John 1:32 And John bore witness, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him.
John the Baptist was an amazing man who had a deep relationship with Jesus and also an amazing role in announcing Jesus’ first advent. John spent years, even decades in the wilderness eating the scroll (Old Testament) so much that he actual came to embody the passage from Isaiah 40:3-5 saying “…I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, prepare the way of the Lord…” From this encounter and personal revelation that he received from the Holy Spirit, John moved from the wilderness into the surrounding cities and started proclaiming that the peoples must repent and get ready to receive God’s Messiah, Jesus Christ.
Many listened to John, repented and came out to be baptized by him. John’s voice was unusually loud in an era where the Word of God was limited and hardly present at all. Prior to John’s ministry there was a time of separation that Bible chronicles as 400 years. During those 400 years there was no Word of God, no revelation, no divine activity, no supernatural dreams and no prophetic ministry until that eastern star broke Israel’s long night with the promise of God’s arrival in the form of a Man. It was this event that John was commanded to preach and declare to the nation of Israel.
But the passage we are looking at speaks about the time when the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus as He was being baptized by John in the Jordan River. John was instructed by the Holy Spirit that Whomever he physically seen the Holy Spirit descending upon and remaining he was to publicly announce that He was God’s Messiah, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. It’s interesting to note that the Holy Spirit came upon Jesus as a dove and upon the disciples in the upper room in Acts 2 as fire. This bothers some people as they try to make the Holy Spirit either a Dove or Fire. But in reality He is both, at the same time. In short, the Holy Spirit came upon Jesus as a dove representing His purity as the spotless One and upon the disciples as fire because of their need to be purified by God.
The truth is, the Holy Spirit isn’t a bird and He’s not a flame, He’s like a dove and He’s like a flame. The Bible clearly points out that He’s a Person having a mind (Romans 8:27), a will (1st Corinthians 12:11) and emotions (Colossians 1:8). He just doesn’t have a physically body, like the Son. But what’s interesting about doves is their great tenderness and sensitivity. In fact, Doves don’t have peripheral vision, which means they don’t see anything from the sides of their eyes. Doves only see what’s directly in front of them. Doves also only mate onetime in their lives. So if their mate dies, they will not mate again with another dove for until they die.
What this means to us, is that the Holy Spirit has a single eye for Jesus and He is faithful to us. In same way that we see the Spirit’s activity in Jesus’ life is how He is with us. He’s gentle, committed to Jesus and faithful. God the Holy Spirit’s primary mode of operation is tenderness towards us, though His activity is sometimes straightforward and even painful, everything He does is in love for Jesus and then for humanity. When we look at the Holy Spirit’s ministry in the life of Jesus, the Apostles and the disciples we receive confidence in how He will work both in us and through us. Nothing has changed, for in fact, He never changes, sleeps nor slumbers. He’s eternally alive, awake, glad hearted and eager to make Jesus known to you. Talk to Him now!
Holy Spirit, thank You for your gentleness with me. Thank You for your faithfulness to me. Thank You for all your unseen activity in my life and I ask that you would increase my awareness of Your nearness to me even now. I ask that you would give me grace to be faithful to You in the way that You are faithful to me. Help me to trust You, follow You and be with You where You are. You are for me, in Jesus Name! Help me to not fight against You, resist You and present a skeptical heart towards Your personality and Your ministry. You are God and I am not.