“Now, it is possible to see amongst us women and men who possess gifts of the Spirit of God; so that it was prophesied that the powers enumerated by Isaiah would come upon Him, not because He needed power, but because these would not continue after Him. And let this be a proof to you, namely, what I told you was done by the Magi from Arabia, who as soon as the Child was born came to worship Him, for even at His birth He was in possession of His power; and as He grew up like all other men, by using the fitting means, He assigned its own [requirements] to each development, and was sustained by all kinds of nourishment, and waited for thirty years, more or less, until John appeared before Him as the herald of His approach, and preceded Him in the way of baptism, as I have already shown. And then, when Jesus had gone to the river Jordan, where John was baptizing, and when He had stepped into the water, a fire 2297 was kindled in the Jordan; and when He came out of the water, the Holy Ghost lighted on Him like a dove, [as] the apostles of this very Christ of ours wrote. Now, we know that he did not go to the river because He stood in need of baptism, or of the descent of the Spirit like a dove; even as He submitted to be born and to be crucified, not because He needed such things, but because of the human race, which from Adam had fallen under the power of death and the guile of the serpent, and each one of which had committed personal transgression. For God, wishing both angels and men, who were endowed with free-will, and at their own disposal, to do whatever He had strengthened each to do, made them so, that if they chose the things acceptable to Himself, He would keep them free from death and from punishment; but that if they did evil, He would punish each as He sees fit. For it was not His entrance into Jerusalem sitting on an ass, which we have showed was prophesied, that empowered Him to be Christ, but it furnished men with a proof that He is the Christ; just as it was necessary in the time of John that men have p. 244 proof, that they might know who is Christ. For when John remained 2298 by the Jordan, and preached the baptism of repentance, wearing only a leathern girdle and a vesture made of camels hair, eating nothing but locusts and wild honey, men supposed him to be Christ; but he cried to them, I am not the Christ, but the voice of one crying; for He that is stronger than I shall come, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear. 2299 And when Jesus came to the Jordan, He was considered to be the son of Joseph the carpenter; and He appeared without comeliness, as the Scriptures declared; and He was deemed a carpenter (for He was in the habit of working as a carpenter when among men, making ploughs and yokes; by which He taught the symbols of righteousness and an active life); but then the Holy Ghost, and for mans sake, as I formerly stated, lighted on Him in the form of a dove, and there came at the same instant from the heavens a voice, which was uttered also by David when he spoke, personating Christ, what the Father would say to Him: Thou art My Son: this day have I begotten Thee; 2300 [the Father] saying that His generation would take place for men, at the time when they would become acquainted with Him: Thou art My Son; this day have I begotten thee. ” 2301
[The Shechinah probably attended the descent of the Holy Spirit, and what follows in the note seems a gratuitous explanation. The Ebionite corruption of a truth need not be resorted to. See chap. cxxviii: The fire in the bush.] Justin learned this either from tradition or from apocryphal books. Mention is made of a fire both in the Ebionite Gospel and in another publication called Pauli prædicatio, the readers and users of which denied that the rite of baptism had been duly performed, unless quam mox in aquam descenderunt, statim super aquam ignis appareat.244:2298
Isa. i. 27.244:2300
Ps. ii. 7.244:2301
The repetition seems quite superfluous.