Mark 1:9-11; Matthew 3:13-17; Luke 3:21-22 – The Holy Spirit Rests Upon the Immersed Yeshua

PDF


POSTED 04 NOVEMBER, 2017

“In those days Yeshua came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. Immediately coming up out of the water, He saw the heavens opening, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon Him; and a voice came out of the heavens: ‘You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased’” (Mark 1:9-11).

“Then Yeshua arrived from Galilee at the Jordan coming to John, to be baptized by him. But John tried to prevent Him, saying, ‘I have need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?’ But Yeshua answering said to him, ‘Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.’ Then he permitted Him. After being baptized, Yeshua came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him, and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased’” (Matthew 3:13-17).

“Now when all the people were baptized, Yeshua was also baptized, and while He was praying, heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven, ‘You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased’” (Luke 3:21-22).

reproduced from Salvation on the Line, Volume I

Questions about the nature of Yeshua have been asked throughout religious history, based on what took place at His immersion or baptism by John. As Yeshua emerged from the water, a voice from Heaven, clearly that of God the Father, spoke out “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased” (Matthew 3:17), which was a certain statement of approval about what the Messiah was about to perform.

In much of religious history, those who have held to some kind of low Christology may have perhaps proposed that at this point, Yeshua was to be regarded as the Son of the Father, and received some sort of Divine status. Often labeled as Adoptionism, the Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms defines it as, “A view of Jesus Christ that sees him as a human who was adopted or chosen by God to be elevated into being God’s divine Son or a member of the Trinity.”[1] The Pocket Dictionary of Theological Terms further describes it as, “The theory that asserts that God adopted Jesus of Nazareth as his Son. In other words, Jesus was born human but became God’s Son at a particular point in his life. This theory fails to reflect scriptural texts that point to Jesus’ eternal relationship with the Father (e.g., Jn 17:5).”[2]

Previously in the narrative of the Synoptics, John the Immerser/Baptist, preparing the way for Yeshua as the LORD or YHWH, is recorded (Mark 1:1-3; Matthew 3:2-3; Luke 3:3-6; cf. Isaiah 40:3-5). In the scene of Yeshua’s immersion by John, He states that He is to be immersed with the intention, “to fulfill all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15). The source text employs the verb plēroō, which here should be taken as regarding “to bring to a designed end, fulfill a prophecy, an obligation, a promise, a law, a request, a purpose, a desire, a hope, a duty, a fate, a destiny, etc.” (BDAG).[3] That Yeshua has now formally come on the scene, at this immersion or baptism by John, to begin to fulfill some significant prophetic expectations of Him from the Tanach, is fairly recognized.

Where does the terminology “My beloved Son” (ho huios mou ho agapētos) originate? One place to be considered would be in the descriptions of Abraham being willing to sacrifice his only son Isaac (Genesis 22:2, 12, 16). In the Gospel of Matthew, the appeal in Matthew 2:15 to the Hosea 1:11 statement of “OUT OF EGYPT I CALLED MY SON,” intertwines the mission of the Messiah with the narrative of Israel and Israel’s Kingdom in the Tanach. Wellum thinks that “My beloved Son” is a title taken from the statements of Psalm 2:7, “He said to Me, ‘You are My Son, today I have begotten You,’” and Isaiah 42:1, “Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold; My chosen one in whom My soul delights. I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the nations.” He sees a combination of factors in view when Yeshua is referred to as “My beloved Son,” which go back to statements and emphases previously witnessed:

“These words are probably a combination of Psalm 2:7 and Isaiah 42:1. Anyone familiar with the Old Testament would hear these words as messianic. Here is David’s greater son, who is also linked with the suffering servant who, in the words of Jesus himself, has come to ‘fulfill all righteousness’ (Matt. 3:15). Jesus, then, in this context understands himself to be the obedient Son who not only identifies with his people but in so doing has come to inaugurate God’s saving reign in this world. Moreover, the title ‘Son’ underscores this…[T]he title ‘Son’ takes on typological connotations—Jesus in all of his humanness is the fulfillment of Israel and supremely of David—but it is more than this. Given the emphasis on the virginal conception in Matthew and Luke (Matt. 1:18-15; cf. Luke 1:26-38), the emphasis on the ‘beloved’ (agapētos) Son, and the entire context of Jesus as the one who inaugurates God’s reign, it is certainly legitimate to regard Jesus’ sonship in more than merely functional terms. This title also carries a hint of ontological sonship (which is made explicit in such places as Matthew 11:25-27 and John’s Gospel).

“…[I]n the act of baptism and the affirmation of the Father, we have Jesus presented as the Davidic king who inaugurates God’s kingdom, the suffering servant and representative of his people, and the ‘Son’ of God both functionally and ontologically….”[4]

A reader of Yeshua’s immersion by John in Mark 1:9-11; Matthew 3:13-17; Luke 3:21-22 is on good footing in rejecting the theory of adoptionism—that Yeshua became Divine or anointed or chosen of God subsequent to His immersion in water, as there are statements made prior to this, supportive of His Divinity. What can be recognized is that at Yeshua’s immersion, this signaled the beginning of His fulfillment of all righteousness (Matthew 3:15), and with it the accomplishment of some significant Messianic prophecies. Yeshua being proclaimed as “My beloved Son” is primarily a declaration of His Messianic Kingship and association with the hopes and aspirations of Israel in the Tanach. And, it may be that “My beloved Son” has additional components to it, when the Sonship of the Messiah is described in other passages, more directly speaking of His Divine origins.


NOTES

[1] Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms, 4.

[2] Stanley J. Grenz, David Guretzki, and Cherith Fee Nordling, Pocket Dictionary of Theological Terms (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1999), 7.

[3] BDAG, 828.

The association of Matthew 3:15 with Matthew 5:17-19 following, is addressed in the author’s exegetical paper, “Has the Law Been Fulfilled?”, appearing in his book The New Testament Validates Torah.

[4] Wellum, “The Deity of Christ in the Synoptic Gospels,” in The Deity of Christ, pp 72-73.