Thinking about the baptism of Jesus, it’s an amazing moment because it’s one of the few times in Scripture where you see all three Persons of the Trinity at work simultaneously. If you aren’t familiar with the passage, as John baptizes Jesus, the Holy Spirit descends upon him and the Father’s voice sounds from Heaven.
It occurred to me that John didn’t have magical water, and John didn’t possess the power to summon the Holy Spirit and force Him to descend upon Jesus. That pretty much, every element in this scene has power only because God ordained that it should be that way. That God wanted to descend on Jesus as the Holy Spirit and that Jesus was submitting to the baptism because the Father wanted it, and the Father was pleased with Jesus because the Father was pleased with him. Not because of Magic Water ™ or John The Baptizing Magician.
So where does that leave us? Well, let me recast the entire scenario as a family.
Mom is gardening. While she’s pruning her rose bush, she clips off a rose and trims off the thorns. Then she calls over her daughter, hands her the rose, and says, “Give this gift to Daddy.”
The little girl runs to her father, gives him the rose, and says, “Daddy! This is a gift for you! I love you!”
Daddy takes the rose from the little girl and gives her a big hug and a kiss.
Now in this scenario, Daddy knows full well that the rose was actually clipped and dethorned by Mommy, and that Daughter was simply the vehicle for transferring the rose from one to another. In reality, it’s Mommy saying “I love you” to Daddy, but she’s giving the daughter a chance to participate in the family love.
But you can see how the love grows by passing it through a third party. Mommy gives Daughter a means of telling Daddy she loves him. Daddy replies to daughter that he loves her and appreciates her gift, meaning the daughter gets to feel good twice. And overall, Daddy knows that Mommy loves him and was thinking of him while she gardened.
Moreover, Mommy is modeling for the daughter what it is to give, and Daddy is modeling what it is to receive.
Jesus said that whatever we do to the least member of the kingdom of God, we’ve done to him. But what we give to others is something that was first given to us by God.
So in a way, it’s God ministering to God, using us as the go-between. That God the Father loves God the Son so much (and vice versa) that it overspills the two of them, manifests as the Holy Spirit, and then flows from the image of God inside us back to God. We learn over time how to do it better, but we’re still only being servants who have given no more than we’ve received.
We minister to one another, and in doing so, God touches God. God receives mercy and goodness and charity from our hands and from His Own hands.