He saw … the Spirit like a dove desending upon him.
Even Christ with all His divine power needed the anointing of the Holy Spirit to set Him apart for His life-work, and to make Him ready for it. How much more do we, His disciples, need the same anointing before we are truly set apart for work and qualified for it.
There is rich suggestion also in the form in which the Spirit descended. A great many tender thoughts cluster around the dove. It was the dove that the very poor were permitted to bring to the altar as an offering, as a substitute for a more costly animal. The appearance of the dove was one of the harbingers or prophecies of coming spring. The dove was always remembered by the Jews in connection with the abatement of the waters of the deluge, when it returned to the ark bearing the olive-leaf; and it has become among all Christian nations, as well as the olive-branch, an emblem of peace. The dove was also referred to by Christ as a symbol of gentleness and harmlessness. All these associations made the dove a most fitting emblematic form for the Holy Ghost to assume when descending upon Jesus. For Jesus came to be a sacrifice for all, even the poorest. He came as the spring comes, bringing life to a dead world. He came bringing a message of peace from heaven to every one who will open to Him. And He is like the dove in gentleness and harmlessness.
It is this same holy dove that must descend upon us if the kingdom of heaven is truly to begin in our hearts. Until the Holy Spirit has been given to us and received by us there is no life in our souls and no power in us for work. But this divine anointing is promised to all who truly consecrate themselves to Christ and believe on Him. No vision of cloven heavens and descending dove appears to human eyes, but above every scene of holy devotement to Christ this blessed reality hangs.