Reading: John 1:29-34
This section tells of John the Baptist and Jesus along the riverside. Note, this is not the first time that they have been together (John is speaking in past tense about the spirit coming down on Jesus) and this day is several days after Jesus was baptized by John in the river.
The actual baptism of Jesus was told in the other Gospels (Mark 1:4-11). The moment that Jesus was baptized, the Holy Spirit manifested himself like a dove and descended upon Jesus. The Lord spoke words from the heavens. Through John’s Gospel, we understand why John the Baptist was intended to baptize Jesus. We also understand the relationship between our water baptism and the Holy Spirit.
Note that Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist right before he began His earthly ministry. The miracles He performed were only AFTER He received the Holy Spirit that gave Him the power. The arrival of the Holy Spirit through baptism was the moment Jesus went from being a carpenter’s son to Rabbi and Messiah.
Did you notice that Jesus comes to John to receive the Spirit? John was the man appointed by God to identify the Messiah to the world. John’s sole purpose in his ministry was to call attention to Jesus and naming Him the Messiah. Jesus becoming baptized brought John’s ministry to completion.
The water baptism Jesus received was a picture of the Spirit’s arrival. The very same thing the Spirit did for Jesus is still happening for believers today.
The water baptism is a washing away of sin, a demonstration of what Jesus expects His followers to do as a symbol of Spirit baptism.
Recognize that in verse 32, the Spirit remained with Jesus. This is the same for believers who believe in Jesus and accept the Holy Spirit into their hearts, the Spirit remains with them to guide them.
In verse 33, John the Baptist applied a baptism of water alone, but Jesus brought a baptism of the Spirit.
Notice how John the Baptist says twice is this section that he did not know Jesus before He came to him for baptism. Remember, not even Jesus’s brothers believed He was the Messiah until He had died.
Also make note that no account of Jesus’s baptism is told as witnessed by anyone other than Jesus and John the Baptist. All four Gospel writers record that only two people witnessed the theophany of the dove and hearing the Lord’s voice from the heavens. This was meant as confirmation to John the Baptist that this was the Messiah that he was baptizing.
Once John the Baptist announced that Jesus was the Messiah, He had followers the same day. John’s point in Chapter 1 is to focus on John the Baptist as the one paving the way for Jesus’s ministry.
The fact that no one knew Jesus as the Messiah (besides Mary & Joseph who were told by an angel) really proves that He lived as a fully normal human being while on earth. This is why Jesus’s early years are not recorded, because He was not bringing attention to himself like Superman, and His ministry had not started yet.
Finally, note that Jesus’s ministry began right after He was baptized. As Christians, we should understand our own baptism in the Spirit as the moment we launch an earthly ministry. We are equipped with the Holy Spirit and now we have a mission to serve the Lord. How many Christians do you think truly begin their service from the first moment after their baptism?
It takes times for Christians to figure out their purpose or ways to serve. It took Jesus coming back to the river in John 1:29 for Him to receive followers and His first two disciples in John 1:35.
John testifies in this section that Jesus is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world. If and when you have the opportunity to testify about Jesus, what would you say? What has He done in your life that you could be sharing with others? What does His life mean to you where you can testify to His presence and existence?
NEXT STEP, REFLECT ON THESE VERSES, TALK TO A FRIEND ABOUT THEM, AND READ JOHN 1:35-42