WEDNESDAY, APRIL 15, 2015
A shallow part of the River Jordan, thought to be near the place where John baptised people including His cousin Jesus, when the Holy Spirit was seen to visibly descend on Him.
Matthew 28:18-19 NIV
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…
A LOT of people know the New Testament Bible stories and can talk knowledgeably about the things that followed Jesus and His ministry: people healed of every kind of sickness, demonised ones freed, the paralysed enabled to walk – even the dead raised.
And we say, “That was Jesus!” In our minds we put Jesus into an entirely different category from ourselves. We attribute to Him a completely different way of operating, powers of another order, a life we could never emulate.
That’s right and it’s wrong. It’s right because Jesus had an intimacy with His Father, an understanding of what His Father was doing, and it was special. Very special indeed.
It’s wrong because we conveniently forget something. Jesus, who lived His life without sin, still joined the ‘repentance crowd’ in line by the River Jordan to be baptised by His cousin John.
However His meeting with God was not so much repentance – although it did mark a turning and leaving of his old life as a carpenter/builder – as an empowering for His mission by the Holy Spirit. This was so significant that the Spirit was seen to descend on Him and an audible voice was heard by others (Matthew 3:16-17). Jesus is fully God (make no mistake about that) but also fully man, having ’emptied Himself’ of His divine nature (Philippians 2:7).
Rather than seeing the signs and wonders that characterised Jesus’ ministry as uniquely divine, it would be more biblical to see them as uniquely anointed.
Where does that leave us? In a good place. Aspiring to be more divine – well, it isn’t going to happen. But aspiring to have a greater intimacy with the Father, a clearer sense of His purpose, an anointing to stand in the gap for others and see God’s order brought into their lives: that is something that each of us can believe for.
The Master says: “Therefore go…” He has the authority, and he confers it on His own to act for Him, just as the apprentice learns the master’s trade and aims to be capable of carrying it out. The disciples were probably reminded of the missions Jesus had sent them on, as a group of 12 and then six times that number (Luke 9:1-6, Luke 10:1-9). It was going out from where they were known and safe, a going outside their comfort zone, and going to learn to be carriers of His peace-bringing authority.
It’s the same now. We have a measure of the empowering of the same Holy Spirit as Jesus, the One that raised Him from the dead. He says “Go!” and it’s our turn now to be prepared for where He will direct us, and with that same Holy Spirit’s enabling, to “have a go”.