Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”
Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.
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 alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
How Jesus Loved People
In our last post about how Jesus loved people, we saw that He prepared Himself to love others by spending time at His Father’s house, at His place of worship. (see previous post) In today’s post we see that Jesus further prepares Himself to love people by receiving the Holy Spirit. And the way He does it… His humility, it astounds me. Jesus humbled Himself, He submitted Himself to the same practices that were in place for everyone else. Here He was, God incarnate, fully man and also fully God, and yet He submitted to the same conventions as everybody else. Even when John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” He insisted that He be treated the same as anyone.
So Jesus, the God-man, in order to prepare Himself for the great outpouring of love that was to come over the next three years, submits Himself to John and is baptized. And when He’s baptized, the Holy Spirit descends from heaven and alights on him.
How to Love Like Jesus
Think this through with me — if Jesus Christ Himself needed the Holy Spirit, to prepare to love on others, Lord knows you and I do too. The only way to love people the way our Heavenly Father desires us to, is to first receive the Holy Spirit. That’s how Jesus did it, that’s what you and I need to do also.
Jesus spoke at length about the Holy Spirit with His disciples when they were upset at the news that He would be leaving them soon. Shortly before His death He told them He wouldn’t leave them as orphans. He said that after He’s gone, His Father would send the Comforter, or Advocate. The original Greek word used there is parakletos, which means “to come along side.” The origin for our English word, paramedic, comes from the same Greek prefix, para-. A paramedic comes along side a patient to help heal him or her. The Holy Spirit comes along side you to help you in every area of your life. This happens the moment you decide to follow Jesus Christ.
But there’s another way in which the Holy Spirit comes to us, and this is the way that empowers us to love people the way God desires us to. In Acts chapter 1 Jesus instructed His disciples: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 1:4-5) Then in Acts chapter 2, suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. (Acts 2:2) The Holy Spirit blew the disciples away. They were filled to the overflowing, and they were empowered to do things and to love people in ways that aren’t humanly possible apart from God. (See Acts chapter 2) This is the way the Holy Spirit comes to people described by Jesus when He said, “…rivers of living water will flow from within them.” (John 7:38)
Ephesians 5:18-20 tells us to be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
When you’re filled with the Spirit your heart is filled with music. But the music isn’t dependent on the circumstances of your life, which are sometimes up and sometimes down. The object of the music of the Holy Spirit is Christ, Who is unchanging. So when you’re filled with the Holy Spirit you’re empowered to love God, and to love people, regardless of your life circumstances. (Keller)
This is spectacular! Because without love no matter what we do, you and I are as a resounding gong. No matter how hard we try, no matter how we may sacrifice, we gain nothing without love. (1 Corinthians 13:1-3) “You’ll never know your full potential in Christ, until you yield to the fullness of the Holy Spirit in your life.” (Chuck Smith)
You need to love, to please God, and you need the Holy Spirit to love.
To love people the way Jesus did, you need to first receive the Holy Spirit as Jesus did.
All that’s required is to ask God for Him. Simply asking, from your heart, that God would pour His Holy Spirit out upon you is all you need to do to receive Him. Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him! Jesus said in Luke 11:11-13. So to receive God’s power to love people, like you’ve never loved them before, ask Him for His Holy Spirit.
Ask right now.
Ask every day, for the Holy Spirit, and your Father in heaven will give Him to you.
For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.
[Image via: knowhimonline – Creative Commons]
[HT: Chuck Smith, Living Water; The Word for Today, 2007; Chuck Smith Audio Teaching on Holy Spirit; Dr. Timothy Keller; BibleStudyTools.com; Jon Courson]