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Heaven’s Perception of Jesus

The Gospel of Luke  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  31:41
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Heaven’s Perception of Jesus - Luke 3:21-38

Luke 3:21–22 ESV
Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened, and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”

Jesus’ Baptism (vv. 21-22): Confirmation from Above & Identification With Us Here Below

This significant occurence at the baptism of Jesus is recorded in all four gospels. In Luke’s account, John’s role is minimized, as is even the baptism itself. What is emphasized is Jesus dependence on the Father through prayer, and especially God’s confirmation of Jesus’ identity and role in accomplishing God’s purposes (including his power and authority from above).
In his baptism Jesus identifies with the people he came to save, and the affirmation of Jesus from above reveals that he is indeed the Messiah, the one God has sent into the world to offer salvation.
Jesus’ decision to participate in John’s baptism likely serves three purposes: (Bock, 337)
By doing so Jesus endorsed John’s ministry and message.
- This matters because John’s ministry and message is specifically with regard to the Coming One—even Christ himself.
Through this baptism Jesus identified himself with people as he began his ministry.
Luke: An Introduction and Commentary A. Jesus’ Baptism (3:21–22)

At the outset of his ministry he publicly identified himself with the sinners he came to save.

(though he was not a sinner… as is confirmed in the following section where he proves he’s prepared for this ministry)
(And especially emphasized here in Luke) The Spirit descending on Jesus reveals him as the Coming One that John has been pointing to, proclaiming that he will bring a greater baptism (of the Spirit).
I am inclined to agree with Darrell Bock’s conclusion about what actually took place here with the Holy Spirit: “What was visible was not a dove, but rather what was seen is compared to a dove [....] The manner of the Spirit’s descent was like the way a dove floats gracefully through the air.” (338)
Each Person of the Godhead was involved in the activity of the Son on earth, including His baptism. The Son was baptized, the Holy Spirit descended on Him, and the Father spoke approvingly of Jesus. (The Bible Knowledge Commentary) - “Jesus ministry has God’s enablement [and authority] behind it.” (Bock, 335)
The fact that heaven was opened shows that in Jesus, God was breaking into human history.

Jesus is not only a man; he is also the uniquely loved Son of the Father (see note on John 1:14).

Authenticated by the Father and anointed by the Spirit, the Son is ready for the ministry for which he came.
What kind of king will he be? (Or What is the nature of his rule?) How will he accomplish salvation? - Luke uses the remainder of his gospel to answer these questions.
“But the emphasis here is that God has spoken. […] God has shown who will accomplish his plan.” (Bock, 345) - God is taking the initiative to show humanity the way to Him.
We read the genealogy, which is mostly names we don’t recognize (with one or two handfuls that we do), because Luke wrote it to make a point that he had carefully traced the line of Jesus.
Luke 3:23–38 ESV
Jesus, when he began his ministry, was about thirty years of age, being the son (as was supposed) of Joseph, the son of Heli, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melchi, the son of Jannai, the son of Joseph, the son of Mattathias, the son of Amos, the son of Nahum, the son of Esli, the son of Naggai, the son of Maath, the son of Mattathias, the son of Semein, the son of Josech, the son of Joda, the son of Joanan, the son of Rhesa, the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, the son of Neri, the son of Melchi, the son of Addi, the son of Cosam, the son of Elmadam, the son of Er, the son of Joshua, the son of Eliezer, the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Simeon, the son of Judah, the son of Joseph, the son of Jonam, the son of Eliakim, the son of Melea, the son of Menna, the son of Mattatha, the son of Nathan, the son of David, the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Sala, the son of Nahshon, the son of Amminadab, the son of Admin, the son of Arni, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah, the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor, the son of Serug, the son of Reu, the son of Peleg, the son of Eber, the son of Shelah, the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech, the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalaleel, the son of Cainan, the son of Enos, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.

Jesus’ Genealogy (vv. 23-38): The History of Israel & the Human Race Viewed With a Broader Lens

Like a good Greek historian,

Luke says “about thirty” (3:23) rather than stating an estimate as a definite number, as was more common in traditional Jewish historiography.

Jesus was in his early 30s.
Why don’t Luke’s and Matthew’s genealogies agree exactly? - One possibility is that Matthew traces the regal descent while Luke traces the physical descent. Perhaps the simplest explanation is the best: Matthew traces Joseph’s lineage, while Luke traces the lineage through Mary’s family line bc Joseph was not biologically Jesus’ father.
A further support for this view is that it fits Luke’s purpose. Since he was writing for a largely Gentile audience, Luke wanted to trace Jesus’ physical descent (which had to be through Mary), showing that He was not only the son of David, but also son of Abraham (through whose descendants God promised to bless the nations), and son of Adam (which relates Jesus to the entire human race). Matthew, on the other hand, writing for primarily a Jewish readership, wanted to authenticate Jesus as the legal heir of the throne of David through Solomon, who was Joseph’s ancestor. Since Jesus was Joseph’s adopted son, Matthew traces the legal right to the throne through him. (Steve Cole)
There are at least four elements that make this genealogy in Luke unique: (adapted from Bock, 349)
The genealogy’s placement not at the beginning of the gospel but here between the baptism and temptation of Jesus
- deliberately sandwiched in the middle of events where Christ’s sonship is emphasized
This genealogy does not work forward but backward, from the present back to the beginning. (Luke uses the formula “son of” to create this descending order…)

Like Greco-Roman genealogies, but unlike Matthew and Old Testament genealogies, Luke starts with the most recent names and works backward.

- Drawing attention (at nearly the very end) to Adam just before the temptation account.
The extension of the genealogy all the way back to Adam reflects a universal point of view.
- Important in terms of Jesus offer of salvation to all mankind - “Not only does this argue for a literal Adam, it links Jesus with all humanity, showing that He is not only the Savior of the Jews, but also the Savior of any son or daughter of Adam who will turn to Him.” Cole
- (I also contend that this is) Important because we are meant to see a perspective that is more akin to heaven’s view than our own.
“Jesus’ genealogy […] ties all humankind into one unit. Their fate is wrapped up in Jesus. His ministry, as seen from heaven, represents the focal point of history.” (Bock, 360)
(Similarly) The inclusion of sonship to God brings the reader back to creation, giving a comprehensive temporal perspective… AND setting up a similarity-dissimilarity between Adam and Jesus.
“The key names are David, Abraham, Adam, and son of God. […] Jesus possesses the proper roots to the be promised agent of God. He is in David’s line, pointing to a regal figure. He is Abraham’s seed, pointing to the Abrahamic promise. He is Adam’s seed, relating him to all humanity. And he is the Son of God.” (Bock, 350) - And what shall we make of Jesus being called the Son of God?
Luke 1:35 ESV
And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.
Luke 4:3 ESV
The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.”
[subtitle slide]
Luke: An Introduction and Commentary B. Jesus’ Genealogy (3:23–38)

Luke adds the son of God, for we must see Jesus ultimately in his relationship to the Father.

“Jesus alone as God in human flesh is uniquely qualified to be both the Messiah of Israel and the Savior of those from every nation who call upon Him.” Cole
There is a reason why Luke waited until this point, between the baptism and temptation of Jesus, to insert this genealogy. By calling Adam the son of God, Luke does not mean for us to see Jesus as the Son of God in the same way (Luke 1:32, 35 and 4:3, 9 emphasize the uniqueness of this title for Jesus). Rather, Luke wants us to see an important contrast. The first Adam, created by God, was supposed to reflect God’s image, but he failed through yielding to Satan’s temptation, plunging the human race into sin and death. But Jesus, the second Adam, the unique Son of God, triumphed over Satan’s temptation (4:1-13). Through His sacrificial death on the cross, He alone offers salvation from the curse of sin and death brought about by the first Adam. Luke’s point is that Jesus is the only qualified Savior of the human race. - Cole
Jesus is the Messiah of Israel and Savior of the World
“The lineage confirms his position and suggests his ministry’s comprehensive character. In him, the entire hope of the OT is inseparably and eternally bound. In him, as well, the fate fo all divinely created humans is bound together.” (Bock, 360)

Conclusion: Correcting Our Perception

Doing we need heaven’s perception of our reality?
God has spoken concerning Jesus. We do well to listen. God has revealed himself through Jesus. We do well to worship Him. (forsake all else and follow him)
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