In Luke 3:21-23 we learn that Jesus was about 30yrs old when he began his ministry. By that Luke means his public ministry. And the event that marked the beginning of his public ministry was his baptism. Two things occurred at his baptism: 1) everyone heard a voice from heaven declaring who Jesus was: the beloved Son of God. This was the Father’s voice. This was Abba, Daddy, audibly proclaiming his deep, deep love for his son, Jesus so that everyone could hear. That alone would be a frightful experience: hearing the voice of God! But there was something else. 2) the other thing that occurred was the anointing of the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove descending on Jesus. I wonder about this because we know that since Mary conceived, Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit. There was never a time when Jesus didn’t have the fulness of the Spirit dwelling in him. So in addition to hearing the voice from heaven declaring that Jesus is God’s Son, we also get a visual of the Spirit of God descending upon him. We see all three persons of the Trinity here at Jesus baptism: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Recently, I’ve been wondering about the difference between the fullness of the Spirit within us, and the anointing of the Spirit. What we see here in Jesus’ baptism might give us a clue. As the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus in the form of a dove, he was anointed for the public ministry which he would now begin. Yes, he was already full of the Spirit, but the release to go forth and minister in the power of the Spirit occurred when the Spirit came down and anointed him. Think of this as a commissioning. God the Father, was commissioning Jesus the Son, with the anointing of the Holy Spirit, for Messianic ministry.
God has called us to look outside these 4 walls to minister and serve people around us, in the communities where we live, work and play. However, before we do anything, we must look to Jesus example in Luke 3 where the Spirit of the Lord descended upon him – anointed him – in the form of a dove. Listen to the instruction Jesus gave to the disciples in Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Just as Jesus was anointed for public ministry, and the disciples were anointed in Acts 2, we must also be anointed for beyond our borders public ministry that God has ordained for us. I say this because we can only do God’s work by the power of God, by the power of the Holy Spirit. Let me say this: any spiritual impact in the communities around us will not happen only because we have an event or do a project or reorganize our church systems. And that’s not to say we shouldn’t have an event or do a service project. We should absolutely do those. But I want to make sure we all understand this: truly eternal, life-changing spiritual impact will happen because we seek the Lord in prayer for the anointing of the Spirit to empower and direct us.