Archives
Tag Cloud
: Mothers Abandonment Abomination of Desolation Abortion Abraham’s Bosom Abuse Accounting Activism Adoption Adultery Affection Affliction Afterlife Alliances Altar America Analogy Angels Anger Anointing Apologetics Apostasy Apostles Armor of God Ascension Ashamed Atonement Authority Baal Babylon Bad Baptism Belief Betrayal Bible Bitterness Blasphemy Blessing Blessings Blindness Boasting Body of Christ Bondage Book of Life Borders Born Again Bottomless Pit Bride Bride of Christ Bridegroom Calling Capital Punishment Carnal Celebration Character Childbirth Children Children of God Chosen Christ Christian Life Christians Christmas Church Circumstances Civil Disobedience Clay Cleansing Comfort Commands Communion Community Comparison Compassion Complacency Complaining Conception Condemnation Conduct Confidence Conflict Conformity Confrontation Confusion Connection Conscience Consequences Contentment Conviction Cornerstone Correction Cost Counsel Courage Covenant Coveting Creation Creator Crisis Cross Crowns Crucifixion Culture Curse Darkness David Day of the Lord Death Deceit Deception Decisions Defense Delegation Demon Demon Possession Demons Denial Dependency Design Desolation Desperation Destruction Devil Direction Disaster Discernment Disciple Disciples Discipleship Discipline Discontentment Discouragement Disease Disgrace Disputes Distraction Diversity Divine Division Doctrine Double Fulfillment Doubt Drought Drugs Duties Duty Earth Earthly Earthquakes Easter Edom Education Elders Elect Emmaus Emotions Employment Encouragement End Times Endurance Enemies Enemy Environment Environmentalism Equality Equipped Eternal Eternal Life Eternity Evangelism Everlasting Life Evil Evolution Exaltation Exalted Exclusion Excuses Exorcism Expectations Eyes Failure Fairness Faith Faithful Faithful Servant Faithfulness False Christs False Doctrine False Gods False Prophet False Religion False Religions Family Famine Fasting Father Father’s Day Fathers Favoritism Fear Fear of the Lord Feasts Feasts of the Lord Fellowship Fig Tree Finances Fire First Coming First Resurrection Firstborn Flesh Flock Folly Foolishness Foreigner Foreknown Forgiveness Fornication Forsaken Foundation Freedom Friends Friendship Fruit Fruit of the Spirit Fruitfulness Future Gentiles Gentle George Wood Giving Glorified Body Glory God God’s Word Godliness Godly God's Will Good Good Shepherd Good Works Gospel Gospels Government Grace Gratitude Great Commission Greatness Grief Growth Guilt Hades Hardship Harvest Hate Hatred Healing Heart Heaven Heavenly Hedonism Hell Help Herod Hidden Holiness Holy Holy Spirit Home Homosexuality Honor Hope Hopelessness Humility Husband Hypocrisy Idolatry Ignorance Image Immanuel Immigration Impossibility Incarnation Individuals Indulgences Inheritance Injustice Inner Battle Instructions Insults Integrity Intercession Intermediate State Israel Jerusalem Jesus Jewish Temple John the Baptist Joy Judas Judgment Judgment Day Judgments Justice Justification Justify Key Keys Kids Kindness King Kingdom Kingdom of God Kingdom of Heaven Knowledge Lake of Fire Lamp Law Law of the Lord Lawlessness Leader Leaders Leadership Leftism Legalism Leprosy Lies Life Life-Span Light Like-minded Lord Lost Love Lowly Loyalty Lust Lusts Luxury Malachi Manipulation Marriage Martyrdom Martyrs Mary Master Materialism Maturity Meditation Men Mentoring Mercy Messiah Metaphor Millennium Mind Mind of Christ Minister Ministry Miracle Miracles Mission Mocking Money Mothers Mystery Nations Natural Natural Gifts Naturalism Nature Nazareth Near-Far Fulfillment Necessities New Covenant New Earth New Jerusalem New Man New Testament Obedience Obstacles Obstructions Offense Old Covenant Old Man Old Nature Old Testament Omnipresence Omniscience One Mind Outcast Pagan Pain Palm Sunday Parable Parables Paradise Paranormal Parenting Passion Passover Path Patience Patriotism Peace Peer Pressure Pentecost People of God Perception Perfect Persecution Perseverance Persistence Personal Testimonies Perspective Perversion Pestilence Peter Pharisees Philosophy Piety Pilate Politics Poor Position Possession Possessions Posture Power Praise Prayer Preach Preaching Preparation Pride Priority Privilege Prodigal Promise Proof Prophecy Prophet Prophets Prosperity Protection Protestant Reformation Proverbs Providence Provision Punishment Purgatory Purity Purpose Questions Racism Rapture Reason Rebellion Rebuke Reconciliation Redeemer Redemption Refuge Regeneration Rejection Rejoicing Relationship Relationships Reliability Religion Remember Remnant Renewal Repentance Reputation Resolve Rest Restoration Resurrection Revelation Revenge Revival Reward Rich Riches Ridicule Righteous Righteousness Rights Riot Risk Rivalry Robbery Roman Catholic Church Rule Sabbath Sacred Sacrifice Saint Salvation Sanctification Sarcasm Satan Savior Schemes Science Scoffers Scripture Seasons Second Coming Secret Seed Seek Self Self Control Self-centered Self-Control Selfish Ambition Self-Righteous Servant Servant-Leadership Servants Serve Service Serving Sexual Immorality Sexual Sin Sexuality Shame Share Sharing She’ol Shepherd Sickness Signs Signs and Wonders Simplicity Sin Sincerity Singing Singleness Sinners Slavery Sober Society Sojourner Sojourners Son Son of God Son of Man Sons of God Sorrow Soul Source Sovereignty Speech Spirit Spirit Realm Spirits Spiritual Spiritual Battle Spiritual Birth Spiritual Death Spiritual Gifts Spiritual Growth Spiritual Rulers Spiritual Warfare Stewardship Storms Strength Stress Strife Stumbling Block Submission Suffering Supernatural Supper Surrender Syncretism Tags: Patience Taxes Teacher Teaching Teachings Tears Technology Temple Temptation Temptations Terminal Illness Test Testimony Testing Tests Thankfulness Thanksgiving The Curse The Day of The Lord The End The Fall The Grave The Holy Spirit The Law The Way The Word The World Theology Throne Time of Visitation Times of the Gentiles Tithing Tongues Tradition Tragedy Transfiguration Transformation Traps Treachery Treasure Tree Tree of Life Trial Trials Tribulation Trifles Trinity Triumphal Triumphal Entry Trouble Trust Truth Unbelievers Uncertainty Unity Unpardonable Sin Utopia Value Victory Vigilance Vindication Virtue Virtues Visiting Ministries Voice of God Volunteer War Warning Warnings Wars Watching Water Baptism Water of Life Weary Wicked Wickedness Widows Wife Wineskins Wisdom Witness Witnesses Witnessing Women Word of God Word of the Lord Works World World View Worry Worship Worth Wrath Yahweh Yeast YHWH Yoke Zion

Weekly Word

Entries in Rest (3)

Tuesday
Jan292019

When Our Tank Is Empty

Matthew 11:27-30.  This sermon was preached by Pastor Marty Bonner on January 27, 2019.

Running on empty is a metaphor that uses the image of a vehicle that is nearly out of fuel.  It can be picturing a physical aspect of a person who is not eating right and or sleeping enough.  However, it also can picture something that happens spiritually in our life, regardless of how much good food and quality sleep we get.  Christians can find themselves feeling empty even though they still have faith in Jesus and are trying to live for Him. 

Part of this is just our humanity.  We are frail and will have such moments, but we are not intended to remain stuck in that situation.  God has provided a way for us to fill up our tank, so to speak.  I don’t want to make this a crass and simplistic answer.  However, it is true that we can lose sight of where our strength lies.

So let’s look at our passage today.

We need the rest that only Jesus can give

In many ways the call of Jesus to come unto him is the call to sinners who haven’t heard the truth, or who have, but haven’t yet responded in faith towards Christ.  He is calling to those who are harassed and beaten down, without strength to go on, and offering hope.  His way is much easier on our soul than the ways of our own making and the world around us.

However, believers can never think that this call is no longer to us, since we have responded in faith towards Christ.  This same call is the echo of the Holy Spirit in the heart of God’s people every day and everywhere.  It is an echo of that first call to which we responded, reminding us not to go it alone and forge our own way.  If we “soldier on” trying to be a good Christian in the strength of our initial salvation then we are going to burn out spiritually.

So let’s talk about our salvation.

Understanding the salvation that Jesus is offering and taking hold of it is compared to resting.  It clearly means a rest for your inner self.  Be careful that you do not let the Gospel become some version of this.  Come join our group, follow this list of do’s and don’ts, and God will be happy with you.  Such an offer is not that of Christ’s.  The true Gospel is that the Son of God has joined our group (humanity).  He has satisfied all the requirements of God the Father and has paid the price for our sin and rebellion.  If we will simply yield to him as our Lord by putting our faith in Him (His actions and His teachings) then we have eternal life welling up within us.  The true Gospel removes the focus from me trying to measure up enough in order to be acceptable and it places it upon staying close to Jesus.  I don’t need to measure up, I just need to keep clinging to Jesus by faith.  Good News, He also holds onto us.  Faith in Christ is how we overcome this world and its temptations that pull us away from our Father in Heaven.

Thus, Jesus uses the image of a yoke.  Here we see that He is offering far more than just knowing that we are eternally safe.  It is very much about changing masters and the expectations that cling to our hearts and minds.  The yokes that the world puts upon us and the ones that we put on ourselves are all the obligations and expectations that connect us to the world.  They become very heavy.  In fact, they are impossibly heavy.  Thus the phrase, “I can’t breathe,” could be a metaphorical statement of life in this world.  It can become so heavy that you can’t even draw a spiritual breath. 

Some in this world believe that the answer is to toss off all yokes including Christ’s.  However, this is impossible.  Our flesh is a creature of servitude by nature (cue Bob Dylan song, “You’re gonna have to serve somebody”).  It is the default setting of humanity.  Even if we manage to break off all attachments to people and society outside of ourselves, we will still end up serving our own fleshly desires.  Believe me, they can be the worst of task masters.  The only way to be freed from it is to get a stronger master who is not interested in making you a slave.  Yes, we serve Christ and are His servants.  However, in so doing we are made free because He wants us to be free.

So does this mean a Christian should ignore any obligations they may have in this world?  No, it doesn’t.  You see, Jesus told His disciples to pay their taxes and be good citizens of the world.  However, they were to do so to please Him, not the government.  When we quit trying to please everyone, self included, and only serve Jesus, our soul is finally allowed to breathe and the breath it takes in is life itself. Yet, He helps us to truly serve the world around us without the insufferable, crushing weight of their expectations.

This is not intended to be a onetime thing.  We need to come back to Jesus continually and find the rest of simply serving Him.  When we lose focus of this truth, we become harassed by all the obligations that we feel.  Just as you need sleep every night in order to be any good the next day, so we need to rest in Jesus continually in order to have any hope of accomplishing something.  This is His gift to us, rest.  Let us take hold of it.  It is one of the reasons why many believers feel like their tank is empty.

We need the food and water that only Jesus can give us

The phrase in verse 29, “learn from me,” involves us receiving from Christ.  This receiving is not just a mystical, intuitive recharge.  Rather, it is a rational, informing of our heart and mind of the Truth of God.  We can’t just learn about Jesus, we must truly learn from Him.  There are things that only He can teach you.  At best a good, spiritual teacher can only point us to the truth, but we must come into relationship with that truth in order for it to truly be ours.  It is the Spirit of Christ that helps this to happen. 

So how does this spiritual learning happen?  In 1 Corinthians 10:3-4 the Apostle Paul compares Christ to Spiritual Food and Spiritual Drink.  Just as we need to rest daily, so we need food and water daily.  This is where we get down to earth in our walk with Christ.  How do I learn from Christ?  It starts with the Word of God.  It gives us food for our spirit.  The Bible compares the Word to food, calling some parts of it milk and other parts of it solid food (1 Corinthians 3:2; Hebrews 5:12).  We cannot ignore God’s Word and think that we will be mystically fed by Christ.  Yet, we cannot rely only on spiritual teachers to be our only source of hearing the Word of God.  As a spiritual baby we may need help to know which parts of the word will be easier for us to digest, but at some point we have to take ownership of this need of our to feed spiritually upon the Truth of God (Which is only a literal form of our Lord Himself).  Believers need to be in the Word and seeking Christ for wisdom through it.  When we don’t understand something, it is fine to talk with other people, but ultimately we will only learn it from Christ Himself. 

Of course your flesh will be resistant to spending time in the Word, meditating on it, and conversing with the Lord about it.  However, we need it nonetheless.  Without this in our lives, we will find ourselves trying to run on an empty tank.

It also involves more than just reading the Word or spending X amount of minutes asking God for things.  Fellowship with God through prayer enables the Word to strengthen us spiritually.  It is easy to let our prayers remain at a level of simply asking God to do things for us.  However, the Holy Spirit uses the difficulties of life to call us up to a higher interaction with God (this does not mean we quit praying for His help in matters).  Just as you would spend time talking about your day with a spouse, or friend, even more so we need to talk with the Lord.  This spiritual interaction, fueled by spending time in God’s Word and trying to live life as He has shown us, gives us a place where God teaches us.  In that holy place He gives us strength and vitality that we need. 

We all need spiritual replenishment and spiritual refreshing, and that every day.  Yet, God has provided Himself as the means to that end.  Don’t settle for only having knowledge about Jesus and carrying Him around like a lucky rabbit’s foot.  Instead take time this week to rest in Christ and draw strength from His Word through the holy fellowship He calls you into, instead of telling yourself that you don’t have time for it.  He is there for you, waiting to fill you with Him strength and His life.

Empty Tank audio

Tuesday
Apr102018

Rest for the Weary

Matthew 11:28-30.  This sermon was preached by Pastor Marty on April 8, 2018.

Last week we talked about how Jesus offered himself to Israel as their king, but not in a way that would satisfy their flesh.  The same is true to all who are invited to come to Jesus.  The heart of God is to invite us into relationship with Himbut it is not in a way that satisfies our flesh.  He will not stop calling us to Himself until we leave this earth.

So we see in this passage a wonderful message that reminds us that God wants to give us rest for our weary souls.  Are you weary in this life?  Listen to what Jesus has to say in these verses and then follow His wisdom in order to find peace.

Jesus gives His invitation.

When Jesus started his public ministry, He went out of His way to be available to the world around Him.  In fact at times he became so hard pressed by the crowds and multitudes which gathered that his mother and brothers worried about Him and thought that He should quit and come home.  In verse 28 Jesus gives an invitation and it is about more than following Him around the Sea of Galilee and seeing a miracle.  He is giving a spiritual invitation that must be responded to in physical and spiritual ways.

Today, when we hear about the invitation of Jesus we may respond by reading the Bible, finding a group of disciples to join and praying.  However, this can only go so far if there is not a real spiritual response to the call of Jesus at the foundation of it.  Thus it takes both.  If a true spiritual work has been done in my heart then it will give external evidences in our life.

It might be easy to read the Bible and think that Jesus is much better than the God of the Old Testament.  This would be a mistake.  If you take Jesus seriously, He is telling us that He is the perfect representative of the heart of God.  He only spoke and did what the Father had given Him to say and do.  Jesus is calling us to Himself on behalf of God the Father.  As the Son of God who has been sent to save us from the tyranny of this world, He has full authority from the Father to give this invitation.  Remember the picture from this passage.  When God looks upon us, He does not see pitiful losers that aren’t worth the time of day.  Instead He sees people who are struggling under heavy loads that He did not make for them, enslaved by systems that He did not intend for them,  simply lost and captive.  So the Father sends Jesus to call us back from the ledge.

The invitation that Jesus gives is to come to Him.  He is not calling us to a particular denomination, or pastor, but to Himself.  The relationship is first and foremost a relationship with Jesus.  Everyday that we wake up needs to be a new day in which we hear the voice of Jesus calling us to Himself, and respond by drawing near to Him.  God does not want to be distant to you.  

Though the call of Jesus is technically for anyone who hears it, Jesus puts a choice before us.  Much like the “whosoever” of John 3:16, Jesus leaves it up to us if we will come to Him or not.  Bear with me on this.  He brings up the issue of weariness.  His call is to whosoever is weary.  This puts the hearer in the position of thinking, “Am I weary?”  Of course everyone who is not in relationship with Jesus is weary, but not all will admit it.  This is the spiritual part of the call.  It is a challenge to our mind and heart.  When I hear the words does the conviction of the Holy Spirit stir up my heart to admit that this is me?  In fact even followers of Jesus sometimes grow weary when they forget that the call is to a relationship with Him rather than a list of duties to fulfill.

Are you weary?  Jesus invites you to come to Him today and every day afterwards.  The invitation of God has always been to the weary.  Isaiah 50:4 says, “The Lord God has given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him who is weary.  He awakens me morning by morning.  He awakens my ear to hear as the learned.”

He wants to replace our yoke.

Although Jesus technically tells us that He will give us rest when we come to Him, he uses the metaphor of a yoke to drive the point home.  A yoke was a wooden or metal harness that was used to connect a beast of burden to a load.  This picture reveals much about what Jesus is trying to show us here.  It involves us being a beast of burden or a slave to things in which we are laboring for another.  The yoke represents the obligations that one has in life.

When a person is born into the world, many obligations are put upon them.  As they learn to speak their parents begin to put obligations upon them.  At some point society itself will assert the individual’s obligations to it.  Add marriage, religion, nations, and especially our plans and obligations that we put upon ourselves, and you now have an amazing amount of “yokes” that an individual picks up in life.  All the different people we are trying to satisfy.  Even the person who says that they don’t care what anybody thinks still finds themselves yoked to the competing desires of their own flesh.  Thus we are all loaded down with all these claims of duty that practically pull us apart.  

Notice that Jesus has a switch in mind.  He is not wanting to add His yoke to the lot.  Rather, He will remove all those yokes off of your neck and only put His upon you.  Now someone might say that this is not right.  We shouldn’t have any yokes, but be free.  The problem is what I mentioned earlier.  What happens to a person in this life is that they end up a slave to the competing desires of their own flesh.  It is only by accepting the Lordship of Jesus that we can find true freedom, although that sounds contradictory.  Our only hope is to switch masters.

Remember that Jesus is the Lord of lords and King of kings.  So he has complete authority to tell us to quit trying to please everybody else (especially our self) and simply pull the load that He has for us.  He nullifies all the obligations that we or others place upon ourselves and says, “Let me be your master.”  Does that mean we will suddenly quit fulfilling our obligations to the people in our life?  To the contrary, people who become followers of Jesus are often better in these areas.  Christ helps us to be a better child, father, mother, employee, citizen etc.  Instead of trying to please people we now focus on pleasing Jesus.  When Jesus is your Lord, it becomes difficult for the world or the devil to manipulate us any more.  A person who has come to Christ has had their life simplified and clarifies the real reason why we are to love one another.  I am to love you because Christ asks me to do so.  Yes, even the world loves those who love them.  But such a quid pro quo world ends up with a soul full of weariness and in bondage.  Let Jesus be the teacher who shows you what your true purpose is, not another person, or even one you make up on your own.

It is to your benefit to come to Him.

Jesus knows that it is not a very tempting invitation to take on a yoke.  Thus He points out that it is to our benefit to take Him up on this offer.  You see, He is a better master than any other.  First of all, He is gentle.  Obligations and duties become impersonal and focused on the load that must be pulled.  In so doing we can even force ourselves to pull loads that are too heavy and end up damaging ourselves.  Sometimes churches make this mistake.  They can be all excited and encouraging to a new person who joins the group.  But, then over time the expectation for you to get in and help pull the load can start to corrupt the situation.  I am not saying it always happens, but that it is a common error.  The real question is not about whether a person is pulling the load we think they should be pulling, but if they are listening to Jesus and doing what He is saying.  Jesus is far more gentle than we are, even on ourselves.  In fact, I have found that people can be extremely harsh on themselves.  Jesus is gentle and will not overwork you, heartlessly whipping you to get the task done.  The truth is that Jesus simply wants us.  He wants our heart.  He wants to have a relationship with us.  

Secondly, Jesus is lowly or humble in heart.  The masters of this world are proud and full of themselves because they are blinded by the devil.  The devil is the ultimate taskmaster who cares not for those who toil under him.  Like Israel in the slavery of Egypt, Jesus comes out of the middle of the wilderness, and while he calls us to himself, He also says to the spiritual powers of this world, “Let my people go!”  Who has ever heard of a slave being able to pick their own master.  God gives us that authority because of Jesus.

Another benefit to taking the yoke of Jesus upon yourself is that He gives rest to our souls.  Nothing sounds sweeter to the weary and heavy burdened person than rest.  But notice that Jesus is not so much concerned with physical rest as He is about spiritual rest.  Throughout our life as we choose to go our own way, we give up an increasing amount of our soul until we find ourselves harassed and in bondage.  Jesus sets us free on the inside, which is rest to our soul.  This will often make a difference on our experience in life.  However, even then the key is not trying to get a certain something out of Jesus in this life.  Rather it is about having rest and peace in our soul.

Like Noah, we find ourselves working on the load that He has given us, while the whole world around us scoffs at our insanity.  The world doesn’t understand what we are doing.  Thus it mocks and ridicules the faithful believer.  It is this way because the world doesn’t understand or know Jesus.

Ultimately, God cares about us and wants to give us rest in our inner person.  Jeremiah 6:16 says, “Thus says the Lord: ‘Stand in the way and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it;  then you will find rest for your souls.  But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’”  The wise and sophisticated of Israel back then were like the wise and sophisticated of the world today.  They are always coming up with new paths and reasons why to disregard the Creator and His proven word.  Yet, they will never come up with anything that is better than what Jesus is offering.  In the end they just craft a new and improved form of tyranny.  So let me ask you again, “Are you weary?”

Rest for the Weary Audio

Tuesday
Sep242013

Let the Spirit Descend

Today we are going to continue discovering the True Jesus as we look at His water baptism and the signs from God following it.  In Luke 3:21-22 we are given a very brief account of the baptism of Jesus.  Luke focuses on the signs that were given at the baptism.  However, in the other gospels we are able to pick up other important details of this event.

We Resist The Holy Spirit

In Matthew 3:14 we are told that when Jesus came to John in order to be baptized, John tried to prevent him.  Now it is obvious that the wicked will resist the Spirit of God and His leading.  And, we can see how even those who claim to know Him can resist where He is leading (i.e. Pharisees, and Sadducees).  Yet, here we see that even those who are closest to the Lord can let their own thoughts and flesh get in the way of where God is leading.  Yes, John means well.  And, yes, what He says is true.  Jesus doesn’t need to be baptized as a means of repentance.  And John is the one who needs baptized by Jesus.  However, his mistake is in his conclusion.  We often make the mistake of good intentions.  We use human reasoning that begins with biblical truths, but then we err in our conclusions.  If Jesus truly is the Messiah, and the one who is so intimately involved with God’s Spirit that He would baptize people in the Spirit, then we should listen to him and not vice versa.

Good intentions and biblical reasoning does not always choose best.  We see this with Peter as Jesus was approaching the cross.  Peter’s reasoning cannot accept that Jesus should be killed and so he tries to prevent Jesus from believing such a fate.  However, Jesus rebukes him and points out that he is concerned with selfish reasons and not concerned about what God wants.  The sooner we can discover that we simply need to follow Jesus rather than instructing Jesus the better we will be.  In fact immediately after telling Peter he was wrong, Jesus then told his disciples that if they wanted to follow Him they would have to pick up their own cross and follow him (i.e. not only am I going to die, but you need to also). 

John is falling into this same trap.  In fact it might even send the wrong message to have Jesus baptized.  Some may think he needs repentance.  Yet, the Father and Son had worked this out in eternity past.  Let’s look at the response to John Jesus gave in Matthew 3:15, “Permit it to be so now.  For thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.”    Jesus didn’t rebuke John, but he did correct him.  This was not a theological debate, it was the plan of God. Pause and think about that for a moment.  Don’t we often have theological debates with God when we don’t things are headed in the right direction?  But the issue is not really about theology, but rather what is God doing.  In fact our theology should have room for this: He is God and I am not.  Therefore He will do the planning and I will do the following.

Jesus used the term “fitting.”  The best illustration I can use of this is the difference between a schematic blue print and a painting of a cathedral.  God always has a blueprint that is exact and follows certain realities and Truth.  However, He is also an artist.  And, art is not so much about rules as it is about the character and imagination of the one doing it.  Jesus being baptized was not theologically necessary, but it was an artistic flourish that was “fitting” or perfect!  It was an act of beauty in which the Father determines to reveal the messiah in an act of humility.  It also is fitting for the one who would later say pick up your cross to lead his disciples.  So here Jesus walks the path that actually leads to himself and it begins with public humility and surrender to God’s way of salvation.  Jesus was less concerned with his reputation and more concerned with our need for him.

Thus as it is fitting for Jesus to embrace the Father’s plan of revealing who He was during a water baptism, so it is fitting for us to submit to Jesus and the leading of the Holy Spirit in our life.  We have to be careful of an attitude and mentality that only does what is necessary or fits the blueprint that we think God should be following.  It is a signature trait of God’s that he doesn’t just do what is right.  He often blows on past what is right and does what is jaw-dropping, amazingly, beautiful, fitting, and perfect!

John didn’t understand the why, but he did understand the who, and so he relents.  If we too will relent and trust God, He will reveal the beautiful things that He is doing in our lives as well.

Confirmed With Heavenly Signs

Now let’s look at what John the Disciple had to say about this event.  In John 1:33-34, we are given a look behind the curtain from John the Baptist.  John says that initially he didn’t know who the Messiah was for sure.  But God had told him to go forth baptizing and when he saw the Spirit descend on a man and remain with him that would be the Anointed One.  So Jesus is not just the Messiah who would save Israel, but He is also the One on whom the Spirit rests.  John was actually baptizing for two reasons.  First, he baptized to prepare people for the messiah.  Second, he baptized so that God could reveal who the Messiah was. 

John testifies that he saw the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove come down and land upon Jesus.  But then he recognized that the Spirit stayed upon Jesus.  Just in case John would miss this, God confirms the sign by a voice from heaven.  “You are My beloved Son.  In You I am well pleased.”  These two heavenly signs were enough for John to declare that Jesus was the messiah.  They are powerful signs by themselves.  But remember John was told in advance what he would see.  John was convinced and gave himself to convincing his followers that Jesus was the messiah. 

Yet, notice how John refers to Jesus, “Behold the Lamb of God.”  John knew the Scriptures and recognized that Jesus didn’t just come to deliver Israel from the Romans.  Rather He came to deal with their greater enemy: sin.  He was the lamb that God provided as prophesied by Abraham on the mount with Isaac.  He was here to take away the sins of the world.

The Spirit Rests On Jesus

Let’s end by focusing on the Spirit remaining or resting upon Jesus.  Isaiah spoke of the Messiah in these terms in Isaiah 11:2 when he said that the Spirit of the Lord would rest upon Him.  Now we have several images operating here that symbolize something powerful.  So I will do my best to tie it all together.

First, notice the dove.  The dove is given as the symbol of the Holy Spirit coming down upon Jesus.  Later Jesus connects the dove with innocence or purity.  “Be wise as serpents and as innocent as doves.”  The dove is also connected with the Great Flood and Noah.  After God had poured out His judgment upon the earth, the dove was sent out to see if there was any life, any place it could rest itself.  This image of a pure innocent dove flapping all over the earth looking for any sign of life on which it may rest is anchored in this account for a reason.  It demonstrates the heart of God.  Even in judgment His heart and hope is to find those upon whom he can land, and rest, and with whom He can commune and have relationship.  Just as the devil goes to and fro throughout the earth like a lion seeking whom he may devour, so the Holy Spirit goes to and fro throughout the earth like a dove seeking on whom He may rest.  This helps us to understand Jesus and His role.  He is that lone olive branch that was finally found by the Holy Spirit.  And, because Jesus has been given the Spirit without measure, He in turn immerses those who believe in Him within that same Spirit.  We can become a resting place of the Spirit, not because we had life in and of ourselves, but because we have come to Jesus and received life through Him.  In fact, the Spirit is life.  Let the Spirit descend in your life.  As poetic as it may sound, you will find the Life that created the universe residing in your soul and leading you in ways that won’t always make sense, but they will end in beauty.

Spirit Descend Audio