THE BIRD HAS LANDED
Luke wrote the gospel that bears his name and also The Acts of the Apostles. Particularly in his writings, we can trace the role of Holy Spirit at work causing bold proclamation.
I want to look at four verses that help us to understand where the boldness comes from. Without the power of the Spirit, how are we to take Jesus call to be proclaimers seriously?
Jesus was not always notorious. For the first thirty years, Jesus grew up and was not well known. Is there much known about his childhood beyond the few details recorded in the Gospels? The one time we hear of him speaking with boldness and authority is as a twelve year old conversing with the Temple leaders. They are astounded by this prodigy’s wisdom and yet eighteen more years would pass before they would hear from him again. So what prompts the change? Why does Jesus suddenly begin to open his mouth and behave like a prophet?
One day he’s a local carpenter and then he becomes a travelling proclaimer. Luke tells us about the transformative day.
Jesus was responding to the call for repentance that his cousin John was preaching. Now John was the prophet in the family tree. Scriptures record that he was filled with Holy Spirit while still in his mother’s womb. John spoke freely and boldly to the Jews, his own religious group. Today Jesus was responding to a riverside altar call.
Retrospectively, we may find it strange that Jesus would be baptized. We expect this from sinners, but not the sinless One. Perhaps this points to where our emphasis lies. We think about the repentance from sin more than the deeper truth of turning our full attention toward God. Jesus was not repenting of sin, but He was turning His full attention toward God. His baptism would mark the end of a focus on carpentry, family care and civic conformity. Jesus would now give all of his time and attention to the Heavenly Father he loved.
God responds to that kind of surrender. The Father is moved to interrupt normalcy and let His full affirmation be heard. God’s voice is peculiar. Some only heard thunder while others heard a clear articulation of the Father’s love.
And then, Holy Spirit appears in the form of a dove. From deep in the sky a bird descends and comes to rest on Jesus. This is not the habit of earthly birds toward human beings. A deep symbolic gesture from Heaven is expressed here. The third member of the Trinity is coming to join the Son. Immediately following, life takes on a dramatic shift for Jesus.