When looking at the description of the baptism of Jesus, John the Baptist lets us know how the Lord told him he would recognize the Messiah. And that one cryptic statement is of profound importance. John the Baptist said he was told he would recognize the Lord when he saw the Holy Spirit descending and remaining on Him (John 1:31-32). Let’s look at this account in context.
And John bore witness, saying, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him. I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.'”
And why was John told to describe Jesus’ ministry as the One who will “baptize with the Holy Spirit? What does that even mean?
The Holy Spirit, Descending and Remaining?
The Lord obviously wanted us to know that when the Holy Spirit came upon Jesus, He descended and rested and remained on Him in a totally different fashion than what we see in the Old Testament. In the Old Testament, every time the Holy Spirit came upon somebody, He came upon them for a season, a short time, for a specific purpose. And then, when what the Holy Spirit wanted to accomplish was accomplished, the Holy Spirit was removed.
He came upon a carnal man like Samson. He did a mighty work and then the Holy Spirit was gone, leaving Samson still a carnal man. Same with King Saul and many others.
What is happening here? What does it mean for the Holy Spirit to be descending and remaining on Jesus? Let’s take a look at this together.