Thursday after the Second Sunday after Christmas
Scripture: St. Mark 1:9-11 (NKJV)
9 It came to pass in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 And immediately, coming up from the water, He saw the heavens parting and the Spirit descending upon Him like a dove. 11 Then a voice came from heaven, “You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
Does Jesus give us the Holy Spirit in baptism, or ought we to expect another? We must be on guard against those who teach us to seek the Holy Spirit apart from the means of grace. The flesh is always tempted to separate God from His Word, so there are some who teach that water baptism symbolizes one thing, but the true Christian is “baptized with the spirit” apart from water and the Word of God. But there is no use separating God from His Word and the Holy Spirit from Baptism, for the two go together as we see in today’s reading. Jesus is baptized and “the Spirit descends upon Him like a dove.” No waiting. No second baptism. No mere symbolism. Water plus Word and Spirit, that’s Holy Baptism.
It is important to remember that in our baptism we receive the Holy Spirit with all His gifts. If we think we have to feel the Spirit’s presence we will only get caught up in navel-gazing and assessing our emotions. But when we consider that the Spirit gives us the things of Jesus—His Word, His forgiveness, His life, and all His promises—then our hearts are truly blessed. In water combined with God’s Word we receive the Holy Spirit to give us faith, to strengthen that faith, and keep us steadfast in it unto life everlasting. This can only be accomplished by the Holy Spirit.