Now it came about when all the people were baptized, that Jesus also was baptized, and while He was praying, heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven, “Thou art My beloved Son, in Thee I am well-pleased. Luke 3:21, 22 (New American Standard Bible)
The brilliance and wisdom of Jesus Christ is unparalleled in history. We read how at the age of 12 years old His intelligence and understanding amazed the learned men of Israel. It is interesting that the 18 years between that short glimpse of Him in the Temple and His entry into ministry is strangely quiet. I’m sure that today if someone of His brilliance was shown at that tender age there would be a push to get Him in front of an audience. “Let’s get this kid on television.” The only thing Scripture tells us about that time is Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and standing and in favor with God and men (Luke 2:52). The baptism of Jesus was the beginning of His earthly ministry. Jesus was without sin (1st Peter 2:22) and did not need to be baptized with John’s baptism of repentance. Yet He went to the River Jordan where John was baptizing sinners and allowing Himself to be baptized with them identified Himself as their friend and one impossible to tell apart from their existence, who had arrived to seek and to save those who were lost.
Still, it astounds me that God became one of us, taking on humanity. The man Christ Jesus was fully God and fully man. In becoming a man He never gave up His Deity. Who He truly was was demonstrated at His transfiguration. The great glory that was revealed before Peter, James and John at that moment in time was so bright and stunning that Jesus’ face shone like the sun and His clothes were as white as light (Matthew 17:2). In His lifetime this great glory was somehow veiled yet remained as powerful as it was before His Incarnation when He was the literal Presence of God in heaven.
As powerful as His baptism was in identifying Jesus with sinners it was also His Heavenly Father’s obvious approval of His Son and His ministry to humankind and as His Perfect sacrifice for the forgiveness of sin. In the short 3 years of His ministry Jesus healed all who came to Him, brought forgiveness and revealed to us that all who saw Him had seen the Father. He brought a smile and color to the pale face of history. The Mighty God was brought out into the open in the Person of Jesus Christ doing away with the notion that God was spiteful and without pity. A new view was revealed; that Jehovah God is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Jesus is the fullness of the Godhead in bodily form; someone who is approachable, compassionate and real. What is God the Father really like? Take into your arms and heart the Man Christ Jesus and you will know.