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The Holy Spirit And Jesus’ Ministry

3293 words - 13 pages

The statement by John, “Baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire,” has an undertone which is connected to a theme which intertestamental Jews held. This idea was not related directly to the Holy Spirit and the work He would have at Jesus’ baptism or in Jesus’ ministry. A question such as, why would an unrelated belief have a connection to the Holy Spirit who was to come in the baptism of Jesus? This belief was the idea that a time of affliction or anguish would take place before the coming of the messiah. This was referred to as the birth pangs of the messiah. One reference which is used to support this is from the prophet Daniel, where in one of his visions he refers to war being made against the saints and until the ancient of days would come there would be judgment upon the saints (Dan. 7:21-22). The fire which john speaks about could be a fire of judgment for the people as well as a fire which would purify the saints. Various OT prophets confirm this idea of judgment by fire (Amos 7:4; Mal. 4:1) which the people would have to experience. Another reference to fire as judgment 2 Peter 3:6-7 where the fire is being stored up for the heavens and the earth until the day of judgment. The imagery of this fire in Jesus’ baptism is seen as a river or stream of fire (Dan. 7:10). Another element of this early held view of the fire of Jesus’ baptism was also dual purposed in its nature. As the fire would destroy the wicked it would also purge and cleanse the righteous. These references to fire help clarify the possible understanding of the differences between John’s and Jesus baptisms. This was not the sole purpose of His baptism; he was preparing the way (Matt. 3:3) for Jesus. One way the baptism of Jesus could be seen, is it was a promise which affirmed those who had received John’s baptism.

The purpose of John’s baptism can simply be defined as this, “It marked the turn of a Jew to God, associating him with the penitent people… and it anticipated the Messianic baptism with the Spirit and fire, assuring him a place in the Kingdom.” This baptism was for Jews who sought repentance because they knew they were sinful and needed to be restored. As the purpose of John’s baptism has been established for the Jewish people, the next step would be to understand the purpose for Jesus. Knowing that scripture says Jesus was “without sin (Heb. 4:15) why would he need to be baptized if he did not need to repent? There are a couple key passages which lead up to the Spirit descending upon Jesus and they provide reason for this baptism. John had an understanding what his mission and ministry was, he was to provide a baptism of repentance for Jews who wanted to be right before god and he was also to be usher in the establishment of the Kingdom on earth through Jesus. Being filled with the Holy Spirit at birth John was able to know who the messiah would be. As John saw Jesus coming towards him John said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes...

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