Is the dove remaining on the lamb?
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptising with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.” 32 Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. 33 And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptise with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptise with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.”
Since the first person he had baptised, John had been looking.
“How will I know it is Him? How do I know if the Spirit has come down? Is the next person the One? Will it be today?”
There are no indications in the gospels that anyone other than Jesus and John had seen heaven open, the voice from God and the Spirit fall in the form of a dove upon Jesus.
When Jesus met John, something happened in the water that left John in no doubt. Just as the dove was released by Noah several times and finally came to remain on dry ground (Genesis 8) so the Spirit remained on the One who had been sent by God to represent safety, hope, a new day and covenant, peace and a future for the world.
And here is the key: when you have seen the significance of the dove then you will have revelation of the lamb.
John is announcing a new and better Noah story and is now clearly laying out as he will do throughout his gospel leading to the culmination of Jesus’ death on the afternoon when the Passover lambs were being killed in the Temple, Jesus the lamb.
The Christian and the Church needs more than ever to realise that the dove remains on the lamb.
When the dove remains on the lamb then the Holy Spirit is at work.
The outpouring that we all long to see can only come with this combination. Anything else is man-made.
Give me someone who knows they are sent to bring hope not despair, whose words convey peace and the promises of God. Give me someone who is kind and gentle and yet is strong enough to lay their own life down in surrender to God and to others. Give me that person in the pulpit and the pew and I will paint a picture of an outpouring of the Spirit.
Let me ask 3 questions that contain their own answers:
- Where is the Spirit? (Where are the miracles? Where is the growth of the Church with souls saved and lives transformed?)
- Where is the Lamb? (Where is the sacrifice? Where are the acts of kindness in the public place, the pew and the pulpit?)
- Where is the dove? (Where is the deep, abiding, remaining sense of being sent to herald a new day? Where are the messengers of safety?
“How will I know? Will it be today?”
It can be.