On Sunday morning I preached from Luke 3:21-38. This passage includes the genealogy of Jesus, but my main focus was on his baptism which Luke describes in vs. 21 & 22. Jesus was not only baptized with water, but the Holy Spirit descended upon him “in bodily form, like a dove” (v. 22). What’s more, the voice of the Father proclaimed from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased” (v.22). With this the public ministry of Jesus commenced. It was his inauguration to carry out the offices of Prophet, Priest, and King, for the salvation of God’s people.
Not only is the baptism of Jesus important because it marked the beginning of his work as the Christ which has secured our redemption, but it’s also significant for the implications it has for us as Christians.
First, it teaches us how completely we depend on the Holy Spirit. In fulfilment of prophecy (Isaiah 11:2), Christ received God’s Spirit without measure (John 3:34) when the dove descended upon him. Subsequently, Jesus carried out his ministry by the power of the Spirit within him (Acts 10:38). And, according to Hebrews, it was “through the eternal Spirit” that Christ “offered himself without blemish to God” upon the cross (Hebrews 9:14). Though Jesus was the sinless Son of God and perfectly righteous, he was faithful to his calling as the Christ only through the power of the Holy Spirit who filled him. If that is true, then how much more do we as sinful creatures need the Holy Spirit to please and obey God in our calling as Christians? Thankfully, God gives the Spirit to all believers, that by his enabling grace and power we might worship and serve him (Romans 8:13; Galatians 5:16).
Another implication of the baptism of Jesus for Christians is that in Christ we also are sons and daughters of God. At his baptism, the Father proclaimed Jesus to be his beloved Son (v.22). Following on the heels of that divine declaration, Luke in his genealogy traces Jesus’ lineage all the way back to Adam, of whom he says, is the “son of God”. If Adam was God’s son, then Jesus is God’s greater Son. And just as we were children of God by virtue of our union with Adam as our first father and representative head, so by virtue of our faith-union with Christ we are children of God as Jesus is the Son of God. Adam was the disobedient son, and so were we. Christ is the faithful and obedient son, and for his sake that is how God considers us now. So, by faith in Christ, the words the Father spoke concerning Jesus become his words to us: “You are my beloved son (or daughter); with you I am well pleased.”
At the evening service we considered the nature of true repentance from Heidelberg Catechism Lord’s Day 34.
Soli Deo Gloria!