Summary: In this lesson we examine the role of each Person of the Trinity at the baptism of Jesus and learn what each Person of the Trinity does to save sinners.
We are studying the life of Jesus in the Gospel of Luke in a sermon series I am calling, “To Seek and To Save the Lost.”
The first two chapters of Luke’s Gospel deal with the prophecies and births of John the Baptist and Jesus the Christ, and then what happened to Jesus following his birth.
The third chapter of Luke’s Gospel focuses on John the Baptist. Luke tells us about the ministry (3:1-6), preaching (3:7-14), testimony (3:15-17), and boldness of John the Baptist (3:18-20).
John had a remarkable ministry. His preaching was not designed to set people at ease. He saw himself as God’s messenger who called people to repentance. And although he was viewed as a little odd, it would not be an overstatement to say that he was a huge sensation. Thousands of people came to hear John preach and he baptized large numbers of individuals who responded to his call for repentance (Matthew 3:5).
Many people began wondering whether John might be the Christ (Luke 3:15). However, John knew that he was not the Christ. He was only the messenger who was to go before the Christ to prepare the people for the ministry of the Christ.
Then, one day Jesus came to John to be baptized by him. Today I would like to examine the baptism of Jesus.
Let’s read about the baptism of Jesus in Luke 3:21-22:
21 Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened, 22 and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” (Luke 3:21–22)
During my third year at the University of Cape Town I believed that God was calling me to vocational ministry. Knowing that I was prone to misreading God’s leading in my life, I prayed earnestly about that matter for many months.
Some time later I spoke to my pastor and to my campus pastor about what I thought might be God’s call on my life. Both of them affirmed that I should pursue vocational ministry.
For the next four years I completed my University degree and worked in order to save money to come and study in the United States.
Finally, I had enough money saved and I got ready to leave South Africa to go to Trinity Evangelical Divinity School to attend seminary. I sold all my possessions (which were not many) with the exception of my books.
Then one day all was done and I was at the airport saying farewell to friends. One of my close friends wished my well and said to me, “Freddy, go with God. And may Jeremiah 29:11 guide you in the coming years.” I thanked him and left.
Not knowing what Jeremiah 29:11 was at the time, I had to look it up in my Bible. Do you know what Jeremiah 29:11 is? Jeremiah 29:11 states, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
Over the years that verse has been a great encouragement to me. And even though I am aware that God gave that verse originally to the exiles in Babylon, it is nevertheless a description of how our covenant-making and covenant-keeping God deals with those who belong to him.
Significant statements or ceremonies often mark major transitional points in our lives. For example, graduation is a major transitional point that is marked by a ceremony. Weddings and funerals are marked by ceremonies and statements.
My transition from South Africa to the United States was not marked by a ceremony. Nevertheless, the verse from Jeremiah 29:11 was a significant statement that was a great encouragement to me over the years that followed.
Today’s text in Luke’s Gospel is major transitional point. Luke has basically finished telling us about the life and ministry of John the Baptist. He is about to transition to the life and ministry of Jesus Christ.
One reason we know that Luke was transitioning from John to Jesus is because Luke did not mention that John was the one who baptized Jesus, even though the other Gospel writers each record that John was the one who baptized Jesus (Matthew 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; John 1:32-33).
The feature that I want to highlight in today’s text is the role of each Person of the Trinity at the baptism of Jesus. Luke recorded a major transitional point in the life and ministry of Jesus. Jesus was about to begin his public ministry. Luke recorded the baptism of Jesus. But, interestingly, he did not describe the baptism as the other Gospel writers did, but focused on what happened after the baptism. Luke wanted his readers to note the action of each Person of the Trinity at the baptism of Jesus.