The Christian living site of Pastor Jim Piper, Jr.

Christians should be known as gentle people among other things...

One day Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee, and John baptized him in the Jordan River. 10 As Jesus came up out of the water, he saw the heavens splitting apart and the Holy Spirit descending on him[a] like a dove. 11 And a voice from heaven said, “You are my dearly loved Son, and you bring me great joy.”


Just nine verses in we get a glimpse of the community of God - the Trinity as we call it. The descent of the Spirit, the Voice from the heavens, and the Son on earth. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. If John's baptism was one of repentance, was Jesus asking for forgiveness? No. Jesus, the mediator between men and God was identifying with the plight of humankind. If he did not identify with us, we could never have identified with him in his holiness.

What a wonderful picture we have of peace in these few short verses. Jesus was always guided by the Spirit but this event seems to stop time and allow all of us to peer into the mystery of God. God is on a mission to redeem mankind. Not only will that be embodied and carried out by Jesus, it is to be a model for all of us who desire to live a life of ministry. Notice the symbol of the dove. It points to sympathy and gentleness.

The Spirit is given to each of us as we submit ourselves to His baptism - we receive power for our work as well as our character. Overall, the ministry is to be carried out in gentleness and unity. Gentleness is a different country than weakness. Gentleness comes from a place of strength. It knows no threat. Too many believers today feel threatened. I think they believe we are already in heaven and have forgotten the rotten or at least avoid to look at it.

I'm happy to say that I know many gentle believers; unfortunately, I must also say I have come to know many who do not live gentle lives. But before any of us rush to point our finger, should we not confess at least moments of condemnation, destructive words spoken, and actions with rotten motive?

Well, here is the beginning of Jesus' ministry and the first clear lesson we can see and apply is that the Holy Spirit is the secret of effective service.



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