What is the meaning of Jesus’ baptism? In Matthew 3:13-17, Matthew’s point is to show the anointing of Jesus as the Messianic King. To understand what this text is all about we have to remember the anointing of David as king in 1 Samuel 16:13 (who received the Holy Spirit as his anointing as king) and the prophecies which follow the reign of David of a descendent of David who will rule forever.
The Old Testament ends with a sense of expectancy, unfulfilled longing for this Davidic King upon whom the Spirit of the Lord will rest and who will be called the Son of God (1 Chron. 17:11-14). In Matthew 3:13-17, those expectations are met when at the baptism of Jesus, the Spirit descends upon Him and God’s voice from Heaven declares Him to be His Son! What does this mean? It means that Jesus has been established in His house and kingdom forever! His throne has been established forever!
He is the Child who was born, the Son who was given! The government is upon His shoulders! His name is called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace! The increase of His government and peace will never end! (Isaiah 9:6)
And He sits upon the throne of David and over His kingdom! He orders and establishes it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever! (Isaiah 9:7) He is the One who comforts God’s people by ending her warfare and pardoning her iniquity! He is the King whose way was prepared in the desert by John the Baptist! (Isaiah 40:1-5)
He is the Servant whom the Father upholds and the Elect One in whom His soul delights! He is the One upon whom the Father has put His Spirit, who brings justice to the Gentiles and whose purposes will not fail! (Isaiah 42:1-4)
This is the Jewish Messiah who brings light to the Gentiles, opens blind eyes and releases the prisoners from prison.(Isaiah 42:6-7) This is King Jesus! And he now sits enthroned at His Father’s right hand, waiting for his enemies to be made his footstool! (1 Cor. 15:25) And He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords who is coming again! (Revelation 19:16) He is Jesus and this is the meaning of His baptism.