Today’s Scripture: Luke 3:1-4:13; SOAP – 3:21-22
Taking It All In
The length of today’s passage is long for sure but the beauty of it is worth reading and helps to highlight the focus passage. Starting off with the beginning of John the Baptist’s ministry, including Jesus’ own baptism as well as His genealogy, and culminating with the temptation He faced in the wilderness and how He handled it. The scene Luke paints is helpful to understanding that Jesus was baptized, most likely, during the height of John’s calling to prepare a way for the Lord; and it is a beautiful picture of the trinity as both the Father and the Holy Spirit appear on the scene of His baptism.
Matthew and Mark give more detailed accounts of Jesus’ baptism while Luke condenses his version and zeros in on the simple fact that Jesus was baptized. His description does seem to hint at a time line for the baptism – which appears to most likely be during the height of John the Baptist’s ministry. Which explains his statement – “when all the people were baptized”. “All” is not a literal term here but rather a reference to John’s many followers. My favorite part of the passage is the Holy Spirit descending on Christ, like a dove, followed by God’s voice from Heaven with a personal message to His Son for all to hear – “You are my one dear Son; in You I take great delight.” A fitting confirmation at the start of Jesus’ own ministry (23) not only that He is who He says He is, but that He walks in obedience to God.
While our focus is on Jesus’ baptism, I believe it is vitally important to soak in the details of how He was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where He was tempted by the devil for 40 days. I love that Luke doesn’t just say that Jesus was tempted but that “He endured temptations”, confirming the words of Paul, in 1 Corinthians 10:12-13, and giving us great hope that we can do the same. As important as it is to know that Jesus endured temptation, it is equally, if not more important to know how. Luke details three specific temptations, each of which Jesus overcame by using the Word of God. He knew what God had said and He used it as a weapon in the warfare of temptation. So important is this concept that we see it used in both the new and old testaments. It is referenced in the words of David when he said that He had hidden God’s Word in His heart that He might not sin against Him (Ps 119:11). We also find an example of it in Ephesians 6:17–18, where Paul describes the “Word of God” as a piece of the “armor of God”. Perhaps the greatest hope concerning the temptations that Jesus faced is the fact that when the devil had completed every temptation, he departed from [Jesus], a great example of James’ instructions and encouragement to “resist the devil and he will flee from you.”
So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.James 4:7 NLT
How then should we live?
First of all, we should follow Jesus in baptism, as a sign of our faith and commitment to follow Him. Secondly we should use God’s Word as a weapon when we are tempted to sin, trusting that when we do this the devil will flee and we will be able to endure as Jesus did. To use God’s Word as a weapon we will have to know it – and have it ready as Paul told the Ephesians, putting it on as armor in order that we might stand firm.
My Response to the Word
Father, thank you for the life and examples of Jesus. How exciting to picture Him walking down into the waters to be baptized by John and then to see Your Spirit descend on Him and hear Your voice from heaven, declaring how pleased You were with Him. I thank You for the sweet memory of my own baptism and the choice I made to follow You. I pray for those who have not yet followed You in baptism, that they would be moved to do so. I praise You for the victorious example this passage gives us of Jesus being tempted by the devil, and how he overcame the temptations with the power of Your Word. May I/we be faithful to do the same so that we can stand firm, may we be alert and yielded to Your Spirit so that we will see and take the way of escape that He shows us. May we know and use Your Word as the powerful weapon that it is so that the devil will flee. This is my prayer in Jesus’ name and for Your eternal glory – amen!