The text for this lesson is Luke 3:15–22
- At Jesus’ Baptism, God the Father said Jesus was His beloved Son. God, our Father in heaven, who has made us His children through water and the Word, invites us to come to Him without fear and to ask for anything.
- Law: My sinful flesh must be commanded to pray. The Second Commandment exhorts me to prayer because if it did not, I would despise prayer, let it fall out of use, and would think that only other people should pray.
- Gospel: Through water and the Word, God calls me to be His own dear child. He promises to hear all my prayers and to answer them for the sake of His Son, Jesus, who took my sins to the cross and gives me His righteousness.
- Jesus is ready to begin His public ministry. John the Baptist is preparing His way by preaching of repentance, Baptism, and the forgiveness of sins. Luke provides references to the historical date, stating that it was in the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar, that Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and that the high priests were Annas and Caiaphas.
Everyone was coming out to hear John preach, and many were being baptized by him. The crowds, including tax collectors and soldiers, were learning how to live their lives in conformity to the coming of the Messiah (Hebrew for Christ). No one could use the excuse that they were Abraham’s children. Everyone must repent and bear fruit.
In their expectation, the people who listened to John and were baptized wondered if he was the Christ. But John clearly taught them that he was the forerunner. He told them that the Christ would come after him and be mightier than he was. John’s Baptism granted forgiveness and entrance into the kingdom of heaven to those who repented of their sins (John 3:1–8). He baptized with water, but the Christ would baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire.
After John baptized Jesus, the Holy Spirit descended in the form of a dove and rested upon Him (Luke 3:22; John 1:33). Then the Father spoke from heaven, “You are My beloved Son; with You I am well pleased” (v. 22). The clear reference to all three persons of the Trinity is important here. Baptism is a trinitarian event. God is present in the water according to all three persons.
The Baptism of Jesus is different from our Baptism. He is the sinless Son of God. He did not need to be baptized for the forgiveness of sins. He was baptized to take on our sins. Baptism washes us clean because Jesus bore our sins to the cross. That’s why it was necessary for Jesus to be baptized at the beginning of His earthly ministry. It is the inauguration of our salvation. He is our substitute. He takes our sins and gives us His righteousness. He bears the condemnation of our sin and gives us His heavenly inheritance. In Baptism, we are made God’s children. At each Christian Baptism, the heavens really are opened, the Spirit really descends upon the person, and the Father really adopts that person as His beloved child. From the time of our Baptism, we are God’s children. We have received adoption as sons and daughters. We can rightly cry out, “Abba! Father!” And if we are children, then we are also heirs with Christ (Romans 8:14–17).
In the introduction to the Lord’s Prayer, we confess that we are baptized into His family as His true children, and that He is our true Father. The relationship that He initiated with us in Baptism is the basis of our prayer and the confidence of our faith. The fact that we use the first person plural pronoun “our” places us into a community of the redeemed. We are never alone, even if we pray the Lord’s Prayer by ourselves.