“The Holy Spirit
Descended upon Jesus
In a bodily form,
Like a dove.”
καὶ καταβῆναι τὸ Πνεῦμα τὸ Ἅγιον σωματικῷ εἴδει ὡς περιστερὰν ἐπ’ αὐτόν,
The role of the Holy Spirit after the baptism of Jesus was very important. Matthew, chapter 3:16, Mark, chapter 1:10, and John, chapter 1:32, are almost the same as here. Luke said that the Holy Spirit (τὸ Πνεῦμα τὸ Ἅγιον) descended (καὶ καταβῆναι) upon Jesus (ἐπ’ αὐτόν) in a bodily form (σωματικῷ εἴδει), like a dove (ὡς περιστερὰν). John did not mention a dove, but he said that John the Baptist saw the Holy Spirit descend and remain on Jesus. In Matthew and Mark, Jesus saw the Holy Spirit as a dove descend on him. This all took place after the baptism itself. Just as the dove after the great flood in Genesis, chapter 8:8-12, heralded a new age, so too Jesus would preach the good news in this new age. With his prophetic vocation, Jesus had the power to begin his public ministry of healing and exorcising. The later concept of the anointing of Jesus with the Spirit referred to this action of the dove, after his baptism in the Jordan River. There was a clear distinction between the baptism of Jesus himself, and the specific dove bestowal of the Spirit that followed. Despite the fact that there was no indication of any real anointing in any of these baptismal accounts of Jesus, the coming of the Spirit, in the form of a dove, was considered a symbolic anointing of Jesus within the Judaic prophetic line. This incident functioned as the basis for an understanding of Jesus’ metaphorical anointing to become “the anointed one,” “Christ.” This symbolic metaphorical anointing action gathered many of the Hebrew bible strands of a messianic king, a sacerdotal high priest, a servant, and a prophet into this one event. Within this process, the messianic time began with a pre-figuration of what was going to take place at the later Pentecost event, when the fullness of the Spirit came to all the followers of Jesus.