The Lord’s Baptism (verses 21-22)
The coming of Jesus
Both Matthew and Mark record that Jesus came from Galilee (Nazareth) to Jordan. The years of subjection to earthly parents and the obscurity of the hidden years were over. He who had come from Heaven to Bethlehem now comes from the reproach of Nazareth to Jordan, to commence His public ministry.
The concern of John
John at first objected, saying: “I have need to be baptized of Thee, and comest Thou to me?” Without this comment we would perhaps have wondered why there was the need for Jesus to be baptized at all. He had no need of repentance, as He was inherently holy! However, the Lord instructs John that it was the right thing to do, and, in being baptized, He was identifying Himself with the righteous remnant in Israel who were prepared to stand for God. In this, we see the devotion of the Son to accomplish the work given to Him by the Father.
Communion in prayer
Only Luke records that Jesus was praying, and this is in keeping with the dependence of the Saviour in the gospel of the perfect Man. At least seven times in Luke, the Lord Jesus prays. On the mountain in solitude, in the garden in sorrow, on the cross in suffering, He cried to His God in supplication. What an example to encourage us to pray also in our dependence upon the Father.
Complacency of the Spirit
Heaven was opened upon Him. Here was a Man for whom there was no barrier between heaven above and earth beneath. In the day of millennial glory, the heaven will be open again, and the angels of God will be seen to ascend and descend upon the Son of man (John 1.51). However, here, it is the Holy Spirit who descends as a dove upon the baptized Christ. There is now a Man on earth that the Spirit of God can rest upon. The psalmist says: “Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest.” John’s gospel does not deal with the baptism as such, but he alone reveals the reason for the visible emblem of a dove being used. In John 1.33 the Baptist declares: “Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, the same is He which baptizeth in the Holy Spirit.” Thus, John concludes: “And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God” (John 1.34).
The commendation of the Father
The visible sign of the Spirit is accompanied by the audible voice of the Father saying: “Thou art my beloved Son; in Thee I am well pleased.” In Mark and Luke the pleasure is more personal, as the Father directly addresses the Son. However, in Matthew it is more official, as He calls the attention of others to the Son of His great pleasure. This is of course true for all time, but may be a particular reflection upon the 30 years that are now past. The Lord Jesus confirmed the extent of this pleasure in John 8.29, when He said: “I do always those things that please Him.”
The context of the genealogy verses 23-38
The only genealogy found in the New Testament is that of the Lord Jesus. Someone has said it is because He was the only One who needed to prove His manhood (in Luke’s record) and His kingship (in Matthew’s record). In Luke, it is generally agreed that we have Mary’s genealogy, while Matthew presents the legal line through Joseph. However, both trace descent from David, which is essential to confirm the Lord’s right to Kingship. Luke also gives more extensive detail in tracing back to Adam, who was of God.
Note that the words “the son of” are not in the original text, with the exception of verse 23: “ … (as was supposed) the son of Joseph.” Where there are differences in the names recorded, this can simply be explained by the fact that one is Joseph’s genealogy, while the other is Mary’s.
Thus, the Lord “began to be about 30 years of age.” What grace marks this statement! The patient waiting was over, and He had now reached the age when Levite service would officially begin. Mingled and anointed with the oil of the Holy Spirit, the Father was saying to all: “Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth” (Isaiah 42.1).