“In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, ‘ You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.’ “
“In those days…” They were without a doubt days that would change history. Calendars would determine their dates by the arrival of this man. Here another figure joins John at center stage but this man is the One of whom John spoke, the One whose sandals were more honorable than the prophet’s reputation.
Jesus leaves home. Few outside his immediate family have a clue to his future. Jesus has grown to become a man working hard in his father’s workshop. Hands roughened by years of working with wood are now destined to heal the sick, comfort the hurting and overturn man’s carnal ambitions. All his years at home were in preparation for a brief three and one half year ministry. Our culture demands instant results and often we demand them from unqualified men but one must ask, “What qualifies men to lead?” As we look to the Prime Example in Jesus it would seem quite natural for God to take His time in carefully molding His will and character into the lives of those who bear His name. Jesus was at it were, hidden for thirty years while God was preparing both His Son and those who would receive Him. Growth takes time, even for Jesus!
The day comes when he leaves his family and is guided to a river. He stands in line with families, children, aunts and uncles waiting to enter the waters. Others don’t recognize him but then it’s his turn. John looks towards the next candidate and recognizes his cousin. The Baptist knew what others did not. This was no ordinary man and certainly one that needed no repentance. Mathew describes the moment with a sense of hesitance on behalf of John but John will agree to Jesus’ request.
I wonder what went through John’s mind and his heart as he lowered his cousin into those gentle currents. Questions undoubtedly raced through his mind when suddenly the clouds began moving rapidly as though they were being torn apart by an invisible hand. Looking up it seemed Jesus could peer beyond the physical and see that innumerable host of angels gazing on as the Lamb of God fulfilled all righteousness. In plain view of those observing the Holy Spirit descended like a gently dove upon him. And then suddenly The Father spoke from heaven. His words were heard by all but understood by only a few. Perhaps some thought it was thunder but Jesus heard them clearly. What other men mistake as something of nature those who have ears to hear walk away with understanding. The Portal between heaven and earth literally stood before John!
Mathew the tax collector records it in the following way. “ This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” But Mark puts it more personal by saying, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
The Baptist may have seen the same thing but the message from heaven was not so much for others as it was for Jesus himself. One must consider that if YHWH would give such a clear testimony of Jesus’ sonship what more will He do to assure you that you are His?
The entrance and continuance for the believer in the Kingdom of God is not something that must be guessed for or wondered about. Jesus is fully capable of presenting Himself with such clarity that doubt is overcome by knowing. A voice may not break forth from heaven or a dove lite on your shoulder but that chest-pounding confirmation of the Holy Spirit will arrest your heart and settle you into the absolute confidence that you are his!
His baptism will be his inauguration into his work.
Messiah has come!
Now it begins!
9 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” (ESV)