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God launches Jesus' ministry. Luke 3.21, 22

Luke 3 (5)

Pray Psalm 2.7, 8.
“I will declare the decree:
The LORD has said to Me,
You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You.
Ask of Me, and I will give You
The nations for Your inheritance,
And the ends of the earth for Your possession.”

Sing Psalm 2.7, 8.
Agincourt: O Love, How Deep, How Broad, How High)
Proclaim the message far and wide, that God has exalted the Crucified!
From heav’n He sent us His only Son, Who has for us salvation won!

Read Luke 3.1-22; meditate on verses 21, 22.


1. Which Persons of the divine Trinity were present at the baptism of Jesus?

2. What did the voice from heaven say?

John’s baptism was for repentance unto the remission of sins. Jesus did not need repentance, nor would He ever. He did not require remission of sins, for He had none. Ever. So why was He baptized? Two reasons.

First, in His baptism Jesus identified with His people, affirming their need for cleansing from sin and renewal into the life of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. As He explained to a reluctant John, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness” (Matt. 3.15). Jesus dramatized their need by identifying with that sacrament which confirmed their forgiveness and established them in newness of life. Not that baptism saves; it does not. But baptism signifies that forgiveness has been received and a new life of salvation has begun; and, in a deeply spiritual sense, it seals those great truths to one who is baptized. The Word of God became incarnate in Jesus both to identify with and take on the burden of the sins of the world (Jn. 1.29).

Second, Jesus’ baptism marks the beginning of His bringing near the Kingdom of God (cf. Matt. 4.17). This is confirmed by the LORD’s quoting the second psalm as a voice from heaven, a psalm used at the coronation of a new king in Israel, but ultimately pointing forward to Jesus. God Himself speaks the words He gave the psalmist to confirm that Jesus is His beloved Son and anointed Servant (cf. Is. 42.1). From this point forward the ancient prophecy of Psalm 2 would begin to be fulfilled over all the earth. The Kingdom would not come to earth until the Spirit brought it in Acts 2. But for now, Jesus is anointed as the Warrior King to obtain that great prize by defeating His enemies – Satan, sin, and death. For the devil and his ilk, the baptism of Jesus was the shot heard ‘round the world.

Here we see all three Persons of the divine Trinity united in the watershed moment of all history. The Father commends, the Spirit descends, and the Son attends to the Father’s Word. After this event, nothing would ever be the same.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
“‘You are My witnesses,’ says the LORD,
and My servant whom I have chosen,
that you may know and believe Me,
and understand that I AM He.
Before Me there was no God formed,
nor shall there be after Me.
I, even I, AM the LORD,
and besides Me there is no Savior” (Is. 43.10, 11).

Can you imagine this scene recorded for us in Luke 3.21, 22? Here for the first time, on planet earth, the three equal parts of the Trinity appeared together! The I AM God, Who has always been and always will be, sent the Holy Spirit, Who has also always been and always will be, to descend upon Jesus in the bodily form of a Dove, to set the stage for the Father’s formal introduction of His beloved Son, in Whom He was “well pleased”, to the world (Lk. 3.22).

Heaven came down and met at the riverside. For us. To be with us. This One Whose name is Immanuel (Matt. 1.23).

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1.1).
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God” (Jn. 1.1, 2).
“Come near to Me, hear this: I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, I was there. And now the LORD GOD and His Spirit have sent Me” (Is. 48.16).

The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—the Great Triune God says to us:
“Look to Me, and be saved, all you ends of the earth!
For I AM God, and there is no other.
I have sworn by Myself; the word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness,
and shall not return, that to Me every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall take an oath” (Is. 45.22, 23).

“…at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2.10, 11).

“United in the watershed moment of all history”… and truly, nothing has ever been the same.

For reflection

1. How does Jesus submitting to baptism help you to think about the importance of this sacrament?

2. What makes the birth and baptism of Jesus a “watershed” moment in history?

3. God was well-pleased with His Son. What does this suggest for us?

For it follows that he who is first in everything must set the example in this too. He commences the work himself in order that we may learn about the power of holy baptism and learn how much we gain by approaching so great a grace. Having been baptized, he prays that you, my beloved, may learn that never-ceasing prayer is a thing most fitting for those who have once been counted worthy of holy baptism. Cyril of Alexandria (375-444), Commentary on Luke, Homily 11

Pray Psalm 2.9-12.
Pray for the coming of Christ’s rule on earth as it is in heaven, and for your own work today in seeing that vision come to pass. Pray that God will use you as His ambassador and witness so that others might look to Jesus for salvation.

Sing Psalm 2.9-12.
Agincourt: O Love, How Deep, How Broad, How High)
To Christ the Lord be given all who humbly embrace Him and on Him call.
Be wise, be warned: His judgment comes to break the prideful, sinful ones.

Rejoice with fear in Jesus’ grace, and worship before His exalted face!
Beware His anger and judgment grim. How blessed are all who rest in Him!

T. M. and Susie Moore

You can listen to a summary of last week’s Scriptorium study by going to our website,, and clicking the Scriptorium tab for last Sunday. You can download all the studies in our Luke series by clicking here.

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
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