32 Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. 33 And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.”
(Baptism of Christ Carl Bloch)
Thoughts: John's baptism with water is contrasted with the baptism of the Holy Spirit of Jesus. John saw a sign from the Holy Spirit that Jesus was the Chosen One of God. John recognized Jesus in his baptism. We also gain our identity from our baptism- we become God's chosen ones- his children. But Jesus is the ultimate Chosen One who is the only begotten Son of God. While we are adopted children, He is the begotten One. While we are chosen in Christ, He is the firstborn. But we also are claimed in baptism, named in baptism, and commissioned to do His work in our baptism.
Prayer: In my baptism, Lord, you claim me and invited me to be a part of your family.
John Calvin Abridged: John did not literally see the Spirit descending like a dove, for what eyes can see the Spirit? But the dove is a symbol of the Holy Spirit as bread is a symbol of Christ in the sacrament. John seemed to be able to know Christ when he showed up, but he did not know of his ministry until Christ was baptized.