The Lord Jesus Christ - baptism and temptation

His baptism

This is mentioned in all four Gospels. Matthew 3:13-17, Mark 1:99-11, Luke 3:21-22, John 1:29-34.

    The event.

      • when He was 30 years old Jesus left His Nazareth home, and took the long journey from Galilee to the River Jordan.
      • Here John the Baptist was preaching and baptising
      • Jesus waited until the rest were baptised, and then presented Himself.
      • John attempted to hinder Him, aghast that the spotless Lamb of God should insist on a baptism intended for sinners.
      • He recognised that Jesus needed no purification, but was qualified to give it to those who did need it, including himself.
      • Jesus said - "Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfil all righteousness"
      • John, recognising Christ's identity, yielded to higher authority, and proceeded to baptise Him.
      • the baptism was by immersion, in the River Jordan.
      • Jesus went up out of the water immediately and was praying as He did so.
      • At that moment the heavens opened; and He witnessed it
      • He saw the Spirit of God descending in bodily form, as a dove, and settling on Him
      • This symbolises purity, meekness? gentleness, peace, beauty.
      • It remained and rested on Him, in fulfilment of Isaiah 11:2,
      • This confirmed to John that he was indeed baptising the promised Christ
      • A voice. from heaven announced - "Thou art my beloved Son? in whom I am well please
      • Each Person of the Trinity was thus manifested at the event
      • Immediately the Spirit led Him into the wilderness, to be tempted of the Devil.

    Its significance.

      • This baptism was a purifying rite for repentant sinners who were confessing and abandoning their sins in order to prepare themselves for the coming of the Messiah.
      • Why, then? was the sinless Christ Himself baptised by John?
      • It was a baptism for sinners. The Lord Jesus Christ had come to identify Himself with sinners - to live, die, and rise again on their behalf. Such identification was necessary for Him to fulfil all righteousness, and to secure it for them. His baptism publicly marked His identification, pledged Him to the cross, and in this sense was necessary "to fulfil all righteousness"
      • The Old Testament priests were priests from birth, but lived for 30 years as private persons. At 30 they stepped out of private life and assumed their public responsibilities, and this was marked by a ceremony ( Num 4:3, Lev 8) Our Lord's baptism had a similar significance (John 1:31). It was a rite which foreshadowed His own priestly activity (Luke 12:50).
      • The voice which Spoke from the rent heavens set the Father's seal of approval on the silent years, and gave assurance that He who was now formally instituted into Messiah's office was sinless, qualified to embark on His public ministry, and indeed the One of which the Old Testament spoke (Psalm 2:7, 12, Isaiah 42:1)
      • From His conception to Calvary, all that the Lord Jesus Christ did was "through the eternal Spirit" (Heb 9:l4). Although He never had a restricted measure of the Spirit (Jn 3:34), at His baptism He received that extraordinary anointing of the Spirit which endued Him with the power and gifts necessary to discharge His public ministry (Acts 10:38), and marked Him out for evermore as the One who Himself baptises in the Holy Spirit (Jn 1:32-33).
      • The baptism of our Lord is the first distinct revelation of the doctrine of the Trinity. That this should take place at this public inauguration was a demonstration that the work of redemption is the work of the whole Godhead. The Father sent the Son who was led and upheld by the Spirit. It is in this threefold Name that we ourselves are baptised (Matt 28:19)
      • By this act our Lord established the way in which we are to testify to our union with Him. He identified Himself with us, and signified the death, burial and resurrection through which He was to pass for us. When we are baptised as believers we signify our complete identification or union with Him in that death, burial and resurrection. (Rom 6:3-5, Col 2:12). Thus it becometh us.
      • Without clear views of Christ we will drop out of the spiritual race.
      • We are therefore looking at His Person and Work.
      • We have studied His pre-existence; His birth; His childhood; His youth and early manhood; His baptism; and tonight we come to:-

His temptation

      This is recorded in Matthew 4:1-11, Mark 1:12-13, Luke 4:1-13.

      When it came.

        • after the approval of heaven comes the assault of hell; after the dove, the devil.
        • it lasted throughout a forty-day period, in which Jesus did not eat
        • the period ended with three particular temptations, recorded in detail
        • afterwards the devil "departed from him for a season."
        • this shows that our Lord was tempted again later; indeed, throughout His life
        • "he himself has suffered being tempted." (Heb 2:18).
        • "in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin." (Heb 4:15).

      From whom it came.

        • from a personal tempter, not from within - "in him was no sin." (1 Jn 3:5).
        • a struggle with an external adversary seeking to deflect Him from His high purpose
        • not in luxuriant Eden, but in the wastes of Jordan
        • by three representative tests
        • who can imagine their intensity !?

      Where it was aimed,

        • On the physical plane - appetite: the desire to enjoy things.
        • "the lust of the flesh" (1 Jn 2:16).
        • the desire for food is God-given, legitimate, and innocent
        • if He was God's Son, why not use His unique powers to satisfy His hunger ?
        • the temptation was so crafty that none of us would have recognised it as a Satanic attack.
        • but Jesus was "made like unto his brethren" (Heb 2:17)
        • the temptation was to call into service powers His brethren could not employ
        • to satisfy a legitimate craving in an illegitimate way
        • He chose not to use His deity to minister to His humanity
        • He chose to walk in His Father's will, and to await His word and provision

      On mental plane - ambition: the desire to achieve things.

        • "the pride of life" (1 Jn 2:16).
        • Satan took our Lord to the Temple's parapet, overlooking the Kidron valley
        • "anyone looking down would be giddy, while his sight would not reach to such an immense depth" (Josephus)
        • the temptation was enforced by a misquotation of Psalm 91:11-12
        • the devil challenged Him to jump, and to put God's promise to the test.
        • but Jesus could distinguish faith from presumptuously running into danger, and thus tempting God
        • He avoided the peril of fanaticism
        • and refused to dazzle people into faith.

      On the spiritual plane - avarice: the desire to obtain things.

        • "the lust of the eyes" (1 Jn 2:16).
        • the temptation was to give to Satan the place which belongs to God alone
        • it was an offer of world dominion
        • the crown was to be His without a cross, but by means of a compromise with Satan.
        • our Lord had indeed come to receive world dominion
        • He was to receive it from the Father's hand, in the Father's way, at the Father's time. The Father's way was a cross.
        • This is the way our Lord chose.
        • He would employ only spiritual and moral means to achieve spiritual and moral ends.

      How it was met.

        • our Lord did not argue with the devil, or spend time talking things over
        • He resorted to the Scriptures, which He knew, and in which He had faith
        • He listened to the Word of God, not the word of the tempter
        • He brought God's Word to bear on the issue, and thus resisted the devil, who fled.
        • He maintained the same attitude throughout His life and ministry.
        • The devil seeks to attack us. Temptation is a certainty for the Christian. 1 Peter 5:8.
        • We should resist him just as our Lord did, and he will flee from us. James 4:7-8a.
        • We may also call upon our Lord who has not only resisted but finally defeated, the devil. Heb 2:16-18, 4:14-16.

        We may be certain that we shall never once meet a temptation which is too much for us. 1 Corinthians 10:12-13.