As Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. . . .
John had baptized many people in the Jordan River before Jesus came to be baptized there. Jesus, who had no sin, had no need to repent. But John baptized him because Jesus said, “It is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15). Here, as Jesus set out to begin his teaching ministry and his mission to save us from sin and death, he was being anointed as the Messiah. In this role he would be the king and representative of a renewed people of God. He would be anointed by the Holy Spirit, and then, through Jesus, God’s people would receive the Spirit as well.
When Jesus came up out of the water in the Jordan, he saw heaven “torn open” and the Holy Spirit coming down in the form of a dove to anoint him. This showed that God was returning to live among his people, as he had done in the tabernacle (see Oct. 8). Where else have we seen water and the Spirit of God described as a bird? We saw it in Genesis 1:2, with the Spirit hovering over the waters. And here, in Jesus the Son, who came to live among us as a human being, God was working to renew our relationship with himself.
After his anointing, Jesus was sent by the Spirit into the wilderness. There, like Adam and Eve, he was tempted by Satan. But Jesus succeeded where they had not (Luke 4:1-13).
Lord, fill us with your Spirit too, that we may work with you at renewing your world. Amen.
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