Fr Stefan reflects on the anointing and baptism of the Lord

This Sunday we well read, “You know that the word that he sent to the Israelites as he proclaimed peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all, what has happened all over Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached, how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power. He went about doing good and healing all those oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.”(Jn10:37-38)

Did Jesus need to be baptized? Did Jesus need to receive the Holy Spirit? Jesus need to receive the Holy Spirit in His Humanity. The answer is Yes. Saint Cyril writes, “Christ ‘received the Spirit’ in so far as he was a man, and as far as a man as man could receive the Spirit. He did so in such a way that, though he is the Son of God the Father, begotten of his substance, even before the incarnation, indeed before all the ages, yet he was not offended at hearing the Father say to him after he had become man: You are my Son; today I have begotten You…..So the Father can be said to give the Spirit again to the Son, though the Son possesses the Spirit as his own, in order that we receive the Spirit in Christ.”

Jesus needed to receive the Holy Spirit, because as Peter said in acts, “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and Power. He went about doing good and healing all those oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.”(Jn 10:38)

The baptism of Jesus corresponds to Pentecost. Jesus says to his disciples, “And behold I send the promise of my Father upon youm but stay in the city, until you are clothed with power from on high.”(Lk24:49) As the early church needed the power from on high, Jesus also needed this power from on high. It is not by accident that Jesus begins his public ministry with His Baptism.

Pope Benedict on Pentecost May 11, 2008 said,”We read in the Acts of the Apostles that the disciples were praying all together in the Upper Room when the Holy Spirit descended upon them forcefully, as wind and as fire. They then began to proclaim in many tongues the Good News of Christ’s Resurrection. (2:1-4) This was the ‘Baptism of the Holy Spirit’ which was foretold by John the baptist: ‘I baptize you with water, he said to the crowds, ‘but he who is coming after me is mightier than I…; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and Fire.'(Mat 3:11) In fact, Jesus entire mission aimed at giving the Spirit of God to men and women and at baptizing them in his regenerative ‘bath.’ This was brought about with his glorification (Jn 7:39) that is through his death and Resurrection; then the Spirit of God was poured out in superabundance, like a cascade capable of purifying every heart, extinguishing the fire of evil and kindling flame of divine love in the world.”

To quote John Paul II, “‘ Baptizing in the Holy Spirit’ mean regenerating humanity with the Power of God’s Spirit. That is what the Messiah does… Having acquired this fullness, Jesus the Messiah can give the new baptism in the Spirit of whom he is full (Jn 1:33; Acts 24:29) From his glorified humanity, as a fountain of living water, the Spirit will flow over the world.”

This Sunday when we celebrate the Baptism of the Lord let us as Jesus to fill us with His Holy Spirit.

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