Jesus is Baptized
You are my son, whom I dearly love. (Luke 3:22)
It has been several weeks since we read about the birth of Elizabeth and Zechariah’s son, John. After Elizabeth gave birth to her son and she and Zechariah named him John, their neighbors wondered, “What then will this child be?” (Luke 1:66) Thirty years later, John was in the wilderness baptizing people in the river Jordan and exhorting people to acknowledge their sin and accept God’s forgiveness. John encouraged people to be baptized to show that they had changed their hearts.
Some people questioned whether John was the Christ, but John told them that one more powerful than he was coming. John was speaking, of course, of Jesus, who John claimed was so much greater than John was that he was not worthy to untie the thong of Jesus’ sandals. Untying sandals was a servant’s job. John used this imagery to say that he was not worthy even of being Jesus’ servant.
Though each of the four Gospels tell of Jesus’ baptism, each Gospel writer treats it differently. In Luke, the actual baptism of Jesus is only referred to, not described. Luke spends the first twenty verses of the third chapter talking about John the Baptist and his ministry. It is only after describing John’s death when Luke takes two verses to mention Jesus’ baptism: “When everyone was being baptized, Jesus also was baptized” (Luke 3:21). Although it is implied, Luke does not specifically mention that it was John who baptized Jesus.
In Matthew and Mark, the Holy Spirit, in the form of a dove, descended on Jesus as he emerged from the water following his baptism. In Luke, the Spirit descended on Jesus while he was praying. Accompanying the Spirit, a voice from heaven declared, “You are my Son, whom I dearly love” (Luke 3:22). This heavenly declaration affirms Jesus as God’s Son. God’s blessing also serves as a model for those of us who work with children. All children benefit from affirmations of love. This week’s lesson provides an opportunity for you to remind the children in your class that God loves them—God has chosen them just as God chose Jesus. And then remind them that you love them too. As you discuss baptism, be sensitive to those children who have not been baptized yet. Assure them that it is not baptism that makes us children of God. God has already chosen each of us.
God chose Jesus; Jesus chose God.
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