The third chapter of Luke’s Gospel begins with John. It ends with Jesus. The whole chapter may be summed up in the words of John 3:30 – “Christ must increase, but I must decrease.” Here, we have the vital principle of true Christian living and faithful Christian witness.
In our Christian living, we must pray that there will be less of self and more of Christ. In our Christian witness, we must seek always to point away from ourselves to our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus’ baptism is described in Luke 3:21-22. In His baptism, we catch a glimpse of much more than Jesus, the Man. In Jesus’ baptism, we see God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This is the deep, eternal background to the Story of Jesus, the Man. When we look behind the scenes, we see God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Baptism is carried out in the Name of God – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. This is done in obedience to Jesus’ Final Commission to His disciples – “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20).
In baptism, we pray for the blessing of God. we pray that the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit will rest upon those who are baptized. In baptism, we commit ourselves to the God-given task of teaching those who have been baptized to live in obedience to Jesus Christ.
How are we to know the blessing of God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit? How will this blessing of God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – equip us for living in obedience to Jesus Christ? What can we learn about the blessing of God? How can this blessing become a reality in our life?
At Jesus’ baptism, there was a mighty revelation of God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This revelation of God was given while Jesus “was praying” (Luke 3:21). Jesus was praying. While He was being baptized, Jesus was praying. This tells us something very important about baptism. In baptism, we are praying. We are thanking God for His love. We are looking to Him for His blessing. Prayer is vital if we are to enjoy God’s blessing. God will not send His blessing to those who refuse to pray. God’s blessing comes when His people pray. We must learn to pray if we want to see God’s blessing coming upon us with power.
What happened when Jesus prayed at the time of His baptism?
Three things happened – three things which, together, formed a wonderful revelation of God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
(1) Heaven was opened and the voice of God the Father was heard.
(2) Jesus Christ was declared to be the Son of God. This was the testimony of God Himself: “a voice came from heaven, ‘You are My Son, whom I love. With You, I am well pleased’” (Luke 3:22).
(3) “Heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on Him in bodily form like a dove” (Luke 3:21).
All of these things – this revelation of God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit – can be summed up in the words, “heaven was opened” (Luke 3:21). The opening of heaven for the voice of God the Father and the descent of God the Holy Spirit marked th divine confirmation of the earlier opening of heaven when Jesus was born. This opening of heaven at the time of Jesus’ birth has been well expressed in the words of hymns of worship; “Who came down from heaven to earth? – Jesus Christ our Saviour”; “He came down to earth from heaven, who is God and Lord of all.”
Jesus Christ is our Saviour. He is our Lord. He is our God. This is the testimony of God the Father. this is the testimony of God the Holy Spirit. Both the Father and the Holy Spirit direct our attention to Jesus Christ, our Saviour,m our Lord and our God.
- Why do we believe in Jesus? Do we believe that Jesus is the Son of God, simply because Luke, together with Matthew, Mark and john, tells us that he is the Son of God? No! Our faith is not based merely on human testimony. we believe in Jesus because God has told us, “This is my beloved Son.” We think back to the birth of Jesus. We remember the testimony of the angel: “Today, in the town of David, a Saviour has been born to you. He is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11). Here, at Jesus’ baptism, we have the divine confirmation of this revelation concerning Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord.
As well as the testimony of God the Father, we also have the testimony of God the Holy Spirit. we do not believe in Jesus, simply because we have heard about Him in the Bible or heard preaching about Him. it is the Holy Spirit who brings us to faith in Jesus. It is the Holy Spirit who brings the words of the Bible to life for us. it is the Holy Spirit who takes the words of the preacher and brings them home to the hearts of the hearers with divine power. the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus. the Holy Spirit still descends upon us as we read and hear God’s Word. The Holy Spirit leads us to put our faith in Jesus.
- What do God the Father and God the Holy Spirit tell us about Jesus? How does Gos, speaking to us in the power of the Holy Spirit, show us what Jesus means for us? God tells us that Jesus is His “beloved Son.” God tells us that He is well pleased with His Son – our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. God tells us that we, “in Christ”, we become God’s children – His sons and His daughters. God tells us that, when we are “in Christ”, having put our faith in Him, God is well pleased with us. At the time of Jesus’ baptism, God spoke from heaven and the Holy Spirit descended from heaven. This is part of the Story of our Lord Jesus Christ.Through faith in Jesus Christ, the speaking of God and the descent of the Holy Spirit become a part of the story of our life.
We must not think of our own story of coming to faith in Christ purely in terms of human influences. True faith is always more than something merely human. Faith is God-given. It’s the gift of God. Real faith in Christ is more than the work of a persuasive preacher or an eloquent evangelist. It’s always the work of God. The heavens are opened, God speaks, the Holy Spirit comes, Jesus is exalted among us and we put our faith in Him.