Have you ever wondered what the word Messiah indicates? It is the transliteration of a Hebrew word, Meshiach. The Greek New Testament translation of it is Christos. Both words, in English, mean “The Anointed One.” Jesus was the One anointed by God for the ministry in which He was to engage. After His anointing with the Spirit at His baptism (symbolized by the dove descending on Him), he faced His first battle with the evil one—the three-pronged temptation in the wilderness. Having successfully warded him off with the Scriptures, He immediately took up His ministry and began itinerate preaching, as He went about healing and preaching, he called for repentance since the kingdom of God was at hand. The advent of that kingdom, as all Old and (later) New Testament predictions declare, was the announcement of a new era in which one must repent and believe the Gospel or perish in the terrible destruction of Jerusalem which was about to occur.
Now, it was also His calling, as the Anointed One to train a group of men who would proclaim the good news throughout the Roman world in their lifetime—which they did (Colossians 1:3, 26; I Timothy 3:16; Romans 16:26, etc.). After His death and ascension to the place of co-regency with the Father (at His right hand) Jesus began to reign over the newly formed kingdom which He, when still on earth, said was “not from this world.” Indeed, He is Head over all things for the sake of that invisible kingdom (church) over which He also maintains supreme rule in this world. His anointing, therefore, was as Prophet (which office He fulfilled when proclaiming the arrival of the kingdom), Priest (which office He fulfilled when offering Himself up for the sins of His people), and King (which office He holds now as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.).
The baptism of Christ, then, was no insignificant matter. John the Baptist only partially understood as he poured water on Jesus’ head that He was baptizing Him with the Holy Spirit as well, since all his other baptisms carried no such significance. But he must, as the Savior made plain, assist Jesus in fulfilling all the righteous requirements of office-holding by anointing Him (like Old Testament prophet, priests and kings) into those three functions.
What a wonderful scene! No wonder the Father spoke from heaven declaring that Jesus was His beloved Son with Whom He was well-pleased. This singular event was the inauguration of the Son of God for the work that He had come to perform. It was the beginning of the greatest three-year ministry of all time—a ministry that would redeem from eternal wrath all who believe.