The Baptism

“Now when all the people were baptized, Jesus was also baptized, and while He was praying, Heaven was opened.” Luke 3:21

The Gospel of Luke records one of the earliest examples of the prayer life of Jesus. It should come as no surprise that it also documents one of The Father’s earliest answers to His Son’s prayer.

“And the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven, ‘You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.’ “ Luke 3:22

The powerful energy and synergy of prayer is revealed within the context of these two brief verses. The Son prays, The Spirit descends, and The Father commends.

Prayer is the catalytic converter that transforms the doctrinal concept of The Trinity into a powerful expression of The Presence of God. There is simply nothing else in the world like prayer to usher in His Presence. Prayer brings The Father, The Son and The Spirit together like nothing else ever will.

“Now when all the people were baptized, Jesus was also baptized.” V. 21a

Prayer is the essential key to any Spiritual Awakening on a personal and corporate level.  Prayer thrives in the climate of obedience. Prayer expresses a spirit of dependence upon The Father, expecting Him to respond to the needs of His child.

As Jesus launched His public ministry, He identified with the humble spirit of repentant people who were responding to the message of John the Baptist. While they were expressing their own public symbol of repentance, He engaged in His own private ministry of intercession.

As the sinless Son of God, Jesus had no personal need to repent of any sin. Still, His Spirit was drawn to the spirit of repentance of God’s people. Within this context of the private conviction and public repentance of God’s people, Jesus was praying.  

Praying led The Son to identify with the people, and yield to the symbol of baptism. It was not a symbol of His repentance of sin, but a sign of his humility and obedience to The Father. In no small measure, His heart must have been moved with compassion to identify with those whose hearts were tender to The Spirit’s conviction of sin.

“And while He was praying, Heaven was opened.” V. 21b

Jesus began His ministry in prayer, but perhaps more importantly, He continues His ministry by intercession in the present tense. He is seated at the right hand of The Father. The Son lives to intercede.

“Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” Hebrews 7:25

There is one glaring omission of Mel Gibson’s movie, “The Passion of The Christ.” There is only a faint suggestion of The Resurrection, but there is no reference at all to The Risen Christ’s ministry of intercession.

Those who wear a crucifix to honor The Savior’s passion in the past tense, would be well served to remember His intercession in the present tense. Perhaps replacing the wearing of a crucifix with another symbol, nail-scarred, praying hands, would improve a believer’s perspective on the ministry of the living Christ.

Note to self: Jesus is not on the cross. He died. He was buried, and raised from the dead. He is seated at the right hand of The Father. He is not continually dying on a cross. He is praying for you.  When you pray, He fills your life with His Presence. PRAY!

“Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.” Romans 8:34

The Bible clearly reveals, when Jesus prays, Heaven opens. This is the point of prayer. Prayer is not about sending God a “selfie.” Prayer doesn’t give Heaven a glimpse of your life on earth. Prayer brings Heaven to earth, and makes a difference in your life.

When The Son prays, The Father listens, and responds with The Spirit. The intercession of God’s Son, provides what The Father’s children need the most, His Spirit.

“The Holy Spirit descended upon Him.”  V. 22a

The power of prayer is not a product of the eloquence, but dependence. Power is produced by The Presence of The Spirit. Before The Spirit descends, believing prayers must ascend. Those who humbly depend on The Father as their only hope of deliverance, and yield their will to His direction, protection and correction put themselves in the right position to receive The Spirit’s anointing.

“Bodily form like a dove.” V. 22b

There is simply nothing like The Presence of The Holy Spirit. There is no substitute on earth for Heaven’s Gift. He is God, not some white bird, flitting and flying around, feathering the nests of those who claim to have a permanent hold on His Presence.  He is The Spirit of God, and cannot caged by any one person or one denomination. The dove was a sign, not a substitute.

Painting a dove on the sign of a prayerless church, or wearing a silver dove around the neck of a prayerless person will not bring His Presence. But I digress.

The Spirit can be received within the context of believing prayer, or He can be grieved, by the lack of it.  Those who humbly pray experience His power. Those who try to tap His power by dropping His name, without bending their knees or yielding their will, won’t be touched by the power of His Presence.

The Spirit is closely identified with The Son, in the ministry of intercession.  When The Son prayed, The Spirit descended. When The Father’s children pray, The Spirit identifies with their spirit of dependence on The Father, not the eloquence of His children. The Spirit makes up for what is lacking, by interpreting choking words spewing out of broken hearts, and delivering them to The Son. TALK LESS! PRAY MORE!

“In the same way, The Spirit also helps our weakness, for we do not know how to pray as we should, but The Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of The Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” Romans 8:26-27