Tagged: Holy Spirit

Matthew 3:13-17

This text is used for the Lectionary Year A on January 12, 2014.

There have been two consistent themes from the beginning of the gospel of Matthew.  The first is the theme of fulfillment.  The second is the theme of royalty. Both are present in this scene.  Jesus was recognized as the fulfillment of God’s plan on earth.  His birth was predicted (Matthew 1:21).  His survival was predicted (Matthew 2:13).  His herald was predicted (Matthew 3:3).  And finally, in the climactic baptismal scene, God himself spoke a word of affirmation, as he revealed Jesus to be his own beloved son.

Jesus was also introduced as the royal king.  Jewish kings had to be anointed by a prophet before they could assume the powers and responsibilities of the throne (1 Samuel 10:1; 15:1; 16:1; 2 Kings 9:6).  Matthew described an evil king who sought to usurp that process and kill the righteous king.  The righteous king prevailed only through divine intervention.  And in the baptism of Jesus, the righteous king was cleansed in water, and anointed by the presence of the Holy Spirit.  In the Old Testament the anointing was thought to be a symbol of the presence and empowering of the Holy Spirit (1 Samuel 16:13).  Jesus voluntarily submitted to the rite of purification, was publicly anointed by the Holy Spirit, and was proclaimed to be God’s royal Son.

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