From his floating home, Noah eagerly awaited God's sign of peace and purity. What would God do with the world he had plunged into darkness a year earlier? How would Noah know what to do with God's buoyant, Eden-box? Noah was so fragile, so small, so completely dependendent, and so optionless in those days. The creation had to wait entirely upon the will of the Creator. Would the great God keep his promise? Would he cleanse the world and simultaneously rescue humanity?
Across the horizon, the answer came gracefully and heaven-like; nothing like the flood which preceded it. The white dove was a glorious touch of elegance and beauty while the branch it held brought power and hope and delight. Think about how one, simple olive branch could mean so much. When is the last time you wept for joy over a stick? Or threw a party for a branch?
What was in that branch? It was the taste of the new world and a clean start with God. It was as if the bird was indicating the sailing direction to shalom. Instead of leaving our world as a blue planet, a bird and a branch signaled God's offer of peace was just ahead.
Again, as Jesus emerges from the water with the Dove hovering over him, God the Father signals to humanity the peace offering and the way to final shalom. The Bird carries the Branch to us.
Applying this Picture
Baptized Jesus is the preview, the foretaste, of God's pure world to come. Similar to the branch in Noah's hand, the ascended Christ and indwelling Spirit give us the reality of hope. We are not hoping in a wish or a legend. Rather, our hope has an anchor in the living God and a secure future in his glorious Kingdom.
This is called Resurrection Hope. You see, it was the Branch of God (Jesus) that was submerged in the flood of death but arose as our Living Hope. Jesus was deluged with the correct and just wrath of God. For the Christian believer, this flood will never happen again. The Father flooded the Son to offer his new world and life to us. And now, the Holy Spirit descends into our hearts and confirms the Bible is true. Peace has been offered and peace has been made for you.