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Heaven anoints the new king

January 29, 2015

When Jesus is baptized and ascends from the water, the heavens open and he sees the Spirit of God descend upon him like a dove (Mt. 3:16). The same heavenly Spirit that conceived Jesus in his mother’s womb now anoints the Christ for his kingly rule in the new kingdom of heaven. This anointing from the heavens means the kingdom of (and from) the heavens has begun. In the Spirit, the new king will rule–giving new commands, promising new rewards, and gathering new followers.

After the Spirit rests on Jesus, a voice from the heavens announces, “This is my beloved son, with whom I am pleased” (Mt. 3:17). This confirms that Jesus is God’s anointed son; it fulfills on a new level the words of Psalm 2:7. In Ps. 2:2 the kings of the earth are against the Lord and his anointed one. In Ps. 2:4-7 the Lord enthroned in the heavens responds by laughing and decreeing to his new anointed king: “You are my son; today I have begotten you.”

The voice from the heavens in Mt. 3:17 also remembers Isa. 42:1–about God’s servant, with whom God is pleased. God will put the Spirit on this servant and he will faithfully bring justice (righteousness) to the nations (Gentiles). (Isa. 42:1-4 is quoted later by Matthew in 12:17-21, where Jesus says he fulfills Isaiah’s words.) Jesus is the Spirit anointed king, the beloved son who will reign by faithfully serving and righteously pleasing his heavenly Father. His kingdom from heaven will gather righteous disciples from all over the earth.

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