Topic: Luke's Perspective of Jesus: Ch. 3 Study Notes
Luke 3:21-22 (3)
by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 3 Paragraph # 5 Study # 3 Lincolnton, NC May 21, 2006
21 Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened,
22 And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.
1901 ASV Translation:
21 Now it came to pass, when all the people were baptized, that, Jesus also having been baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened,
22 and the Holy Spirit descended in a bodily form, as a dove, upon him, and a voice came out of heaven, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.
I. Luke's Focus on Jesus: Being Baptized and Praying.
1. There are several issues involved in "praying".
a. Wrong-thinking: Matthew 6:7 -- the notion that God will hear just because we "pray" (in the sense of saying many things).
b. Wrong-motives: Matthew 6:5/Luke 20:47 -- the intent to "impress" others (though this sometimes happens without evil intent as when the disciples, impressed by Jesus' prayer-life, sought His guidance in "praying").
c. Proper interests: Matthew 6:9 and following -- Jesus revealed the general parameters of genuine interest as He instructed the disciples.
d. Specific requests for "needs" as outlined in the "general parameters" -- i.e., making requests that fit into the larger picture of the "hallowing of God's name", the "desire to do the will of God on earth as it is in Heaven", seeking daily life-needs such as food and raiment, seeking personal cleansing, and seeking escape from the Evil.
2. That Jesus was praying as He was "baptized" indicates that He wanted the Father's active participation to enable it to have the kind of impact that both He and the Father sought.
a. Prayer is, fundamentally, a one-sided conversation in which a human being addresses God in the context of his life. As such, it can be very "focused" upon a specific "point" that is filling the attention of the person so that most everything else is crowded out, or it can be fairly "broad ranging" as the person considers first one thing and then another. As either of these issues of "focus" take place, the conversation can run from the expression of gratitude to the expression of serious desperation and all points in between. The bottom line is that prayer is designed to be a way of "including" God and, though it is fundamentally one-sided as to "speech", this inclusion of God involves having His response/reaction -- not as "speech" but as consequent action. He actively works at multiple levels. He works within our "minds" to bring a better perspective and He works on our circumstances to adjust them to bring His will to pass by them.
b. It is enlightening to see how "corrupted" the entire issue of John's baptism has become: for this cause we can more easily understand why Jesus would "pray" as He came to this "event".
1) There are few things more intensely critical than a legitimate grasp of how we are to "think" we can "approach" God.
a. The most critical issue is the true glory of God -- i.e., He is as He is and all that men do is going to sponsor His "reaction" as it is governed by His character.
i. Perfect "Love" -- uncorrupted by the "human" realities.
ii. Perfect "Wisdom" -- unyielding to the foolishness of man.
b. Then there is the critical issue of the proper attitude of man -- i.e., neither haughty, nor despairing.
i. Filled with understanding of the corruption that is in us (we have no claim upon God on the basis of anything we have done).
ii. Not rejected by the corruption that is in us when it is seen against the truth of God (we are important to God as His image-creatures and He is willing to be our Helper tobearthatimage).
2) There is nothing more necessary for us than to have God's active provision in the area of "approaching" God.
a. The greatest problem exists at the "Love" level.
b. But the only "solution" is to have God's active intervention in adjusting our mental capacities to His "Love".
i. We are transformed by the renewing of our minds.
ii. Even having an uncorrupted core "Love" will not guard us against the corruption of that core by "mind-games" (is this not the lesson of Adam's experience in the temptation?).
3) Jesus' "prayer" was apparently a request that the Father would attend His actions to the end that His "brethren" would be able to move into understanding.
c. It is challenging to consider the Son "praying" to the Father as if the Father was not going to take action unless He was asked.
1) This raises the entire issue of "conversation" between the Persons of the Godhead: what does omniscience have to say to omniscience?
2) This focuses upon the entire issue of "inter-relating" by means of words. There is something fundamentally "T"heological about verbal communication.
3. All of the rest of the text (heaven opened, the Holy Spirit descended, a voice spoke) is the Father's "response" to the Son's "conversation".
a. We must understand that all "praying" which does not actually "include" the Father is not prayer at all.
b. "Posturing" ends up being the kind of "prayer" in which the Pharisee engaged in Luke 18:11 -- he engaged in a conversation withhimself and God was not "included" for one very pointed "reason": He has no relationship with the proud man.