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Here is the passage in question:

Matthew 3:16-17: "After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him, and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, 'This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased'" (emphasis added).

We also learn of this great moment in Jesus' ministry from the Book of Acts:

Acts 10:38: "You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power" (emphasis added).

Would this be considered an "anointing" as Jesus is baptized and 1) the H/S descends upon Him, 2) the Father thunders from heaven (cf. Jn. 12:28-29)?

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    Sorry, it's late (Bible Study). I would very much like to reword this question. Despite having read the guidelines, I still do not have much confidence posting questions. That is why, when asked to rate others' questions (Review Queue), I don't feel I have the right to do so as my own are closed frequently. Might it be OK to ask something like this?: "Was Jesus anointed upon His baptism, when the Holy Spirit descended on Him like a dove, and the Father spoke from heaven (Matt. 3:16-17)?" This seems to be an "anointing"; I can find no other instance where this ever occurred to Him.
    – Xeno
    Jul 1 at 5:21
  • @Xeno I think that would be a great question!
    – curiousdannii
    Jul 1 at 10:29
  • Baptism is a continuation of Jewish practice; it has no new meaning except the declaration or ritual of faith in the Messiah jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/2456-baptism
    – Michael16
    Jul 1 at 14:16
  • @curiousdannii Well it doesn't seem fair that a question can be closed by a single vote and requires five to reopen it. Basically, lots of questions are closed here when the questioner had no idea of either the rules/opinions of that one person who closes it, and not enough vote power to get it reopened. Sadly, many never dare post a question again. I only posted one once. It was closed. Then it was reopened by the one who had closed it after having edited it to make it "acceptable." Then it was closed again by someone--where it died, likely never to return. I sympathize with Xeno.
    – Polyhat
    Jul 1 at 23:00
  • @Polyhat Only moderators can close with one vote, and there are only three of us. I try to use that power only when I'm sure a question doesn't meet the site standards, if it's borderline then I'll wait to see how others think.
    – curiousdannii
    Jul 1 at 23:29
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Yes, but this wasn't the only time He was anointed.


The NT verb frequently rendered "to anoint" is the Greek χρίω ("chrió"); its close relationship with the Hebrew מָשַׁח mashach is perhaps most clearly acknowledged by Jesus' quotation of Isaiah 61:1, as recorded in Luke 4:

18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel...

The verb here in the Hebrew is מָשַׁח and in Greek (both Luke & the Septuagint) is χρίω. "To anoint" can be very specifically used to mean applying oil in an ordinance such as was done for Aaron and his sons (see Exodus 28:41), but it can also be more generally used as a symbol of consecration (numerous examples in Exodus) or authority (such as in 1 Samuel 15:1).

In ancient Israel a king was anointed, and in Jewish belief the Messiah was to be anointed--the word means "the anointed one". The Messiah was anointed to perform a specific work--2nd temple era Jewish expectations differed about what exactly that work would be, but they expected someone endowed with power from and set apart for a specific purpose by God.

In this sense, that anointing represents a consecration to a holy purpose, I've suggested elsewhere on the site that this happened to Jesus on more than one occasion. Thus, in my view, acknowledging that Jesus was indeed anointed at the time of His baptism does not mean this was the only time He was anointed.

His Baptism

Acts 10:38 speaks of anointing with two specific things: 1) the Holy Spirit 2) power.

At His baptism Jesus was acknowledged by God and endowed with power. This neither means that God didn't accept Jesus before His baptism nor that Jesus had no power before that time--but this was a very public declaration of Jesus' unique position, comparable to (and eternally more significant than) the anointing of an earthly king.

The presence of the Holy Spirit at Jesus' baptism is explicit. The endowment of power is a touch more implicit--it is after this time that Jesus begins public miracles and makes the aforementioned bold pronouncement of Luke 4:18.

Other anointings?

Jesus' baptism is certainly the clearest example of anointing with the Holy Spirit. But what about power?

  • For those who believe in Jesus' pre-mortality (I do), passages such as John 17:5, 2 Tim 1:9, Rev. 13:8, and others, suggest that Jesus was anointed and set apart for His role as Savior before the foundation of the world
  • By the age of 12 Jesus was already demonstrating a power beyond natural, human abilities (Luke 2:46-47)
  • An angel was sent to Jesus in Gethsemane, strengthening Him to fulfil His mission (Luke 22:42-43)
  • Jesus sought solitude and strength from God on a number of occasions

Conclusion

In a general sense, Jesus was sanctified ("set apart") multiple times at different stages of His ministry, and He was given power from His Father in a variety of settings. In a very specific sense though, His baptism is presented in the Gospels as the point at which He was publicly anointed with the Holy Spirit and with power.

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    Nice answer, upvoted +1, BUT, I think I like mine better. Jul 3 at 10:12
  • @HoldToTheRod This is a good answer: +1. I just have a question about your assertion regarding Luke 4:18: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel..." The question, I believe, relates directly to Jesus' encounter in Luke 3:21b-22: "[Heaven] was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven, “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.” Wasn't Lk. 3 when Jesus received this authority and power you mention, and isn't this also the same moment being related in Acts 10:38?
    – Xeno
    Jul 4 at 21:54
  • @Xeno I do believe that Luke 4:18 & Acts 10:38 refer to the events of Luke 3:21-22 -- I just wouldn't go so far as to say that they refer only to Luke 3:21-22. I'm open to the interpretation that Jesus was anointed to preach the gospel on more than one occasion, including prior to His birth. Jul 6 at 4:12
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Was Jesus anointed upon his baptism (Matt, 3:16-17) ?

Aside from the fact that being the 'Only Begotten Son' of God, in his pre-earthly existence and thus set apart from all other spiritual beings for special purposes, his true calling was to be an earthly one, in the guise of Jesus, the Christ (from the Greek 'Christos' meaning 'the anointed one', translated from the Hebrew word Masiah/Messiah).

To answer this question, as to whether Jesus became 'the anointed one' at his baptism, or at some other time, one needs to take note of Dan, 9:25 [NASB]...

"So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty two weeks; ...."

Messiah can also mean 'anointed ruler', and we are told in the above verse that he became thus at the end of the "...seven weeks and sixty two weeks", which was at his death, in the spring of 33 AD, - for an in depth exegesis on Daniel's '70 Weeks' prophecy, you can see my answer to the following question Are the 70 weeks of Daniel and Jeremiah prophecies about the Babylonian exile of the 6th century BC or about the age of the Messiah? - at the end of his 3 1/2 year ministry, which started with his baptism in the Fall of 29 AD. Consequently, although Jesus was initially anointed by the 'spirit of God', at his baptism, after the Father's thunderous proclamation...Matt, 3:16-17, that was not the 'ultimate' anointing, as this came after his death, when he fulfilled the 6th and final point of Dan, 9:24 "...and to anoint the most holy place", whereupon on arriving back into the heavenly realm, he sat at the right hand of God, in the 'Holiest of Holies', to begin his 'princely' rule. The 'kingly' rule, of course, being yet future.

NB:-

It is worth noting Acts 13:32,33 at this point, in regard to Jesus' resurrection, subsequent to his anointing in the 'Holiest of Holies'...

32 "And we preach to you the good news of the promise made to the fathers,33 that God has fulfilled this promise to our children in that He raised up Jesus, as it is also written in the second Psalm, THOU ART MY SON; TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN THEE."

The above is a translation from the NASB, whereas other translations, as far as the capitalized letters are concerned, an example being within the NWT, say:-"You are my son, I have become your Father this day."

Both translations, of this final part of 33, are a little misleading. Jesus was BEGOTTEN of the Father in the beginning, as per 'John's prologue', but here 'BEGOTTEN' means 'of the dead' and 'the Father' is renewing his identification to the son (see Barnes' notes on 33). The Greek word 'gegenneka', in the NWT's Greek interlinear (KIT of the GS), translates this as 'have generated', meaning 'caused to arise or come about', "... son of me are you, I today have generated you.", which IMO is a much better rendering of the original writer's (Paul's) intent.

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    I like your answer too! This is an insightful tie in to the book of Daniel, +1 Jul 3 at 17:47
  • @HoldToTheRod-Thank you. That means a lot coming from you. Jul 3 at 19:14

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