It came to pass in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized by John in the Jordan.
And immediately, coming up from the water, He saw the heavens parting and the Spirit descending upon Him like a dove.
Then a voice came from heaven, “You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
[Mark 1:9-11 NKJV]
I have long been wondering about the baptism — ‘one baptism’ as Paul says, or a water baptism and a spirit baptism, as we read in the gospels? John the Baptist maintained that he would baptise with water but that Jesus ‘will baptise you by the Holy Spirit’.
In this telling of Jesus’ baptism by John we are told that ‘immediately’ following the baptism by John ‘the Spirit descended on [Jesus] like a dove’. This seems to indicate that — when Jesus is present — the baptism in the Holy Spirit is conferred by God at the same time as the baptism by water. I stress those words ‘when Jesus is present’, for if Jesus baptises by the Holy Spirit, then His presence is a prerequisite.
There is one baptism, but it must take place in both body and spirit for it to work in the soul. One baptism of two elements — body and spirit witnessing to each other.
Perhaps this explains why some seem to be able to move in the Spirit at their water baptism and others — like myself — needed a separate awakening to life in the Spirit. To complicate matters, I do not say that Jesus was not present at my water baptism, but that I was unaware of His presence, and thus the body and spirit did not witness to each other immediately, but over time. I did not hear the voice from heaven.
Why? I can only state that everyone is different. This may seem like an odd thing to say, but when I worked in a branch office of a major UK insurance company, the Branch Manager would occasionally hold ‘brainstorming’ meetings to gather ideas for an upcoming project or something similar. Some found ideas immediately, but others needed time to consider, to reflect on the proposals over time before formulating a response.
I would suggest that this might be how the Holy Spirit baptism takes effect for some — not immediately, but over time, and may require a separate ‘laying on of hands’ to pray the Holy Spirit awakening into place. It may also be the case that some of us — and I mean me — think and rationalise too much, as you have just read. None of this should be about me or any of us ... it is all about Him.
An unemotional love is inconceivable. Love for the good must involve displeasure and grief for the evil. God is not an almighty sultan reigning aloof, He is right in the throes of life, and it is there that emotion shows itself.
[from ‘Our Portrait In Genesis’]
MEDITATE ON THESE THINGS…
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.
GEORGE and GILL STEWART