The Fire And The Dove
Before Jesus began His ministry, He decided to reveal His identity in the synagogue.
When He was given the book of Isaiah to read He carefully selected a particular passage.
Jesus did not read Isaiah 6:14-15, which foretold of His birth by a virgin.
Neither did He read from the scripture in Isaiah 9:6 which exalts His name: Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace!
Jesus did not read from Isaiah 53 which described the pain and suffering that He would endure and His victorious resurrection.
Instead, Jesus stood up and searched deep inside the book until He reached the passage in Isaiah 61:1-7 and read loud and clear.
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed;to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord (Luke 4:18-19 NKJV)
Why did Jesus choose this passage?
Jesus wanted to emphasize to His people that God sent Him to deliver them from spiritual oppression and to fulfill all righteousness.
The people were expecting that the Messiah would deliver them from their Roman oppressor and restore the Jewish kingdom. But the plan of God for the people was much bigger than that.
But their spiritual eyes were blind in spite of the evidence during Jesus’ baptism.
Many people witnessed Christ’s anointing when John the Baptist baptized Him (Matthew 3:16).
As He stepped from the water praying, the heaven opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in the bodily form of a dove, and a voice from the sky announced,
“You are My beloved Son; in You, I am well pleased.” (Luke 3:21-22 NKJV)
Let us compare this significant event with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost.
The Holy Spirit descended on the believers as cloven tongues of fire and not as a dove.
Why the difference?
It has to do with the person!
Jesus was the sinless Son of God who came to earth as a man.
Jesus had no sin, and since He is God, the Holy Spirit was returning to Him.
The dove represents peace, purity, innocent, tenderness, and a new beginning.
Noah sent out a dove from the Ark after the flood had receded from the earth and it returned with an olive branch indicating that the plants were springing forth upon the face of the earth – a new beginning (Genesis 8:1-12)
The doves were clean birds that were offered as a sacrifice to God.
Cloven tongues of fire came directly from the coals on the altar of God in heaven and its purpose is to cleanse and purge sin in the hearts and minds of the believers.
This same fire was used to purify the mouth of Isaiah when he was called by God (Isaiah 6:1-7 ).
This fire of the Holy Spirit will also cleanse us from our sins.
I pray that we will receive the cleansing fire of the Holy Spirit who will reign in our hearts like a dove and give us peace.