So far we have studied that Jesus Christ is God incarnate, that through him grace and truth came, and that He is the Lamb of God, who took away the sin of the world. In the previous lesson we stopped at John chapter 1 verse 31. Today we will read verses 32 to 34.
“And John testified, saying, “I have seen the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven, and He remained upon Him. And I did not recognize Him, but He who sent me to baptize in water said to me, ‘He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.’ And I myself have seen, and have testified that this is the Son of God.” (John 1:32-34 NASB).
John the Baptist was the one who baptized the Lord Jesus in the waters of the Jordan. Immediately after baptism, the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus in the physical form of a dove. This is confirmed by the evangelist Matthew:
“After He was baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and settling on Him, and behold, a voice from the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:16-17 NASB).
I do not know if you have noticed, but this passage is an eloquent illustration of the trinity of God or the Holy Trinity: the Lord Jesus in the flesh, the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove, and God the Father speaking from heaven.
You may be wondering why it was necessary for John to baptize Jesus. There is nothing mystical about this baptism. Unlike the Jews who came to be baptized by John, confessing their sins in preparation for the encounter with their Savior, the Lord Jesus was without sin. His baptism was a public testimony of His person and marked the beginning of His work, which lasted 3 years.
The most important detail, however, in the statement of John the Baptist is that the Lord Jesus is the One who baptizes with the Holy Spirit. John makes this very clear. But what does it mean that He baptizes with the Holy Spirit? To understand this, I invite you to move into the future, in the book of Acts, chapter 1. The action in this chapter takes place 3 years after John’s baptism. After his resurrection, Jesus spent 40 more days on earth with his disciples, teaching them about God’s Kingdom. And this is what Jesus said to his disciples in Acts 1, verses 5 and 8, just before His ascension into heaven:
“for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” So, when they had come together, they began asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time that You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” But He said to them, “It is not for you to know periods of time or appointed times which the Father has set by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and Samaria, and as far as the remotest part of the earth.” (Acts 1:5-8 NASB).
Even 10 days after Jesus ascended to heaven, the disciples were baptized with the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. Read by yourself in Acts chapter 2 how this event took place. The fact is, when they were baptized with the Holy Spirit, the disciples received the POWER to CONFESS the Lord Jesus before men, beginning with Israel and ending with the ends of the earth. It is also natural that they should not have been able to reach the ends of the earth during their lifetime, because the commission given by the Lord Jesus was not limited to them, but also to all who were to be baptized with the Holy Spirit and to become His disciples.
But how does a man receive the Holy Spirit today? In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians we read:
“In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of the promise, who is a first installment of our inheritance, in regard to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.” (Ephesians 1:13-14 NASB).
In order to receive the Holy Spirit, or as Paul puts it – to be sealed with the Holy Spirit, it is necessary for man to hear the gospel and believe it with all his heart. When a man decides to follow the Lord Jesus, God pours into his heart the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit is a guarantee of eternal inheritance. This man becomes redeemed by the blood of the Lord Jesus, and God guarantees him the inheritance of heaven with all the saints.
“and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (Romans 5:5 NASB).
Let us pray now and if you are not yet baptized with the Holy Spirit, make the decision today to follow the Lord Jesus so that you too will be sealed with the Holy Spirit.
“Our father who is in heaven. Thank you for sending the Lord Jesus into this world to die for my sins and redeem me. Forgive all my sins. I confess with my mouth that Jesus is Lord and I believe in my heart that You raised Him from the dead. I make the firm decision today to follow you and be Your disciple. Baptize me with the Holy Spirit so that I may also inherit the Kingdom of God. Amen!”
If you prayed with this prayer, let me know how I can help you to follow the Lord Jesus Christ practically.
May God bless you!
Translated by Nicoleta Vicliuc