy Spirit. If we want more of the Father, we turn to Jesus. If we want more of the Holy Spirit, we turn to Jesus.
Praise Jesus, worship Jesus, adore Jesus, pray to Jesus, read about Jesus, imitate Jesus, love Jesus. If we stay close to Jesus, we won=t go wrong spiritually.