Question: My preacher said that when the Lord Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, the man Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit. But the Bible declares that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Trinity) are three in one and working side by side. My understanding was always that His baptism was a “confirmation” that He (Jesus) was truly the Messiah of Isaiah 53 and other places in the Old Testament.
Response: Concerning the Messiah to come, Isaiah wrote, “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots” (Isaiah:11:1). Isaiah:11:2 tells us, “And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him...of wisdom and understanding,...counsel and might,...knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.” The Hebrew meaning is “to rest, settle down, and remain.” The word “rest” indicates a permanent dwelling.
The anointing of the Holy Spirit came “upon” Jesus when He was baptized, giving a visible testimony witnessed by those present. John the Baptist was reluctant to baptize Jesus because he knew who He was, but Jesus insisted. “John [said], I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?” (Matthew:3:14). Jesus said, “Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness” (3:15). Jesus wasn’t being baptized to receive the Holy Spirit but to “fulfill all righteousness.”
John the Baptist was “filled with the Holy Spirit” (Luke:1:15) before he was born: “For he shall be great...and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb.” John testified of Jesus, “There cometh one mightier than I after me...whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose” (Mark:1:7). If the forerunner of Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit prior to his birth, can we not conclude that the One who “is mightier” would also be?