When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. Luke 3:21-22
This week, on our prayer journey with Christ, we find him at the River Jordan at the time of his baptism. There is much interesting commentary on this event, but I am going to focus today on our verses, Luke 3: 21-22 and how prayer drew God near to the Son.
First, it is noteworthy that, of the four gospels, only Luke mentions this prayer of Jesus. Barnes Notes on the Bible suggest that this shows that prayer can be done in private even in the midst of a great crowd. I don’t know about you, but sometimes it is in the midst of big moments that I need God to draw near the most! The practice of private prayer in public brings us closer to God while helping us stay involved with others around us. (And, I suspect, this type of prayer would serve to help us with said involvement with others as well!)
The second thing we see here is that a result of prayer is the Holy Spirit coming down, drawing near to us. As we will see, this nearness of the Holy Spirit is the guide we need to face life’s trials. I love what Matthew Henry’s commentary says about this. ” The Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and there came a voice from heaven, from God the Father, from the excellent glory. Thus was a proof of the Holy Trinity, of the Three Persons in the Godhead, given at the baptism of Christ.”
Wow. Proof of the Trinity! The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit all together, drawing near, One yet not one, community, connection. Isn’t that what we all long for? Connection, community, togetherness…oneness with the Father, the Son abiding in us, comfort and guidance from the Spirit?
Then we should pray. Practicing prayer, in any situation, brings us closer to God, brings God closer to us! When we pray, the Spirit comes down, and we hear from God. The silent simple prayer, drenched-not by water, but by the Spirit, makes us ready for what may come. When we pray, He comes….dwells in us, with us.