JOURNEYING WITH JESUS(Pt.3)

“Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John…As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him Inamorata well pleased”(Matthew 3:13,16-17 NIV).

Jesus put up his carpentry tools for the last time to move toward his public ministry. The silent years or hidden years are at an end. He is right at thirty years of age. The number thirty in the scriptures is a number often representative of maturity. It is time for Jesus to enter into his life calling and service to God,his Father. His journey here on earth has led him to his first act in acknowledging his call. This coincided with the ministry of his cousin,John, who was baptizing people at the Jordan river.

The Jordan River is ever a place in the scriptures that is the place of separation and crossing over into the new land. So it was fitting that Jesus would make as it were his public entrance at the Jordan. It was a time of revealing. John the baptist had truly been sent as a fore-runner to reveal the Lord’s Messiah. He did not know that Jesus was the One the Father was sending until the Holy Spirit rested upon him,like a dove from heaven.

What a responsibility was given to John to reveal the Christ of God. But he will not presume to know who the Father is indicating with the natural eye. Perhaps he remembered how the prophet Samuel almost anointed the wrong son among Jesse’s boys by looking upon appearances rather than God’s eye,looking at the heart.

Jesus out of submission and obedience caused the heavens to open above him and the Holy Spirit to descend upon him. John describes this momentous event this way,”I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain upon him…The one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit”(Jn. 1:32,33b). Surrender and obedience paved the way for the Holy Spirit to be manifest in our Lord’s life. “God gives him the Spirit without measure”(Jn. 3:34b).

Jesus understood the importance of not taking up ministry without the empowerment of Spirit from above. Later he will instruct his disciples in this same pattern, “I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high”(Lk. 24:49).  A call from God without the Spirit of his grace to fulfill it will only produce religion without life.  Your efforts on your best day with out the Holy Spirit’s empowerment is futile. It will never produce fruit for the kingdom of God. Although a lot of religious activity and zeal may be put forth  it will not advance God’s kingdom interest in the earth. By contrast, Jesus said, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses…”(Acts 1:8).

Jesus received one more thing at his baptism at the Jordan. He received the affirmation of his heavenly Father. “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased”. Jesus had performed no miracles; he had done no preaching or teaching. Nor had he gone to the Cross.  And yet a voice from heaven announces, “You are the beloved of God, my Son”. What affirmation! In a world where fatherlessness has become the order of the day, Jesus is affirmed by his Father;having only lived under the satisfied eye of God.

We need true fathers today in the land. They give us affirmation of our identity, purpose and destiny. Fathers tell us that we belong and that we are loved for who we are, not for what we can do for them. In a time of recovery we need the promise of Malachi to be manifest for this generation. “See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers”(Mal. 4:5-6a). The affirmation that our Lord Jesus receives was enough for him to confidently be led of the Spirit into the testing in the wilderness. Yes. He was able to face 40 lonely days, of weariness and hunger, while doing spiritual combat with the devil…coming out victoriously! How did he do it? The Father’s word of affirmation was a key to fortifying his inner man; agreeing only with the Word of God for his life and future. His journey was necessary to both set him apart to God and affirm publicly his true identity in order to be about the Father’s business in the earth.

Copyright© Walter Fletcher Jr., 2011. Permission is granted to reproduce this article free of charge, provided that it is not altered in its original form and content. Please direct all correspondence to walterfletcherjr@gmail.com

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