1. Exposition

What promise does the Spirit's descent recall?

Mark 1:10 (ESV)

10 And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove.

The descent of the Spirit reminds us of the promise of the prophets that God’s Spirit will rest on the Messiah (Isaiah 11:2; Isaiah 42:1; Isaiah 61:1). That promise does not concern the Messiah’s birth in the first place, but the work to which the Lord will call him and for which he will use him. The Spirit will liberate God’s people and therefore descends on the Messiah, who is the instrument for that deliverance. We must therefore distinguish this descent from the Spirit’s work in Jesus’ conception and youth. The Spirit announces that God now comes to the people with the anointed Messiah.1