“You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” – Mark 1:11
With those words, we read that the Spirit descends like a dove and rests on Jesus. Its interesting to note the rarity of likening the Spirit to a dove. In many works of art, we often see this imagery being employed: as Jesus is baptized, we see a dove in the sky. Tim Keller makes an interesting observation about this:
In the sacred writings of Judaism there is only one place where the Spirit of God is likened to a dove, and that is in the Targums, the Aramaic translation of the Hebrew Scriptures that the Jews of Mark’s time read. In the creation account, the book of Genesis 1:2 says that the Spirit hovered over the face of the waters. The Hebrew verb here means “flutter”: the Spirit fluttered over the face of the waters. To capture this vivid image, the rabbis translated the passage for the Targums like this: “And the earth was without form and empty, and darkness was on the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God fluttered above the face of the waters like a dove, and God spoke: ‘Let there be light.’” There are three parties active in the creation of the world: God, God’s Spirit, and God’s Word, through which he creates. The same three parties are present at Jesus’s baptism: the Father, who is the voice; the Son, who is the Word; and the Spirit fluttering like a dove. (Tim Keller, King’s Cross: The Story of the World in the Life of Jesus, 3).
Jesus shows up and the same parties that were present in the creation of the world are present at the baptism of Jesus. Why?
This is the thing we’ve been waiting for. Ever since the fall the world has been in need of repair and restoration, and this would only come by God’s redemption. What man broke in the Garden, God promised to buy back (cf. Genesis 3:15). Now, it seems, is the time for this event to come into reality. “Just as the original creation of the world was a project of the triune God, Mark says, so the redemption of the world, the rescue and renewal of all things that is beginning now with the arrival of the King, is also a project of the triune God.” (Keller, King’s Cross, 5).
Tim Keller, King’s Cross: The Story of the World in the Life of Jesus (Kindle edition: here)