The next day he saw Jesus coming towards him, and said,”Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.”
See John’s instant recognition. ‘He’s the One! God’s sacrificial lamb.'(1)
Why did it happen now? Because John had no foreknowledge that Yeshu was the One; he was not a ‘revealer of secret treasure’.
Why did it happen on the steppe? In the place of repentance people would surely be ready to receive the Saviour.
Why at a time of washing by baptism? Because baptism in water was an explanatory picture of the clearing away of sin.
[1. Yeshu’s death would be like the sacrifice of an animal to save the whole world. From then onward there would be no further need for any more sacrifice of animals to bear the sins of men as the Jews had done.]
And John bore witness, “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I have seen and have bore witness that this is the Son of God.”
Like a dove fluttering down to enter a dovecot, the Holy Spirit came down and took residence in a man. ‘I saw him,’ said John. ‘I saw what God had told me to look out for. I saw who was the Messiah Christ (ma-shi-ka khi-ri’i- si-tho); it was the man called Yeshu.’
For the Spirit did not depart, but Yeshu remained filled with the Spirit. Then He in turn would wash repentant men, not just with water, but by pouring the Spirit upon them.