Pastor Doug Stevens
The Leadership Connection
John 1:32-34 Then John said, “I saw the Holy Spirit descending like a dove from heaven and resting upon him. 33 I didn’t know he was the one, but when God sent me to baptize with water, he told me, ‘When you see the Holy Spirit descending and resting upon someone, he is the one you are looking for. He is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 I saw this happen to Jesus, so I testify that he is the Son of God.”
John the Baptist was as sincere a seeker as anyone who ever longed for a glimpse of God. He wanted only one thing: to see God, to see God at work in the world, to see God fulfilling His ancient Promise to make all things new.
That’s why John was baptizing people — his fellow Jews, these chosen people who had come to rely on their covenant status and had forgotten about the covenant purpose. They were to be the people of God, manifesting His character, and bringing light into a dark world. John’s baptism would serve notice, invite submission, and prepare them for entrance into the new covenant community.
For John, there could be no compromise, and no concern at all about whether his stern message of warning and urgent call to repentance would be well-received. He knew that presumption of favor and a lapse into a complacency of any kind must be challenged. That it would take a full forgiveness and a miraculous transformation in the lives of these people who had lost their identity and their way.
John’s hope was not in the response of the people who were drawn to this spectacle in the wilderness. His hope was in the appearance of the Lamb of God, the Son of God, the man who would renew these people by baptizing them with the Spirit of God. His water baptism anticipated the spiritual immersion brought by Jesus — the man on whom the heavenly dove descended.
John was thrilled when he recognized Him. Are you? Do you? Are you ready for the Spirit of God to overwhelm you?!
Prayer: Father, thank you for sending your Son to us — to release us from our guilt, to reconcile us to You, to baptize us with your Spirit so that we are empowered as your covenant people to live now in your Kingdom. Amen!