Yes, massive changes required the wilderness or—what happened when Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit? I know: “How the heck do you know, David?” But again, I believe the Lord showed me some stuff this morning.
I want to take you on a little adventure of mental gymnastics. This is something I’ve thought about, talked about, studied about, and everything else for forty-seven years—a lot. It became obvious to me very quickly that if Jesus didn’t live like a normal human [even though He was and is sin-free] then He didn’t do much. Stay with me please.
There are no tales of miraculous doings from his childhood or early adulthood. Certainly there would be if anything happened of note. The only tale is when He was found, at twelve, in the temple grilling the rabbis and scholars. In our terms, He was basically like an ordinary, driven, Bible-thumping, Christian fundamentalist—a well-taught Jewish boy. He knew scripture—intimately. Remember, He astounded them at the temple. But then…
The massive changes required the wilderness
I was studying Mark this morning. I believe tradition, as I understand it, that when Mark left Paul on his trip—he headed back to Jerusalem and hooked up with Peter as one of his closest disciples. When you study it out, the belief that the Gospels are really Matthew, Peter, Luke, and John becomes obvious.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at Jesus’ baptism by John in Mark. By this time, Jesus must have been more than curious. Surely, His mother had talked to him over the previous thirty years or so. He didn’t see any evidence, even though He believed it was true that He was called to major ministry. He was like any normal believer accepting by faith what the scriptures say, but not seeing any power in His life.
He had laid down his omnipotence and omniscience at conception. Sure, the Lord was with Him—like I AM is with all believers. But it was head and heart knowledge, deeply held, with no real power.
Then came the radical empowerment
The Father had told John what to look for and what was going to happen. Let me quote the pertinent passages from Mark 1: 9-12, “In those days Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.” OK, we know what baptisms are like [certainly nothing like the 19th century painting above]. But then look at what happened next.
“Coming up out of the water, He immediately saw the heavens opened and the Spirit descending on Him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, saying, “You are My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.”
Imagine what was going on in Jesus’ mind. My imagination suggests something like, “Well, I guess it’s started.” At this point, He still had no real idea. But the Father had it covered. The next sentence tells us, “The Spirit immediately drove Him into the wilderness.” What wonderful grace from His Father. As a human He needed some processing time.
I am very aware that Jesus is God and my Messiah. I’m writing these things in reverent fear, praying a lot asking for help, because I might mess things up like I do a lot. But what just happened to Jesus? In our terms, early 21st century believers, Jesus was born again and baptized with the Holy Spirit. Nothing else explains what had just happened to Him. That must have been an amazing forty days. But what was the result?
For this, let’s look at Luke. Luke starts it in 4: 1 with, “Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,” He talks about it quite a bit. Tradition says that Luke talked extensively with Mary, His mother. But the result is clear, taking into account what we have just been talking about.
And Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about Him spread through all the surrounding region. And He began teaching in their synagogues and was praised by all. [Luke 4: 14&15 NASB]
He left the wilderness in the power of the Holy Spirit and His ministry began. I’ve had a little glimpse of all of this with my rebirth and baptism in the Holy Spirit that happened to me in January 1974. I have no trouble believing that Jesus needed the whole forty days to process what had happened and how things had changed. Because now He was hooked up to the Father by the Holy Spirit and direct communication had commenced.
No, this is not doctrine—but…
Ask the Lord to show you the Truth about these things. If you are not baptized with the Holy Spirit, talk to someone who is filled with the spirit. It doesn’t change anything, but it helps me understand better how Jesus suddenly began His amazing ministry. I pray it blesses you, as He has blessed me today. Alleluia.