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On your Mark


At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. As Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” (Mark 1:9-11, NIV)

Are you facing a moment of transition in your life? We can learn much from the example of Jesus as He transitions from the private life of His first 30 years to His public life of three years. His baptism by John marks the turning point.

First, Jesus identified with John. Although Jesus himself had no need for a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, Jesus’ example teaches us to position ourselves on the side of those whose hearts and motives are pure.

Politicians talk a great deal about change, but change can move us from good to bad or bad to worse if we identify with the wrong person or persons. In your time of transition, are you closest to those who truly know the Lord? Have you sought the counsel of those who walk near to Him, or are you just charging ahead because it seems like a good idea to you?

Second, Jesus received confirmation personally from the Father — the heavens opened.

Interestingly, none of the Gospels report anyone else seeing the heavens opened except Jesus himself. He, not “they,” saw the heavens open!

Your individual journey in life will involve experiences with God that you alone will observe and apply. You must be sensitive to what the Holy Spirit is showing you in your personal times of waiting on Him. When you act in obedience, as Jesus did by going to the Jordan, God will reveal himself to you. That revelation may not be something outward or spectacular — it may instead be inward and a still small voice — but, get the mind of the Spirit first before you set forth with transition.

Third, Jesus experienced the peacefulness and gentleness of God in the descent of the Spirit as a dove upon Him.

Transitions need to be marked by calmness. Any hyperactivity by Jesus at His baptism would have shooed away the dove of peace. If you are filled with anxiety, fear and stress as you anticipate transition, back off until you are filled with peace.

Fourth, Jesus experienced the Father’s honest and wholesome perspective — “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” Jesus emerged in the transition with the unmistakable assurance the Father both loved and approved of Him.

Do you really know deep inside yourself that God dearly loves you, that you are known to Him, and that He is pleased with all who put their trust in His Son? What greater security or sense of wholeness is there than this?

Jesus knew He was not alone because He knew in His time of transition the Father approved of Him and the Holy Spirit descended and remained on Him. It’s the same with you. You are not alone in your time of transition. God is with you!

GEORGE O. WOOD is general superintendent of the Assemblies of God.

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