Daily D – Luke 3:21-22
When all the people were baptized, Jesus also was baptized. As he was praying, heaven opened, and the Holy Spirit descended on him in a physical appearance like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well-pleased.” LUKE 3:21-22 (CSB)
I was baptized when I was fourteen years old. I had given my heart to Jesus a couple of weeks earlier. I knelt and prayed and asked Jesus to forgive me of my sins and to come into my life.
People tend to want to make a big deal over things like this. I did not want a lot of attention, so I went to the parking lot to our family car and leaned against it. Standing there behind the funeral home, I prayed. It was probably the most real prayer I had ever prayed. What I said is personal, private. Forty-five years later, what I said then is still true. Forty-five years later, our Father in heaven has exponentially answered my humble requests.
Notice that after Jesus was baptized, he prayed. Soon he will leave alone for forty days of fasting in the wilderness. When we get to the end of Luke 9, Jesus resolutely turns toward Jerusalem. He knows every step is one step closer to the cross. Every village and town he walks through will be his last time there. Every conversation with his disciples will draw them closer to becoming his succession plan for taking the gospel to everyone everywhere.
This is like that. Jesus resolutely begins his earthly ministry with baptism, prayer, and isolation.
Immersion is what the word baptism means. It is an act of submission and renovation. It is a symbol of death and resurrection. It is a sign pointing toward life full and meaningful, abiding and abundant.
When we think of baptism and prayer, we typically reverse the order. It is prayer that precedes baptism. Prayer of repentance and confession is necessary before baptism, no question. However, there is prayer that should follow baptism as well. This is prayer of devotion and alignment. We devote ourselves to our God who saves us from the consequences of our sins, and we align ourselves with his purposes in our lives and in this world.
What did Jesus need as he began his ministry of good news and good works? He needed everyone to know he was on the right track and that it was God’s power that worked in him and through him. The voice of God affirmed him with words of perfect love. The Spirit of God descended upon him for all to see. Hearing God, seeing God, experiencing God, no one could mistake that Jesus was out there on his own preaching a message of popularity and platform building.
Stepping into the arena by enduring forty days without food or water, he demonstrated that God at his weakest is more powerful than satan at his best.
This is a good time to pray a prayer of devotion and alignment. This is a good time for resolute direction and confident confession. This is a good time to live in the perfect love of our Father above and the empowering presence of his Spirit within.
Let us pray.
I will devote myself to and align myself with God’s purpose for my life.
Our Father, again today I accept your direction for my life. Lead me according to your purposes for me. Give me resolution and confidence. Empower me for significant service. Motivate me and animate me with your perfect love. Amen.
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Jeremiah 35:12-14 “This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Go and tell the people of Judah and those living in Jerusalem, ‘Will you not learn a lesson and obey my words?’ declares the Lord. ‘Jehonadab son of Rekab ordered his descendants not to drink wine and this command has been kept. To this day they do not drink wine, because they obey their forefather’s command. But I have spoken to you again and again, yet you have not obeyed me.”
Psalm 78:70-72 He chose David his servant and took him from the sheep pens; from tending the sheep he brought him to be the shepherd of his people Jacob, of Israel his inheritance. And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them.
Jeremiah 23:20-22 The anger of the Lord will not turn back until he fully accomplishes the purposes of his heart. In days to come you will understand it clearly. I did not send these prophets, yet they have run with their message; I did not speak to them, yet they have prophesied. But if they had stood in my council, they would have proclaimed my words to my people and would have turned them from their evil ways and from their evil deeds.