Chapter 3 begins by giving us a definite time frame. The ruling government officials are listed to verify the truth to the story.
John the Baptist was still living in the desert when he received word from God that it was time begin his ministry.
John’s baptisms were different than our baptisms of today. John was helping people become expectant and receptive to Christ.
In the days of the Roman Empire, when a special guest came to town, the people would clean up the town and repair roads in anticipation of the big event. John was “cleaning up” the people to prepare for Christ.
John preached morality and goodness and kindness and love for one another. He was such a gifted speaker that people wondered if he was the Messiah.
He quickly dispelled those rumors.
“John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”
Luke 3:16 NIV
John was not one to “fit in”. He was set apart from the very beginning. He did not hold his tongue and even got himself thrown into prison for rebuking Herod “for all the evil things he had done.”
Why did Jesus need to be baptized? It was the “announcement” of the beginning of his public ministry.
Here are the words of Becky Brown of Little Brown Light Ministry:
“Jesus submits to baptism even though He had no need of forgiveness for He was without sin. This holy moment at the genesis of His public ministry gives us a clear, exact, focused picture of the Trinity. As Jesus was in the baptismal waters of the Jordan River, He prayed. Heaven was opened. The Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus in the form of a dove. A Voice spoke from Heaven declaring His Son-ship and expressing God’s pleasure in Jesus. Father and Son and Holy Spirit are joined in a complete confirmation of the True Messiah.”
That’s an amazing picture. Were there people there to witness? What a scene it must have been!
“When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph, the son of Heli,”
Luke 3:21-23 NIV
Notice how it says “it was thought” that Jesus was the son of Joseph. He didn’t actually have a biological father. The Messiah was destined to come from the line of David. This passage gives a very detailed description of the lineage all the way back to Adam – the son of God.
“the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.”
Luke 3:38 NIV
I love the ending of this chapter. It announces that this lineage goes all the way back to the creation of man by God – the Father of all people.
We all ultimately belong to Him.