Something new is coming, and John the Baptist comes to prepare the way for it as a prophetic messenger of the Lord. So compelling is the word that he brings that some people are beginning to ask if he could be the Messiah.
How did John show that he was not the promised Messiah? His answer was all related to the coming of the Holy Spirit. John baptised with water but when the Messiah came, he would baptise believers with the Holy Spirit and with fire.
Immediately after this, Luke describes the baptism of Jesus, where the Holy Spirit descends from heaven like a dove. The opening of the heavens signifies that God is about to intervene in human history in a dramatic way. Luke specifically points out that this happened while Jesus was praying. As Jesus communicated with the Father, so the Father communicated with him, with all those watching on the shore, and ultimately with all of humanity through the recording of these events in Scripture.
The prophecy of Joel is not fulfilled on the day of Jesusí baptism Ė the Spirit comes on Jesus to empower him for his ministry. This is not a general outpouring but, as we have read before in Old Testament accounts, an example of the Holy Spirit equipping an individual for a particular role in Godís purposes and plans.
But what an individual! And what a role!
Do we truly grasp that this same Holy Spirit that descended on Jesus on that day at the River Jordan is available to equip and empower us to do the works that God has called us to today? Do we stand ready to serve, like Joshua, Othniel, David, Ezekiel, Micah, Samson and Bezalel? If we do, then the same Holy Spirit is available to us.
Lord God, I stand ready to serve in your Kingdom today. I commit to taking the first steps, however small, into your purposes and plans for me, knowing for sure that your promised Holy Spirit will equip, empower and guide me. Lead me on, Lord.