The Spirit helps us become like Jesus, and that’s a lifelong adventure.
How did Jesus do what He did? Not “because he was God”. If so, He could never have involved the disciples. Without ceasing to be God, He emptied himself of some divine powers. In His incarnation as a man, He was not everywhere at once (omnipresence), neither did He possess complete knowledge (omniscience), nor total power (omnipotence). He asked questions, got tired, and so on. He performed miracles as a man, obedient to His Father, in the power of the Holy Spirit. That’s why Jesus says, “The Son can do nothing by himself; he can only do what he sees the Father doing” (John 5:19). Jesus shows us what God is like, but it’s equally true that He shows us what we can be like. To do what he did, we need to live as He did.
Jesus didn’t perform signs and wonders before His baptism. Three wonderful things happened then, which can become the basis on which we can become more like Him and act more like Him.
1. He was obedient to his Father. John tried to stop him from being baptized. Jesus was greater than John, and John’s baptism was a baptism of “repentance for the forgiveness of sins” , which Jesus didn’t need. But Jesus says, “let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this”.
2. He was filled with the Holy Spirit. The Spirit came down like a pure dove and rested on Jesus. This is a symbol of a deep and abiding purity. John later says, “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him” (John 1:32). We often grieve the Spirit, but there was no offense in Jesus.
3. He heard the Father’s affirmation. “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). God loves us too and is pleased with us, no matter what we do! Jesus had, at this point, performed no miracles, but He knew He didn’t need to earn the Father’s affirmation. He was simply available to share in everything that the Father was doing.
Even with the best loving, supportive human parents, it’s still hard to comprehend God’s amazing grace. Before you seek to do ministry as Jesus’ disciple, realize that we work from the Father’s affirmation, not for it.