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The Descinding Dove: a Family Devotional!

Descended like a Dove

Devotional#15: 11 April 2017
“This is my Son in Whom I am well Pleased!”

Christians and Jews frequently use the image of a Dove as an icon of their faith. There are dove bumper stickers, dove Easter candies, and dove t-shirts. There is even a Dove television channel!

Why do Christians have such an affinity for the image of a Dove? Some of us remember the illustration of a Dove with an olive branch in its mouth landing on Noah’s outstretched arm ( Genesis 8:11 ).

The Dove can symbolize God's long suffering patience and compassion as well as the renewal and restoration available for His redeemed people. 

Many more Christians, perhaps, are likely to cite the appearance of the Dove immediately following the baptism of Jesus ( John 1 , Mark 1 , Matthew 3 , and Luke 3 ).

This particularly valuable image reminds us of following truths:

  • Jesus, though perfect and sinless, gives us the ordinance of Baptism.
  • The Spirit manifested  itself in the bodily form of a Dove.
  • All three of the persons of the Trinity are seen simultaneously and distinctly.
  • God, the Father, is well pleased with Jesus His Son

Here is the account from the Gospel of Luke :

“Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened, and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, "You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased."”

- Luke 3:21-22 

The value and function of the Holy Spirit is often overlooked, even by believers.  This is a huge mistake. The presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives is so critical that Christ returned to heaven in order to send the Spirit to us.  He said:

“Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.... When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.”

- John 16:7-11, 13-15
Credit to Hope for her hand-drawn illustration "The Dove"​​
One Valuable Spirit

The function of the Spirit is clearly (by Christ's own testimony ) vital enough to warrant His own temporary departure.  The Bible names many, but here are few:

The Spirit:
Convicts us of our Sin ( John 16 )
Guides us in Truth ( John 16 )
Gives us Gifts ( Galatians 5 )
Teaches us what to say ( Luke 12 )
Teaches us how to pray ( Romans 8 )
Bears witness to us, putting God’s law in our hearts and in our minds ( Hebrews 10 )
Leads Jesus ( Luke 4 )
Seals us for redemption ( Eph 4 )
Gives us Hope ( Romans 15 )
Dictates God’s Word ( 2 Cor 3 )

And SO much more - the list is possibly endless! And believers are eternally indebted. Next time your family sees a Dove, why don't you use it as an opportunity to point out the Bible's own use of this tiny bird as a reminder of the Holy Spirit and its significant work in our lives!

The Humble Ant

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