John 1:32-34 : John testified, saying, “I have seen the Spirit descending like a dove out of heaven, and it remained on him. 33 I didn’t recognize him, but he who sent me to baptize in water said to me, ‘On whomever you will see the Spirit descending and remaining on him is he who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.’ 34 I have seen, and have testified that this is the Son of God.”
John the author of this book records John the Baptist’s specific testimony concerning how he could tell that that Jesus was the one. It says that John saw something that appeared to be a dove, come down from the sky and “rest” on Jesus. John the Baptist explained that God told him that he should look for a sign like this. This is how the dove became a symbol of the Holy Spirit. This is another simple way in which God chose to represent Himself in a way that was easy enough for us to understand.
John told us another thing here. He said that Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit.
John only baptized with water. He was careful to tell us that Jesus’ baptism was far superior to his. Unlike the water that John baptized with, the Holy Spirit is a person:
John 16:13 : However when he, the Spirit of truth, has come, he will guide you into all truth, for he will not speak from himself; but whatever he hears, he will speak. He will declare to you things that are coming.
Unlike water, He gives power:
Acts 1:8 : But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you. You will be witnesses to me in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the uttermost parts of the earth.”
There is a very interesting similarity between the Holy Spirit and water when you become a Christian. Water can be in us and when we get into the water, we are also in it at the very same time. John is going to have a lot more to say about this later on in John 15.
Hearing John’s excitement as he speaks out about Jesus causes me to consider the amazing event that was happening on earth at this time. Not only did Jesus arrive to save us, but He came baptizing with the Holy Spirit which would change how we were to live. Things that no man could do up to that point, would now be done as you can read in the book of Acts. In fact, Christians today who “remain” in the Holy Spirit can live a life of power right now.