And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him. – Matthew 3:16
Scripture reading: Matthew 3:13-17
Having been conceived and born by the Spirit, Jesus grew and became strong in the Spirit. Moreover, He was baptized by John in the Jordan. Because Israel had failed to participate in God’s mission for His glory by making Him visible on earth, John calls them to repent and be baptized with a baptism of repentance or else face the fire of God’s coming judgment.
Christ, however, identifies with Israel and is baptized just like Israel in order to fulfill all righteousness, even though He, as the true Israel, does not need a baptism of repentance. In doing so, as God’s beloved Son, He publicly and officially becomes Israel’s substitute and representative so that Israel can be freed from the curse of the law and can finally fulfill its role of bringing the blessing of Abraham to the nations, by making God visible on earth through being people and places where heaven and earth meet.
Having identified with Israel as their substitute and representative, Jesus was also baptized or anointed with the Spirit when He rose from the water of His baptism. Whereas being anointed with oil in the Old Testament symbolized being publicly consecrated for being a prophet, priest, or king and being empowered for these tasks by the Holy Spirit, Jesus is publicly consecrated and empowered for His task as Israel’s prophet, priest, and king directly by the Holy Spirit. Accordingly, Jesus will fulfill His mission in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Suggestions for prayer
Thank your heavenly Father that, because you share in the anointing of Christ, you participate in His ministry of prophet, priest, and king, and in doing so, you participate in God’s mission for His glory.
Rev. Dick Moes is pastor emeritus of the Surrey Covenant Reformed Church in Surrey, BC. He and his wife Elsina have five children and 14 grandchildren. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional.