One day when the crowds were being baptized, Jesus Himself was baptized. As He was praying, the heavens opened, and the Holy Spirit, in bodily form, descended on Him like a dove. And a voice from heaven said, “You are My dearly loved Son, and You bring Me great joy. ” Jesus was about thirty years old when He began His public ministry.Luke 3:21-23
This is only a short pericope but an interesting one as to the way the Gospel writers handle it. I have embolden Luke’s changes above. It is always useful to note the differences between the Gospel writers because many times it will show you their particular emphasis. Both Matthew and Luke have a preliminary section setting Jesus baptism in the midst of all those in Israel being baptized. Luke more specifically says when the crowds were baptized, Jesus himself was baptized. Jesus joined with all of Israel; identified Himself with them. Remember we asked the question as to why Jesus needed to be baptized given what baptism meant. In fact Matthew picks up John comments related to this. Jesus came to John for baptism and John tried to prevent Him from being baptized and said to Him,
“I need to be baptized by you (inference baptized in the Holy Spirit and fire) and yet you come to me.” Jesus responded by saying “Permit it at this time: for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness”.Matthew 3:14-15
Now there is the answer to why Jesus should be baptized.
But what does that mean? Jesus is saying that He is willing to submit to all the ordinances of the law so that this be seen to be done in an orderly way as the law demands. Let’s do everything right so no one can criticize later. We will follow the letter of the law to make sure everything is according to the law. It had nothing to do with cleansing for sin in Jesus case. I wonder if that is why God’s voice boomed out, “You are my beloved son – I am well pleased with you.” Or as Luke puts it to fit with his Joy theme, “You bring Me great joy.” Matthew is bringing out the fact that Jesus lined up with everyone else for the sinners’ baptism and John says “No way, you don’t have to do this. You should baptize me.” Luke on the other hand does not record such a strong statement, but still makes it clear Jesus lined up with the others.
Also he adds the part about the Spirit descending on Jesus in bodily form like a dove. All the crowd would have seen this happening. This was a substantive actual happening of the Holy Spirit landing on him. Just like a dove lands on a person. It is another seal of the coming ministry of Jesus. Sealed by the Father and the Spirit, after all it can’t be sealed by the third member of the Trinity because it is He who is being anointed, sealed for ministry. That is why Luke adds the following verse. These two concepts are meant to go together. Luke makes the connection specifically. This happened to launch and seal His ministry on earth when Jesus was 30 years of age.
What is the significance of “was about thirty years old“? Isn’t it strange that Luke goes to great lengths regarding the timing of other elements of the story, yet when it comes to the anointing of Jesus for office it is vague and uncertain? About 30 ! It doesn’t match Luke’s preciseness. “Approximately 30”. No that is not what is being said. It might be better to translate it when he was approaching 30 years of age, i.e. When he was about to be . . . This matches the age set in Num 4:3 for the age of priests being 30. But they would come earlier to start the preparation. This indicates that Jesus came to be baptized to set the stage for the beginning of His ministry, matching perfectly the time when a priest would take up the office of the intermediary for the people. There is nothing approximate about this. It is all running true to timing. God’s timing.
Our job is not to impress God with what we could do for Him but to embrace what He has already done for us.Cherry Salendu
Expectation is the atmosphere for miracles.Edwin Louis Cole
If you pray about something but still ask people their opinion, it reveals your lack of trust in God.Kirk Franklin