the dove

What is there about the dove, I wonder? Why did the Spirit descend like a dove?

dove by contemporary artist sue kemnitz

In a vision, John the baptist saw a dove land on Jesus before it happened. (John 1:32-34) The vision was given so John could know, and not doubt. He saw the dove land on Jesus, meaning Jesus is the One. The One whom John was sent to prepare the way for.

A bird landing on Jesus? That draws our attention. Why a dove?

Several other birds come to mind.

Why not a stately eagle? Proud and strong. However, it might be hard to see through the feathers and the sharp talons could be painful.

Why not a sparrow? God cares about them (though He loves us more.) For sure then, the sparrow could be “along for the ride.”

Why not a cardinal? Beautiful, a bold red, and colorful. Color is good—I like color.

The dove is a common symbol, often meaning peace. Innocent and harmless. They were the only birds that could be sacrificed at the temple, according to The Law, the implication being that they are pure and clean. Psalm 68 mentions a dove whose wings are as yellow as gold. I’d love to see that one.

However, I believe a dove was purposefully chosen because the dove signals a new season. Back on the arc, Noah sent the dove out (three times, I remember Pastor Doyal saying) and the third time the dove returned with an olive leaf. This was a sign that it was time for them to return to land and rebuild their community.

God chose the dove to land on Jesus because Jesus is not only the “reason for the season,” He is the new season. A season of joy and laughter instead of mourning. Of gentleness and kindness rather than pride. Of forgiveness direct from heaven. Justice. And – as the disciple John points out more than anyone, a season of love. Pure, righteous, brilliant love. Jesus, and His works, display the heart of the Father. He forgives. He redeems, He loves.

Last year when Bill Johnson spoke at NewDay, I painted a dove during worship. When I went home, there was a white dove sitting next to my driveway. I approached Bill Johnson the next day and told him about it. As Bill does well, he prompts us to go further, “Did you invite him in?” No. I can’t say the thought came to mind.

The dove continued to remain on Jesus. Will you let Him in? Will you “go” so He can “remain?” Will you walk in rest and peace so as not to scare, or worry, Him off?

“And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.” John 1:32-34

Will the dove remain on you today? At peace? In love? Expectant of adventure?

sue
Only believe!

DesignStudios-Inc.comRevivalArtists.comCFAI.co
Daily Painters of Minnesota
International Abstract Artists
dove prints

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    • Cindy
    • June 20th, 2012

    I love your blogs, Sue! This one is really fun because I was contemplating the reason for the dove this past week, too! i love what you wrote about it.

    Lots of significance to doves. They surely represent gentleness (the dictionary uses that word in their definition of “dove,” they also say “opponent of war” and synonyms are: “pacifist” and “peacenik.” Not sure what peacenik means exactly, but all seem to point to peace which is what Jesus brought us. Peace in knowing our salvation is secure and He is with us, has a perfect plan for us, and loves us beyond our ability to imagine. Amazing God!

    Thanks and blessings!

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