This is where it begins. This is the point where Jesus has this tremendous overpowering religious experience of the Holy Spirit that confirms his relationship with God.
God is his Father and He is his son.
And through Jesus, the good news is we Christians are in that same relationship. God is our Father and we are His sons and daughters. When Jesus was asked how they should pray the answer started with the words
“OUR Father who art in heaven.
This realisation is what it means to be born again or born from above. When you realise that quite apart from our biological forebears we may have we also have a Spiritual Father “who art in heaven”.
Once this realisation was felt in full force it often produced moments of ecstatic praise and excitement as we read in Acts when Saint Paul laid his hands on some disciples.
Important to note I think that these people, who had never even heard of the Holy Spirit were still counted as disciples but all they knew was that God forgave sins and they had repented. They lacked the FULLNESS of the revelation of Jesus that in him we were reckoned children of the living God.
It was this moment that propelled Jesus into his full blown ministry – a moment when the full import and destination of the Judaism he had been brought up with was made apparent and real to him in a very special and personal way.
This was a moment of revelation to Jesus that pushed him to reveal the full ramifications of this revelation to the world through his life and ministry, his death and his resurrection.
Exactly how Jesus was to react to this tipping point in his life wasn’t immediately apparent. The first thing that the Spirit did was lead Jesus into the wilderness for forty days to pray and contemplate and confront the demons and temptations that plague all of us.
Unlike most of us He stood firm and refused to be seduced into taking an easy path. He freely chose a path of love and service that eschewed power and wealth – a path that would lead to the cross.
Jesus heard the voice of the Father and the presence of his Spirit in his life. That is a gift for all Christians and God speaks in many and various ways. Here is how John Wesley records the same thing in his diary.
“In the evening I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate Street, where one was reading Luther’s preface to the Epistle to the Romans. About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone, for salvation; and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.
That was God “speaking” to John Wesley and God speaks in many and various ways.
God spoke to me recently. For two awful days due to a medical misunderstanding I thought I had cancer and thought I was going to die. I didn’t tell anyone about it until after the event which was in the event a false alarm but I remember with tears in my eyes at my lowest point and at my point of need I turned to Jesus Christ and from that moment on I knew the fullness of my faith which had been so battered and bruised over these past few years.
That, alongside my marriage is the source of my renewed strength and commitment to the faith that as Paul puts it “God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself”.
God spoke to me direct to my heart bypassing all normal religious channels and spoke to me in my pain and distress. I resolved then that I would not turn my back on Him again and try my utmost to bring his gospel to a needy world.
Let us pray.
Wherever we are in our Christian journey
Let us pray that God will warm our hearts and let us know
That He loves us completely.
Help us to turn again to you in renewed faith and hope
and hear those words we all need to hear,
You are my beloved child. With you I am well pleased
In Jesus Christ. Amen.