Slideshow image

 There’s a horrible misconception among some Christians. They mistakenly believe that the Holy Spirit is chaotic and crazy, the Father is serious and stern, but Jesus is the kind and level-headed one. So when Jesus comes to identify with sinners, He’s got to convince the rest of the Trinity to go along with His plan. Nothing could be further from the truth!

Matthew helps us understand this with what transpired immediately after Jesus’ baptism:

Matthew 3:16b-17—And when Jesus was baptized, immediately He went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on Him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

Before we go any further, let’s talk for just a moment about the Christian doctrine of the Trinity. About 1600 years ago, a pastor in North Africa named Augustine preached a 23-point sermon on this passage. His goal in the sermon was to demonstrate how the Christian doctrine of the Trinity is clearly taught in this text.

Augustine would sometimes say to those who denied the Trinity, “Go to Jordan and you will see the Trinity!” [1] It’s not hard to see why. There on Jordan’s muddy banks we see Jesus in the water, the Spirit descending upon Jesus, and the Father speaking from heaven.

In Augustine’s sermon on this text, he said:  “The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are a Trinity inseparable; One God, not three Gods. But yet so One God, as that the Son is not the Father, and the Father is not the Son, and the Holy Spirit is neither the Father nor the Son, but the Spirit of the Father and of the Son.” [2]

To put that in laymen’s terms, Augustine is saying there is one God in three persons. God is three persons. The Father isn’t being baptized, the Son is. The Spirit isn’t speaking from heaven, the Father is. The Son isn’t descending like a dove, the Spirit is. God is One. Father, Son and Spirit are in perfect unity. They’re clearly working together. J.C. Ryle put it this way, “It was the whole Trinity, which at the beginning of creation said, ‘let us make man.’ It was the whole Trinity again, which at the beginning of the Gospel seemed to say, ‘let us save man.’” [3]



[1] As quoted in Brown, D., Fausset, A. R., & Jamieson, R. (n.d.). A Commentary, Critical, Experimental, and Practical, on the Old and New Testaments: Matthew–John (Vol. V, p. 15). London; Glasgow: William Collins, Sons, & Company, Limited.

[2]Augustine of Hippo. (1888). Sermons on Selected Lessons of the New Testament. In P. Schaff (Ed.), R. G. MacMullen (Trans.), Saint Augustin: Sermon on the Mount, Harmony of the Gospels, Homilies on the Gospels (Vol. 6, p. 259). New York: Christian Literature Company.

[3] Ryle, J. C. (1860). Expository Thoughts on Matthew (p. 23). New York: Robert Carter & Brothers.