The Spirit as a Dove

Posted by Pastor Les on

A dove is the universal image in Christianity of the Holy Spirit. Why a dove? A dove suggests purity, meekness, innocence – all appropriate for the Spirit. A dove is not like the majestic eagle or a fierce hawk. It was common, the kind of bird poor people offered for sacrifice. Isaiah 42 suggests a possible answer. “Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations. He will not cry aloud or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street; a bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice. He will not grow faint or be discouraged till he has established justice in the earth…” Jesus has the power to bring justice to the nations in any way He chooses, but He will not use it to break a “bruised reed” or quench a “faintly burning wick.” He instead will be tender with the weak. As the Spirit descended as a dove, the Father was directing Jesus to use His power in meekness. And He did. “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” The Spirit comes in gentle power to apply Jesus’ work of redemption to bruised reeds and burnt wicks – like us!

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