Why did the Spirit have to descend upon Jesus at baptism?

“And when Jesus was baptized, he went up immediately from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and alighting on him.” (Matthew 3:16)

How is this possible? Did Jesus not have the Holy Spirit already? Was he without the Holy Spirit when he was born (just like all of us)? I don’t think that’s possible. Is it?

why not possible?, everything is possible with God!, Although Christ does not need to be baptized, he did it, as we need to be baptized to receive the Holy Spirit. This text is very important as it reveals something that the Jews did not know, the Holy Trinity.

Just to clarify, we receive the Holy Spirit when we’re born again, not when we’re baptized.

he did not need to be baptized either to erase sin or to be “born again.” He did it for our benefit, establishing the sacraments of baptism and confirmation, to accept publicly the anointing of the Holy Spirit of prophets of Israel, to set an example for his followers, and in so doing claimed the power of the Holy Spirit for all humankind.

Are you implying that Christ did not have the Spirit as yet? Did Christ not have the Spirit till he “received” the Spirit at baptism?

The Holy Spirit is not a separate “thing” that Jesus received. The Father, Son and Spirit are one.

Being fully God, no one can “see” the Spirit since it has no form unless it chooses to take on one. What Scripture shows us, I believe, is God giving his children a visual confirmation that yes, kids, he’s not crazy, this IS my son so listen up!

What is the official Catholic teaching? From what point of time did he have the Holy Spirit? Did he “receive” it at baptism? Or did he have it from his conception?

I think it was a sign for us.

Jesus didn’t have to be baptized.
God didn’t need to speak.
The Holy Spirit didn’t have to descend.

But they did, and it pointed to the Trinity, and to the baptism that we receive in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

**536 **The baptism of Jesus is on his part the acceptance and inauguration of his mission as God’s suffering Servant. He allows himself to be numbered among sinners; he is already “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world”. Already he is anticipating the “baptism” of his bloody death. Already he is coming to “fulfill all righteousness”, that is, he is submitting himself entirely to his Father’s will: out of love he consents to this baptism of death for the remission of our sins. The Father’s voice responds to the Son’s acceptance, proclaiming his entire delight in his Son. The Spirit whom Jesus possessed in fullness from his conception comes to “rest on him”. Jesus will be the source of the Spirit for all mankind. At his baptism “the heavens were opened” - the heavens that Adam’s sin had closed - and the waters were sanctified by the descent of Jesus and the Spirit, a prelude to the new creation.

Ok. So he already had the Holy Spirit. I am having some difficulty though, understanding what it means when the Bible says the Spirit “descended” upon Jesus. If the Spirit was already in him, how could it descend upon him?

It sounds like your asking how could the Holy Spirit be in two places at the same time. If that’s what you mean then the answer is yes. Also the passage did not say that the Holy Spirit entered him, only that it alighted on him. Of course he had not need of baptism. He did it to show us that it was required of all.

It was a sign. As John Paul II stated, by naming it a “luminous” mystery.

The Spirit descending upon Christ is for our benefit, not His. :slight_smile:
Jesus is God robed in flesh. .

God bless,

Could you please provide me with a link to it?

I believe Gene Church is referring to "Rosarium Virginis Mariae" which I believe come out in 2002.

When Jesus entered the waters of Baptism, He sanctified them, and made them Holy. With His entrance, He joined the HS to the waters, so that those entering them could be born again. Prior to that time, baptism was for repentance, but the HS had not yet been poured out upon “all flesh”. The sign of the dove and the voice was for those observing, so that it would be revealed that Jesus is the Christ.

Jesus, in descending into the waters of baptism, elected to take on the sins of the world. This is pre-figured in the flood, where the earth was also submerged in water in order to be cleansed and purified of its sin.

At the end of the flood, the dove appears to signal that God has made peace with Noah and his family. The dove appears again at Jesus’ baptism to signify that through Jesus’ taking on of our sin and guilt, God will make peace with humanity once again.

My take on this is that Jesus Christ is with us in our Baptism. As He is also with us in our birth (when He is born of the Virgin), Marriage or Holy Orders (when He Marries the Church), Suffering (when He suffers on the Cross), death (when He dies for three days), and hopefully resurection the redemption of our bodies. Of course, this is no basis for not allowing infant Baptism because you can’t deny Christ to anyone.

Jn.1:29-32 reads "The next day (John the Baptist) he saw Jesus coming toward him and declared,"Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world."30. "This is he of whom I said, “after me comes a man who ranks ahead of me because he was before me.” I myself did not know him, but I came baptizing with water for this reason, that he might be revealed to Israel.32. And John testified, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him…
The one who sent me to baptize said to me,” He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.34. And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God."
Praise the Lord. :slight_smile:

God bless you,

Hey guys, I’ve got a new understanding of this (and correct me if I’m wrong).

The **bond of love ** between God the Father and his son Jesus is the Holy Spirit. When Jesus came to earth in human flesh, this bond was not broken and still existed. At baptism, this bond of love (the Holy Spirit) was made visible to John (John 1:32) and to Christ as well (with his human eyes). So the descending of the Spirit on Christ is not an event that took place in time but it is something that was made visible to the human eye (of John and Jesus) at that moment.

In a sense, it was the revelation of the Trinity.
Am I right?

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