Friday, July 25, 2014

ICF Devotional

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 I am well pleased.
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.
Matthew 3:16-4:1

            Time has passed since we last heard of Jesus.  He was a twelve year old boy, sitting at the feet of the Rabbis asking questions.  (Luke 2:41-52)  Now around the age of thirty, Jesusministry begins when John baptizes Him. 
            Mathew gives us a little glimpse into the scene that took place at the Jordan River.  People had traveled long distances to hear John preach.  To show friends and family their inner choice to repent, they stepped into the water and John dunked them down, baptizing them.  Then Jesus stepped up.  John and Jesus knew one another.  They were related and had probably played together as children.  Baptism is an intimate experience.  You step close to the pastor who holds you in an embrace.  You give up control as the pastor leans you back into the water and dunks you under.  The strong arms of the pastor lift you up as the water rolls off your body.  John was reluctant at first.  He knew Jesus was the Son of God, the promised Messiah.  In that intimate space where they were eye to eye John looks at Jesus and says, I need to be baptized by you.  I can feel Johns discomfort.  John knew he needed the promised Savior just as all the people at the river did.  Jesus put John at ease with a confident reply of This is right. 
            As John pulled Jesus out of the water everything changed.  Heaven opened and the Holy Spirit descended in the form of a dove and landed on Jesus.  Then a voice came from heaven and said , This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.  Jesus was no longer a baby in a manger or a young boy sitting at the feet of the Rabbis.  Jesus was now an adult beginning His ministry.  
            The very next thing that happens is a response to the Holy Spirit.  Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert.   This concept really struck me.  When the Holy Spirit enters our lives He is not inactive.
            Immediately the Holy Spirit led Jesus in a direction.  Jesus started His ministry here on earth with the power of the Holy Spirit directing His actions.  Jesus followed where the Spirit was leading even though it was a very difficult place, the desert.  It is vital to follow.  Jesus did not know what would happen over the next forty days.  Jesus had to trust that just as the Holy Spirit was leading Him to the desert the Holy Spirit would also give Him the strength and power to face whatever was before Him. 
Have you felt the Holy Spirit pulling you in a certain direction? 
Do you trust the Holy Spirit to give you the strength and power to sustain you as you follow? 
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you;
and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem,
and in all Judea and Samaria,
and to the ends of the earth.
Acts 1:8

            Jesus ended His time on the earth by giving the Holy Spirit to His followers.  In His last words recorded in Scripture, Jesus says the Holy Spirit will give us power to complete an action - to be witnesses of Jesus throughout the world.  I encourage you to take time to be quiet and listen to where the Holy Spirit is leading you.  Believe that the Holy Spirit will give you the power promised to complete the task. 

Not by might nor by power,
but by my Spirit,
says the LORD Almighty.

Zechariah 4:3

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