I sure remember mine!
Or, maybe you haven’t taken that step in your spiritual life yet.
If not, maybe Jesus will inspire you to consider it with his example.
These passages from Luke tells how the ministry of Christ began – with His baptism by John the Baptist.
When reading and doing my study, two questions came to mind…
- Why did Jesus go down to the river instead of proclaiming who he was to the religious leaders in Jerusalem?
- Why was Jesus baptized? There was no need since He was the Christ, was there?
Thankfully, we’ll find the answers to these questions and more in the Bible study lesson you are about to read.
Baptism of Jesus Christ – John Jailed
“But when Herod the tetrarch was reprimanded by him regarding Herodias, his brother’s wife, and regarding all the evil things which Herod had done, Herod also added this to them all: he locked John up in prison.
Jesus Is Baptized
Now when all the people were baptized, Jesus also was baptized, and while He was praying, heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came from heaven: “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well pleased.” – Luke 3:19-22 (NASB)
John Baptizes Jesus – John the Courageous
The first two verses are almost passed over as John the Baptist is thrown in prison for rebuking Herod Antipas.
And, as we will learn in later study lessons, Herod’s niece and his brother’s wife, Herodias is the one who will later plot to have John killed.
Remarkably, John the Baptist was not in the least swayed by the fact that Herod was a Roman official and could have prisoners executed at the snap of his fingers.
Even so, John preached the word of God no matter what the consequences.
Baptism Proclaims the Christ
Although Jesus was the Son of God, he possessed human qualities.
His life on earth began humbly. Jesus’ birth was not announced throughout the land proclaiming that a king was born.
Only a select few knew Christ existed – until now.
A Monumental Ministry Begins
The story of Jesus changes dramatically when John the Baptist steps onto the scene.
The baptism of Jesus began a ministry which turned the world upside down and later became known as Christianity.
When Did He Know?
Jesus understood the mission when he was 12, in the temple as we remember him asking and answering questions — talking intelligently with the religious leaders of the day.
At the time of his baptism, Jesus began to carry out that mission.
Why Not Jerusalem?
Jesus did not go to Jerusalem and talk to the Pharisees or other religious teachers to start his ministry.
These leaders were bogged down, interpreting and distributing the law and its many amendments.
Instead, he found himself at the river where John the Baptist was preaching repentance — and, the people were interested in turning away from sin.
Why was Jesus Baptized?
First of all, Jesus was without sin.
If baptism is a declaration that we are sinners, then why did he need to go through the ceremony?
The Life Application Study Bible gives four possible answers.
1) Jesus identifying with us – This shows the human side of Christ and what God went through to understand our sinful nature.
2) Leading by Example: Christ is the plum bob; the example for us to follow in baptism and in life.
3) Announcement: The first indication that the ministry of Christ had begun
4) The Plan of Salvation: The baptism of Christ took on the sins of all. The Holy Spirit descended upon him showing that God’s plan of salvation was in place.
Truthfully, Jesus did not need to be baptized. Just as everything else he did, he did it for us.
This lesson is a bit longer than I expected and I apologize for my long-winded writing.
So, we’ll wait till next time to look at the Trinity aspect of this passage from Luke.
I hope some of your questions about Jesus’ baptism by John were answered. I know I learned from them.
It’s important to read & study the Bible. Scripture uncovers many mysteries we would have never discovered without it.
And more importantly, reading allows us to hear what God has to say to us! But, we do need to be still and listen. 🙂
Love in Christ
If you have never made the commitment to receive the love and life-changing experience of Jesus Christ, please take a moment to Read John 3:16 for more information.