Baptism—And Heaven Opened

“For the Spirit-and-fire baptism, eventually realized at Pentecost, to be one of blessing rather than destruction for the messianic people, the Messiah himself must first become identified with them as their representative sin-bearer (the point of Jesus being baptized by John, from which John recoils, cf. Matt. 3:14) and be endowed with the Spirit, in order to bear away the wrath and condemnation of God their sins deserve. If they are to receive the Spirit as a gift and blessing, then he must receive the Spirit for the task of removing the curse on them.” (Richard B. Gaffin, Jr., Perspectives on Pentecost, pp. 15–16).

“Just as Israel was led by Moses and had to go through the Red Sea at the exodus, and just as second-generation Israel had to do the same thing at the Jordan River under Joshua’s leadership, as a replayed second exodus, so again, now that Israel’s restoration is immanent through Jesus, true Israelites must identify with the water and the Jordan and their prophetic leader in order to begin true restoration. . . . Thus the blessing/cursing sign of the Red Sea likely carries over to Jesus’s baptism by John (where the Spirit descended on Jesus). . . .” (G. K. Beale, A New Testament Biblical Theology, p. 814).

Quotes from the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church of the OPC

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