Thursday, January 8, 2009

Heaven Torn Open

In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, "You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased."

It is interesting that the heavens were torn open at the beginning of Jesus' ministry, and not at His birth. Instead, at His baptism, God very publicly affirms the identity of Jesus with the heavens being torn open, the voice from heaven, and the Holy Spirit descending. Later, we are told that the veil of the temple was torn from top to bottom when when He died (Mark 15:38). The separation between God and man opened twice in the New Testament: once when Jesus began His ministry, and again when He finished it. So it was not Jesus' birth that made the biggest God-impact on this world, but His re-birth.

And we know from Acts 19:1-7 that the same is true for us:
And it happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul ... came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples. And he said to them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" And they said, "No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit." And he said, "Into what then were you baptized?" They said, "Into John’s baptism." And Paul said, "John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus." On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying....

Praise be to God.

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