Has anyone ever noticed how many New Testament books have really significant verses land right at the place which has become chapter 3 verse 16 (just like the most famous, John 3:16). This is a curious coincidence which I intend to explore a little. Matthew 3:16 says:
“And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him,and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him”.
This is immediately followed by the voice of God acknowledging that Jesus is his beloved son, with whom he is well pleased.
This Spirit, descending on Jesus, comes at the public commencement and validation of his ministry. He will baptise others with the Holy Spirit and with fire, clear out the threshing floor, and gather in the wheat. This Spirit is not some warm fuzzy feeling, but a person of the trinity who brings down the Truth about Jesus and his mission, and it will divide people! It does the same today.
It will also save people. The Spirit is not characterised by timidity and fear, but “love, power and self-discipline” or “sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). God has put his Spirit into our hearts, by which we cry Abba, Father. We have received the spirit of sonship and are now heirs with Christ! The Spirit is the deposit: “Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” (2 Cor 1:21-22).
Such awesome truths are wrapped up in this, the first of the “three sixteens” – 26 to go!