Luke 3:21 – 38
21 Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, 22and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.’
23 Jesus was about thirty years old when he began his work. He was the son (as was thought) of Joseph son of Heli, 24son of Matthat, son of Levi, son of Melchi, son of Jannai, son of Joseph, 25son of Mattathias, son of Amos, son of Nahum, son of Esli, son of Naggai, 26son of Maath, son of Mattathias, son of Semein, son of Josech, son of Joda, 27son of Joanan, son of Rhesa, son of Zerubbabel, son of Shealtiel, son of Neri, 28son of Melchi, son of Addi, son of Cosam, son of Elmadam, son of Er, 29son of Joshua, son of Eliezer, son of Jorim, son of Matthat, son of Levi, 30son of Simeon, son of Judah, son of Joseph, son of Jonam, son of Eliakim, 31son of Melea, son of Menna, son of Mattatha, son of Nathan, son of David, 32son of Jesse, son of Obed, son of Boaz, son of Sala, son of Nahshon, 33son of Amminadab, son of Admin, son of Arni, son of Hezron, son of Perez, son of Judah, 34son of Jacob, son of Isaac, son of Abraham, son of Terah, son of Nahor, 35son of Serug, son of Reu, son of Peleg, son of Eber, son of Shelah, 36son of Cainan, son of Arphaxad, son of Shem, son of Noah, son of Lamech, 37son of Methuselah, son of Enoch, son of Jared, son of Mahalaleel, son of Cainan, 38son of Enos, son of Seth, son of Adam, son of God.
All the people were going down to the Jordan to be baptized by John. And Jesus also went down to the Jordan and was baptized by John – and Jesus was praying. As Jesus prayed a dove descended from heaven – the dove embodied the Holy Spirit. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.” Luke’s is the shortest of the gospel accounts of this moment. He downplays John’s role here – he has done with John in the story for a time, has told us that Herod arrests John and puts him into prison. That, however, is how he finishes that part of the story, and does not necessarily mean that chronologically Jesus’ baptism comes after John’s arrest. Let’s look at what Luke does emphasize in his shortened account:
- Jesus was praying. Luke emphasizes quite often that Jesus prayed.
- The Holy Spirit descended on Jesus, in the form of a dove. The Spirit empowered Jesus’ ministry after that, and Jesus gave us the Spirit to empower our ministry.
- A voice from heaven speaks – we assume it is God! The voice speaks to Jesus, not to the crowd, “With you I am well pleased.” This is a revelation of who Jesus is – but Luke has told the reader that since the day of the annunciation. This revelation is meant to start Jesus on his ministry.
After this event, Luke transitions into the story of Jesus’ ministry, which began when he was about 30. Having just had God himself say that Jesus was his Son, Luke now gives Jesus’ genealogy through his adoptive father, Joseph. Notice the way he does this, “He was the son (as was thought) of Joseph. If you recall the genealogy of Jesus from Matthew’s gospel, you will notice that they are different. First, they move in reverse order – Luke goes backward, to Adam, Matthew forward, from Abraham. Matthew lists the kings of Israel – tracing Jesus’ genealogy through them, until the exile. Despite the differences, both go back to King David. This is the point of the genealogies – Jesus can be called the Son of David, as well as the Son of God. In this passage, Luke verifies both.
Renewing our Baptisms at the Jordan river.