At Jesus’ baptism, the heavens opened, and the Spirit came to Jesus. “He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him” (Matthew 3:16). “Alighting” means “coming, arriving, falling.” The form of this verb shows that this arrival of the Holy Spirit didn’t just come and go. The Spirit came and stayed with Jesus, until the time came for him to pass the Spirit on to his followers.
When the Spirit came, Jesus heard the truth of his identity, his relationship with God and his purpose: “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). When we are baptized, the Spirit alights on us too. We are also given the Spirit, and the Spirit stays with us. Like Jesus, we are named as God’s beloved children and given a purpose – to live the love we’ve been given. Knowing that nothing can take that Spirit of Love away gives us power to love and live as God’s people.
This message is excerpted from “The gift of the Spirit: A divine wild goose chase” by Sara Olson-Smith in the September/October 2021 Gather magazine.
Copyright © 2023 Women of the ELCA. Inquiries for permission to reproduce should be directed to [email protected].