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Theology > Jesus > Baptism and Temptations > Messiah Anointed   


When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. and suddenly a voice came from heave, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matt. 3:16-17).

Christ is anointed with the Holy Spirit, thereby confirming His identification and also empowering Him for the ministry ahead that would culminate in His death, and beyond death His resurrection; additionally, the relationship of Christ to the Father is manifested. In the anointing is an announcement expressing who Jesus is, His relationship to the Father, and the Father’s pleasure in the Son.

Jesus is the Messiah

The baptism is the public declaration of Jesus as the Messiah. He is designated, commissioned, and empowered. The baptism does not constitute Jesus as the Messiah but publically reveals Him to be the Messiah. From eternity He is the Messiah, the Anointed Son of God, the One destined in eternity to accomplish man’s salvation in time. According to Peter He is the Lamb “without blemish and without spot. He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world” (1:19-20). Numerous predictions appear in the Old Testament:

There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots. The Spirit of Yahweh shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of Yahweh (Isa. 11:1-2);

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; and the coastlands wait for His law (Isa. 42:1-4);

The Spirit of the Lord [Adonai] Yahweh is upon Me, because Yahweh has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captivities, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of Yahweh, and the day of vengeance of our God (Isa. 61:1-2).

Jesus is anointed by the Spirit for the preaching/teaching ministry that is ahead—teaching concerning the Kingdom, a Kingdom that begins small but grows to include all eternity. So the baptism publically inaugurates the final struggle between God’s Kingdom and Satan’s kingdom, or, in other words, the struggle between the City of God and the City of Man, to use the concepts of Augustine.

Christ is the Son of the Father

Following His baptism the Father publicly declares: “This is My beloved Son” (Matt. 3:17). In the previous verses (vs. 13-16), which describe the baptism, the One John baptizes is referred to as “Jesus” three times; and then the earthly Jesus is identified as the Son, meaning the heavenly One. Jesus is Messiah and is the Son. During His public ministry, Peter, with revelation from the Father in heaven, says of Jesus: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matt. 16:16); Jesus is both “Christ” and “Son.”

“Son” speaks of the work of the Trinity in Redemption: it is the Father who plans and sends the Son, and it is the Son who executes the saving plan on earth. Though ontologically the Father and Son are equal in that both partake of the full attributes of Deity, in the work of salvation the Son has humbled Himself, even submitting to death in order to do the will of the Father. All of this is ultimately a mystery and defies comprehension by man—reason has its limitations. Faith accepts what it cannot understand and cannot explain; and the one approved by God lives by faith not by sight.

The Father is Pleased with the Son

The Father refers to the Son as “My Beloved.” It is impossible to enter into the meaning of this statement, for the statement arises from the essential essence of the Trinity. Within the Trinity is identity and distinction, unity and particularity, and the relationship is love; in fact the Scriptures associate love with God, the very nature of God: “God is love” (I Jo. 4:8).

Testimony to this eternal relationship between Father and Son is found in the Old Testament: “You are My Son, today I have begotten You” (Ps. 2:7), and “My Chosen, in whom My soul delights” (Isa. 42:1).

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