Wait, what? Wasn’t Jesus already fully divine? As the eternal second person of the Trinity, didn’t he already experience full and intimate communion with the Spirit, unhindered by the taint of sin? Why would Jesus need to receive the Spirit?
This is one of the questions that Steve Guthrie tackles in Creator Spirit: The Holy Spirit and the Art of Becoming Human. And he addresses this one by showing how Athanasius responded to this very question when his opponents used the anointing of the Spirit to suggest that Jesus was somehow less than fully God. And Guthrie points out that in actuality Jesus’ anointing has to do with his being fully human; or, even more, it’s about him living the spirit-empowered human life for which we were all created so that we can be restored to our own full humanity.
Why did Jesus receive the Holy Spirit at his baptism? He did it for us.