“The heavens opened and the Spirit descended upon him like a dove.”
Wednesday, 13 January 2021
“John saw Jesus coming towards him, and said: This is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. I saw the Spirit come down on him like a dove from heaven and rest on him. I did not know him myself, but he who sent me to baptise with water had said to me, the man on whom you see the Spirit come down and rest is the one who is to baptise with the Holy Spirit.” (John 1:29,32-33)
John’s Gospel suggests that until the moment when the heavens opened and the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus, John the Baptist did not know that Jesus was the one who was sent. Perhaps he had wondered. But it is in this moment that the clear sign is given, not only for Jesus but for John too, that Jesus is the one who is “the Chosen one of God.” (John 1:33).
I wonder what that moment was like for John. The moment signalled the fulfilment of the mission for which John the Baptist was born. He knows now that his life and preaching have been preparing the way for his cousin, Jesus. I imagine that they may have spent time together later that day wondering at the unimaginable workings of God in their lives. Later, when John is asked about it, he expresses his joy and says that while the bridegroom has the bride, the bridegroom’s friend, who stands and listens, is filled with joy saying: “this is the joy I feel and it is complete.” (John 3:29.)
Where can we witness and attest to God’s work in the lives of those around us? Does it fill us with joy?