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Verse 16

Matthew 3:16. And Jesus, when he was baptized, &c. Hereby he was, 1st, installed into his ministerial office, as the priests were by washing, Exodus 29:4; Leviticus 8:6; Leviticus 2:0 d, engaged solemnly in the same military work with us against sin and Satan; 3d, admitted a member of the gospel Church, as he was before of the Jewish, by circumcision; 4th, he was baptized as a public person, the Head of his Church, in whom, and by virtue of whose baptism, all his members are baptized spiritually, Romans 6:4; Colossians 2:12. Went up straightway out of the water Or, as the original, ανεβη απο του υδατος , rather signifies, ascended from the water, namely, went up from the banks of Jordan. The heavens were opened unto him For his sake, appearing as if they had been rent asunder directly over his head. It is probable they might resemble that opening of the heavens which we often see in a time of great lightning, when the sky seems to divide, to make the fuller and clearer way for the lightning: although, doubtless, this was much more striking and glorious. And he saw Christ himself saw, and also John the Baptist, as appears by John 1:33-34; and by this he was further confirmed that this was the very Christ: the Spirit of God descending like a dove Not only in a hovering, dove-like motion, but, it seems, with a bright flame, in the shape of a dove, for St. Luke says, Luke 3:22, σωματικω ειδει , ωσει περιστεραν , in a bodily shape, as a dove. See also John 1:32. The Holy Spirit descended upon him in this form to signify what Christ Isaiah , 1 st, in his own nature to them that come to him, meek and loving; 2d, in the execution of his office, reconciling us to the Father, and bringing us good tidings of peace and reconciliation, as the dove brought Noah tidings of the deluge being assuaged; 3d, in the operations of his Spirit upon his people, whereby they are made meek, lowly, and harmless as doves. And lighting upon him As a visible token of a new degree of the Holy Ghost’s operation in Christ, now at his entrance upon his public employment, even of that Spirit by which, according to the intimations God had given in his word, he was anointed in a peculiar manner, and abundantly fitted for his public work. Psalms 45:7; Isaiah 61:1. And thus was Christ installed into his ministerial function, both by baptism and the unction of the Holy Ghost, as the priests of old were by washing and anointing.

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