God's Holy Fire: 'Like a Dove'

Thursday, December 26, 2024

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."
— Luke 3:21-22 NIV

Key Thought

As recorded in Luke's gospel, Jesus is promised by the Spirit, conceived by the Spirit, recognized by the Spirit, and announced by the Spirit. We know Jesus and the Holy Spirit are inextricably linked together as God. Yet, to inaugurate Jesus' ministry, the Holy Spirit accompanies the voice of the Father in affirming Jesus at his baptism. Even though Jesus comes to John the Baptizer like all the rest of the people do, Jesus is unique. He does not need to repent — his heart and life are already in line with the will of God. He does not need to have sins forgiven — he is sinless. He does not need to prepare himself for the coming of God's kingdom — he will proclaim, demonstrate, and bring God's kingdom. For Jesus, his baptism is a moment where God reveals who Jesus is to those who do not know him: Jesus is God's beloved Son who pleases God in all he does. The Spirit's presence in the bodily form of a dove is another sign of this truth. What Jesus does in his ministry, his death, his resurrection, and his pouring out the Spirit on his followers is put in perspective. Jesus is doing God's work in God's way with God's approval as God's Son. So, just as we have welcomed Jesus at his birth, let's have our lives shaped by Jesus' life and teachings. Let's get to know our Savior so the Spirit can conform us to be like him (2 Corinthians 3:18).

Another daily devotional series — What Jesus Did! — focuses on Jesus' life and ministry, and an additional one — A Year with Jesus — focuses on Jesus' teachings. Near the bottom of the web page for each devotional, you can subscribe to receive the daily devotionals by email. These devotionals can help us as we seek to have our lives shaped by Jesus' life and teachings.

Today's Prayer

O Father God, please transform me to be more and more like Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit as I seek to know the story of Jesus and have it shape my life. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.


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Illustration of Luke 3:21-22 NIV — "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased."

About This Devotional

God's Holy Fire is a daily devotional about the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

The Thoughts and Prayer for God's Holy Fire are written by Phil Ware.

Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
Scripture quotations marked MESSAGE are taken from THE MESSAGE, copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.