The Book of Luke, John the Baptist, Part IX Ė Lesson 31
In the early chapters of the book of Luke we have been witness to John the Baptistís ministry and his acknowledgement that another is coming who far outranks John so that he was not even worthy to unloose the laces of his shoes.
John the Baptist prepared us to see his descendancy and the ascendancy of Jesus Christ when he said that he must decrease and Jesus Christ must increase.
In this passage (Luke 3:21-38) we are privy to this change in stature as John now baptizes the Lord Jesus Christ and Luke provides us with the family history of the Lord.
Luke 3:21-38, Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, 22And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased. 23And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli, 24Which was the son of Matthat, which was the son of Levi, which was the son of Melchi, which was the son of Janna, which was the son of Joseph, 25Which was the son of Mattathias, which was the son of Amos, which was the son of Naum, which was the son of Esli, which was the son of Nagge, 26Which was the son of Maath, which was the son of Mattathias, which was the son of Semei, which was the son of Joseph, which was the son of Juda, 27Which was the son of Joanna, which was the son of Rhesa, which was the son of Zorobabel, which was the son of Salathiel, which was the son of Neri, 28Which was the son of Melchi, which was the son of Addi, which was the son of Cosam, which was the son of Elmodam, which was the son of Er, 29Which was the son of Jose, which was the son of Eliezer, which was the son of Jorim, which was the son of Matthat, which was the son of Levi, 30Which was the son of Simeon, which was the son of Juda, which was the son of Joseph, which was the son of Jonan, which was the son of Eliakim, 31Which was the son of Melea, which was the son of Menan, which was the son of Mattatha, which was the son of Nathan, which was the son of David, 32Which was the son of Jesse, which was the son of Obed, which was the son of Booz, which was the son of Salmon, which was the son of Naasson, 33Which was the son of Aminadab, which was the son of Aram, which was the son of Esrom, which was the son of Phares, which was the son of Juda, 34Which was the son of Jacob, which was the son of Isaac, which was the son of Abraham, which was the son of Thara, which was the son of Nachor, 35Which was the son of Saruch, which was the son of Ragau, which was the son of Phalec, which was the son of Heber, which was the son of Sala, 36Which was the son of Cainan, which was the son of Arphaxad, which was the son of Sem, which was the son of Noe, which was the son of Lamech, 37Which was the son of Mathusala, which was the son of Enoch, which was the son of Jared, which was the son of Maleleel, which was the son of Cainan, 38Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God.
Luke places Johnís baptism of Jesus Christ and the Fatherís identification of His son in the same passage with the genealogy of Jesus Christ and immediately prior to the beginning of His public ministry.
At this point we begin to see the decreasing of John the Baptist and the increasing of Jesus Christ.
The law and the prophets must move aside so that grace and truth have his ascendant position.
Up to this point in Luke we have been witness to the births of John and Jesus, the visit of Jesus as a young boy to the temple, and the preaching and baptism by John.
So this passage concerns the beginning of the ministry of Jesus Christ.
Letís read verses 21 and 22 again.
Luke 3:21-22, Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, 22And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.
We see at the baptism of Jesus Christ a dramatic pronouncement from God the Father Himself, which identified Christ as Godís beloved Son, and the descent of the Holy Spirit in the shape of a dove endueing Him with power to carry out His mission.
We have seen from the first part of the book of Luke that from all outward appearances the Lord Jesus Christ was a person with no great power, status or station in life.
We have seen by the circumstances of His birth that He was born into a very poor family. In was in all ways of humble birth.
Mark tells us that He was a carpenter until the commencement of His public ministry, most likely following in his earthly father Josephís vocation.
He came not into a world of luxury, power or esteem.
He was of no important earthly family that would bring notice to him.
But this event of his baptism and his notice and approval by God himself, placed him in royalty.
As with all actions by God there was a purpose in the baptism of Jesus Christ.
Perhaps by looking to the Old Testament we can find some reason for the baptism.
For his baptism is not like the baptism the church practices today but was based upon a pattern established in the Old Testament.
John the Baptist, said in Luke 3:16 that his baptism was inferior to the baptism of Jesus Christ
Ö..I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:
So if that was the case why did John baptise Christ?
John baptised many to show that repentance had taken place for he had told many to bring forth fruits meet or fitting that would show true repentance had taken place, otherwise John would not baptise them and many left without Johnís baptism.
But in the case of Christ no repentance was needed for Christ was without sin.
Therefore this baptism of Jesus Christ was not like other baptisms by Johm.
So what was the purpose of the baptism of Christ?
Matthew tells us of Johnís reluctance to baptize Christ in:
Matthew 3:13-17, Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. 14But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? 15And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. 16And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: 17And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
So the baptism of Christ was to fulfill all righteousness.
I think we can find understanding in the purpose of the baptism of Christ by looking at what took place at the baptism.
God intervened in this baptism and Luke reported his words in Luke 3:22 as, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.
Matthew in 3:17, reported the words to be, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
So what took place at the baptism is the identification of Jesus Christ as Godís son, a son in whom God was well pleased.
So the key to understanding the baptism of our Lord may be found in the biblical meaning of the expression ďMy SonĒ.
The Old Testament has laid the ground work for this meaning and this understanding by showing us that its meaning is directly related to the designation and appointment of Israelís king by God.
Israelís first king was Saul.
The Israelites were warned by God of the high price of a king, but they demanded a king like all the other nations had.
God granted Israelís request and it was the task of Samuel, the priest and first prophet in the line of prophets, to designate who the king would be.
In 1 Samuel 9 & 10 the entire process is described in detail.
Saul and his servant were out looking for his fatherís lost donkeys, and eventually came upon Samuel, who anointed him with oil, designating him as Israelís ruler (1 Sam. 10:1).
Shortly thereafter, the Holy Spirit came upon Saul (10:6-13), empowering him for his task.
Saul, due to his disobedience, was rejected as Godís king, and another was destined to be his replacement.
Since it was not just Saul, but his dynasty of line that was rejected, it was necessary for God to designate through Samuel who the new king would be.
He was not to fall in the line of Saul as the normal process of King selection would be.
The account of this designation is found in 1 Samuel 16.
After viewing all of Davidís older brothers and learning that none of them were to be king, David was sent for and anointed with oil in the presence of his brothers as Israelís new king, at which time the Holy Spirit also came upon him (16:13).
Later, God would make a covenant with the house or dynasty of David, known as the Davidic Covenant:
2 Samuel 7:8-16, Now therefore so shalt thou say unto my servant David, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I took thee from the sheepcote, from following the sheep, to be ruler over my people, over Israel: 9And I was with thee whithersoever thou wentest, and have cut off all thine enemies out of thy sight, and have made thee a great name, like unto the name of the great men that are in the earth. 10Moreover I will appoint a place for my people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own, and move no more; neither shall the children of wickedness afflict them any more, as beforetime, 11And as since the time that I commanded judges to be over my people Israel, and have caused thee to rest from all thine enemies. Also the LORD telleth thee that he will make thee an house. 12And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. 13He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever. 14 I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men: 15But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee. 16And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.
Note that the relationship between Israelís king and God is described as the relationship between a father and a son:
14 I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men:.
The statement, ďYou are My son,Ē then, becomes a technical expression to designate Israelís king, as can be seen in the second Psalm:
Psalm 2:6-9, Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.
I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. 8 Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. 9 Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potterís vessel.