John 1:32-34 — The Holy Spirit & Jesus

Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.”

We have reflected considerably on this passage, where we encounter a profound moment when the Holy Spirit descends upon Jesus during his baptism. However, one intriguing question remains: If Jesus is the Son of God, did he not already possess the Holy Spirit? Why did he need the Holy Spirit to come upon him?

We must understand the multifaceted nature of Jesus' identity and mission to understand this. While Jesus is indeed the eternal Son of God, fully divine, and eternally one with the Father and the Spirit, his incarnation as a human being required him to fully identify with humanity. In taking on human form, Jesus subjected himself to the limitations and experiences of human life, including reliance on the Holy Spirit's empowerment.

By allowing the Holy Spirit to descend upon him, Jesus demonstrated his total submission to the Father's plan and his willingness to operate within the framework of human existence. It's the same reason he let John baptize him, as we saw earlier. This event marks the beginning of Jesus' public ministry, empowered by the Holy Spirit to fulfill his mission on earth.

Furthermore, the Holy Spirit's descent upon Jesus serves as a sign and validation of his messianic identity. Throughout the Old Testament, the anointing of the Holy Spirit was associated with appointing and equipping God's chosen leaders, prophets, and kings. In this instance, the Holy Spirit's descent upon Jesus clearly signifies that he is the promised Messiah, the "Anointed One," who would carry out God's redemptive work.

Additionally, the Holy Spirit's presence and empowerment in Jesus' life reveal the perfect unity and collaboration within the Trinity. While Jesus, as the Son, is one with the Holy Spirit, the descent of the Spirit upon him at this particular moment highlights the cooperative relationship within the Godhead and the unique roles each person plays in accomplishing God's purposes. 

Finally, the Holy Spirit's presence in Jesus' life serves as an example and model for us as believers. In his humanity, Jesus relied on the Holy Spirit for guidance, empowerment, and ministry. This reminds us of our need to be filled with the Holy Spirit and depend on his guidance and power in our own lives.

God bless you.