Jesus Baptism

            I have in the past written about Jesus’ baptism by John and the significance of Jesus doing what He did on earth not as a man under the anointing of the Spirit. In some way He set aside His divine attributes Here I want to look at what I believe took place at Jesus baptism. This requires bringing together Isaiah 11:1-2, 61:1-2, which Luke 4:18-19 quotes, and Ephesians 4:11. Years ago I made some notes in my bible regarding the connection between Ephesians 4:11and Isaiah 11:1-2 and they sat there until recently when a friend asked for my thoughts and on Isaiah 11:1-2 and it reminded me of my notes.

            At John’s baptism of Jesus, the Spirit came and rested on Him and the Father spoke from heaven and endorsed Him (Matthew 3:16-17). When He publicly proclaimed Himself as the Messiah in Nazareth Jesus read Isaiah 61 in the synagogue and told them the scripture was fulfilled.  

18 “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; 19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” 20 Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. 21 And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” Luke 4:18–21 (NKJV)

This is where Isaiah 11 and Ephesians 4 come in. Ephesians 4 describes Jesus ascension gifts to the church as apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. In His earthly ministry Jesus expressed the fullness of each of these five gifts. We see that in Isaiah 11. I here present it twice; the second time just verse 2 with some added words in brackets to illustrate what I am saying.

1 There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, And a Branch shall grow out of his roots. 2 The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him, The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of counsel and might, The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD. Isaiah 11:1-2 (NKJV)

2 The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him, The Spirit of wisdom (apostle) and understanding (prophet), The Spirit of counsel (shepherd/pastor) and might (evangelist), The Spirit of knowledge (teacher) and of the fear of the LORD. Isaiah 11:2 (NKJV)

            This passage in Isaiah is well known as referring to the coming Messiah, Jesus. The other aspect is that it is generally referred to as the seven-fold Spirit resting on Jesus. I have never been able to see the seven-fold aspect here. The passage speaks of the Holy Spirit coming to rest on Jesus at His baptism and imparting the fullness of the apostolic, prophetic, evangelistic, pastoral and teaching gifts. The passage then continues with the first line of Isaiah 11:3, “3 His delight is in the fear of the Lord.” The fear of Yahweh is not a gift resulting from Jesus’ baptism or obedience. It is the heart attitude He carried to His baptism!

  In Hebrew the word delight is very interesting. Spirit in each reference in Isaiah 11:2 is Ruach (7307 in Strong’s) spirit, breath, wind. Delight is Ruach with a slightly different accent (7306 in Strong’s) and is the root of 7307. It carries the sense of anticipation, as if we begin to smell something and anticipate more, hence the translation as delight.  

The fear of Yahweh in relation to Jesus’ humanity brings me to what my friend Evelyn said years ago when I asked her how she defined the fear of the Lord. She said, “Loving Him so much I would never do anything to offend Him.” Jesus certainly lived that way before His Father.

In conclusion, Jesus was baptized in water and the Spirit at the same time and the fruit of that experiences was a full release into His ministry. We all have gifts and callings. To fully walk in them I think we need to learn how to ‘love Him so much that we will never do anything to offend Him.’ Making that our delight will allow Him to move through us in His fullness.


I think what is often missed in discussing freedom is the distinction between ‘freedom to’ and ‘freedom from.’ I may be free to engage in illegal activities, I am not free from the physical consequences if caught and in God’s economy I am never free from the moral consequences. A further example, I am free to jump off a very high cliff, I am not free from the sudden stop at the bottom, unless of course I have a parachute, glider or squirrel suit! Any of these additions enhance my freedom to overcome my freedom from.

Romans 8 encapsulates how Jesus provides freedom from when we exercise our freedom to embrace the gospel.

1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Romans 8:1–4 (NKJV)

The law of the Spirit of life in Jesus provides freedom from the penalty of the law, I overcome the law of sin and death when I walk according to the Spirit. Given the freedom to that is found in following the Spirit let us turn to prayer and apply the concept.  

I don’t know about you, I do know about me, I don’t always find prayer a delight, in fact often it can be difficult. I know that I always have freedom to pray. I also know that I am not free from the things that hinder prayer, things that include distractions, time pressures or just a feeling of trying to slog through spiritual mud. The reality is that prayer works, which is why it is so opposed in the spiritual realm. This leads to a question of how we incorporate freedom from into our prayer lives, something that would provide the ability to overcome the hinderances in our freedom to. 

            To go back to my analogy of needing a parachute or something similar as freedom from the restrictions of gravity, in prayer my freedom from is anchored in a verse He spoke to me over 30 years ago. I have never forgotten it.

13 A fire shall always be burning on the altar; it shall never go out. (Leviticus 6:13 NKJV)

The original version of the NKJV said, “There shall be a perpetual fire on the altar; It shall never go out.” What stood out for me all those years ago was the phrase “perpetual fire.”

            A fire needs fuel, without fire the sacrifice would simply lay on the altar and without fuel a fire cannot be sustained. In my experience I find that worship is the fuel that feeds the fire of intercession. Whether worshipping in a corporate setting or hiking in the mountains and quietly worshipping as I walk, I find prayer rising up from my spirit. There are other occasions in any given day that I am drawn to pray for someone or something but the regular fuel is worship. When I choose to worship intercession is released. The next time you find prayer a challenge try adding some fuel to your fire. Engage in worship, become from restrictions and let the incense ascend.  

            Here is a good song to kickstart the process. Jason Upton, Freedom Reigns