Luke 3:15-17, 21-22
Peace be with you!
The world claims us as different people at different times. I am a daughter, a dog lover, a Christian, a biker, a skier, a writer, a leader, an artist, an individual with Cerebral Palsy, an advocate, a social justice poseur, a student, a mentor, a friend, a sister, an American, a thinker, a speaker, a listener, a teacher, a poet, a reader, a crazy girl in an electric wheelchair, and so much more. I wear different hats at different times. The person I am with and what we are doing determines what role claims me at the moment.
People have been traveling to see John the Baptist in the wilderness for some time now. They are beginning to wonder if he may be the Messiah (Luke 3:15) that is promised in Isaiah. The individuals are filled with expectation for the Messiah who will set them free from the oppression of the Roman government. The Jews hope they will be freed to rule themselves.
John the Baptist is said to be the Messiah by the crowd, which he rebukes. Someone more powerful than John the Baptist is who will baptize with the Holy Spirit, not water (Luke 3:16). John the Baptist is not the Messiah, and someone more powerful than him is coming and that person is the Messiah. The people must keep waiting for the Messiah to come.
The lectionary leaves out Luke 3:18-20 where Herod puts John the Baptist in prison for speaking the truth about the good news. This piece of information is important to the Gospel of Luke, because it explains Herod’s jealousy and raises questions in the next verses. Herod’s jealousy becomes one of the reasons why Jesus will be crucified and killed. There cannot be two King of the Jews, and Herod came first. Jesus being called the Messiah, meaning King of the Jews, poses a threat to Herod’s kingship.
When Jesus comes to be baptized in the wilderness, the heavens open up and a voice says, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.” (Luke 3:21-22 NRSV). Based on our discussion on the fact that John the Baptist is prison, who baptizes Jesus? The other three gospels have John the Baptist baptizing Jesus in the Jordan River, but in Luke no one appears to be baptizing Jesus. A voice says, “You are my Son.” (Luke 3:22c). God the Father baptizes Jesus with the Holy Spirit.
God baptizes Jesus as his son with who he is well pleased with (Luke 3:22d). Baptizing is an action done by God the Father where he is claiming and confirming Jesus Christ as his only begotten son. The action belongs to God the Father alone.
When we are baptized, God is claiming and confirming us as his beloved children to the whole world. By claiming and confirming us as his children, the world cannot argue that we do not belong to God the Father. We belong to God no matter what happens.
No matter what the world claims me to be, I am always God’s child, which he claims and confirms daily through his love and grace. You are claimed and confirmed as a child of God.
Come, oh Lord, come!
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for claiming and confirming Jesus as your only begotten son and us as your children. Help us to understand that you claim us at our baptism. It is your loving action that welcomes us into the fellowship of disciples. Thank you for providing us with your love, forgiveness, and grace. Amen.
Thanks to the Triune God – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
Please answer the following reflective questions in the comments below. Please agree to disagree and be respectful to each other. (If you have not already done so, please also take a moment, to sign the comment covenant.) You can answer as many questions as you would like.
1. What does the world claim you to be?
2. How does God continue to claim and confirm us as his child?