This weekend, many Christians recall the baptism of the Lord which marks His public immersion in His work of salvation (Mark 1:7-11).
The baptism of Jesus is for our sake - not His.
The sinless Son of God did not need a symbolic washing. Jesus's baptism was so that we would clearly see that the promised Saviour has come.
"Baptise" is from the Greek word "baptizein", which means "to immerse".
"I baptise you with water," says John to the crowds, "but He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit" (Mark 1:8).
God's beloved Son is publicly immersed in His own creation to show that He is entering into the deepest heart of that creation to cleanse, heal, restore and save, what His Father created through Him.
And a most wonderful event occurs - God the Holy Spirit appears, in bodily form, like a dove, as the Father speaks: "You are my beloved Son; my favour rests on You" (Mark 1:11).
Why the sign of a dove?
It was a dove that brought the news of new life to Noah after the Great Flood (Genesis 8:8-12).
A dove also has a singular gaze. "Your eyes are like doves," says the bridegroom to his bride in the Song of Songs (Songs 1:15).
The eyes of a dove are focused on its mate without any distractions.
Doves are well known as 'love birds'. The entire focus of God is on the salvation of the world: "For God so loved the world," (John 3:16).
We are the people upon whom God has set His heart (Deuteronomy 7:7); but also we are to set our hearts only on God. God the Holy Spirit, living in our hearts, teaches us to desire God alone.
When we truly give our hearts and lives to Jesus, we live only for Him.
He gives us power to become children of His Father (John 1:12) by sharing with us His Spirit (1 John 4:13).
When the Father's gift to us of His beloved Son is received with love and faith, the Spirit of God draws forth this response: "Apart from you, I want nothing on Earth... To be near God is my happiness. I have my hope in the Lord God." (Psalm 73:25-28).
Our souls rest, content as doves, roosting under the gaze of "Him whom my heart loves". (Songs 3:4)..