A Wonderful Beginning

“When all the people were being baptized,
Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, 
heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit
descended on him in bodily form like a dove.
And a voice came from heaven:
‘You are my Son, whom I love;
with you I am well pleased.”
Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old
when he began his ministry.” 
Luke 3:21-23 (NIV)

“As for you, you were dead
in your transgressions and sins,…  
And God raised us up with Christ 
and seated us with him 
in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus…”
Ephesians 2:1, 6 (NIV)

Our Lord likely spent about 33 years with us. There were 3 Passovers named in John’s Gospel (2:13; 6:4; 12:1). The feast referred to in John 5:1 is possibly another Passover. So, the public ministry of our Lord as an itinerant preacher lasted over 3 years.

The older cousin of the Master began preparing the way for the Messiah by preaching repentance and baptizing converts. A question arises about why the sinless Messiah (cf. John 8:46; 1 Peter 1:19), would begin His public ministry by being baptized by John. It is assumed that our Lord wanted to publicly identify with John. The witness to the Father’s pleasure in Jesus confirms the fact that Jesus was sinless. The voice from heaven and the Holy Spirit descending on the Saviour was a wonderful testimony to His identity.

It was a wonderful moment as Jesus laid down the hammer and saw for the last time in Nazareth and launched His momentous work of teaching and discipling the crowds who attended His public ministry. To have the Holy Spirit visibly mark Him out and then have the voice from heaven also confirm Him made the beginning of Jesus’ work very remarkable. Dark days would come before Golgotha so such affirmation was very important.

When we consider our conversion and the beginning of our journey to heaven it is important to recognize the Father’s part in the process. Our conversion begins with the powerful work of God Who awakens us to our need of salvation. Psalm 37:39 (NIV) tells us,

“The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord…”.

So, our beginning as believers starts when the Lord opens our eyes to see Who Jesus really is (Isaiah 35:5; 42:7). Our deaf ears hear the eternal truth of the Gospel. Our stubborn hearts were divinely opened (Acts 16:14) and we then responded to the truth of the Gospel just like Lydia so long ago. Believer, rejoice today in the wonderful beginning of your faith journey. Be confident that the One Who has begun a good work in you will bring it to a glorious conclusion. Read a couple of verses written by Charles Wesley and see yourself being described in them.

Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quick’ning ray—
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in Him, is mine;
Alive in Him, my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness divine,
Bold I approach th’ eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.

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