“As soon as Jesus was baptised, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him.” – Matthew 3:16
In our Church Bible study on Tuesday, we were looking at Matthew 3 (Jesus’ baptism). One thing that particularly struck us was the fact that the Spirit of God descended “like a dove”. And we wondered why Matthew bothered mentioning it.
Looking back through the Bible it becomes much clearer.
In the story of Noah, doves are sent out to search for land. They eventually return with an olive branch; this is hopeful and promising.
Doves were also used as sacrifices, particular amongst the poor. Later on in Matthew’s Gospel we see the comparison “innocent as doves”. Perhaps this innocence is why they could be sacrificed?
So the Spirit of God descended “like a dove” – perhaps this represents Jesus’ sinless life – His innocence, and the hope and promise that He brings.