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Notes on message brought 9 May 2010: “The Green Light”
Today we look at Luke’s account of the baptism of Jesus, which we can find in Luke 3 v19 onwards.
The Green Light.
Four thousand years have passed since Adam threw away the opportunity for him and his descendants to enjoy heaven on earth with God. Thirty years have passed since the events that led to the birth of Jesus. The human race is still suffering in bondage to Satan and sin, with the promise of the kingdom of God. This is the moment when God fires that starting pistol, when God shows the green light. From this moment on it’s all systems go as God sets in motion his plan for the salvation of the human race.
- 1. The Three Persons of God
This is a classic passage that talks about the three persons of God. We have heaven breaking open and God the Father speaking from heaven. We have God the Son, God in human form, hearing the voice of the father and receiving his endorsement. And we have God the Holy Spirit descending on the Son of God in bodily form.
Each of the three persons tells us something about the nature of our God, and each provides a different way we can relate to God.
This mystery of God in three persons was reflected on, pondered and has boggled the minds of theologians from the early days of the church. Eventually a new word was formed to summarise the biblical truth – the word “Trinity”.
The doctrine of the trinity can be summarised as follows:
- God is three persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit
- Each of these three persons is wholly God
- There is only one God.
Who can explain such a sublime doctrine? There have been a number of illustrations used to explain the doctrine of the trinity – but they all fall down at some point simply because divine truth can not be limited to human concepts. This is just one explain of many truths that we accept humbly in the knowledge that God’s wisdom is greater than ours.
- 2. The Three Titles of Jesus
- The Son of God
Jesus has livedfor 30 years in obscurity and here he has the ringing endorsement from heaven that he needs in order to start his public ministry “You are my Son…with you I am well-pleased”. The word “Son” here means so much more than our use of it as the physical descendent of someone. The term refers to the one who is the fullest expression of God in every way. As Paul said in Colossians “in Christ the fullness of the deity dwells in bodily form” . What does this mean for us? It means that Jesus is the One who speaks the very words of God. He is One in whom God has divested all his authority and all his power. As God said on the Mount of Transfiguration “This is my Son. Listen to Him”.
- The Son of Man
The long genealogy of Jesus is there for a reason. In it we see that Jesus has direct human lineage that takes His origin, in human terms back to the first Adam. The title given to reflect this is “the Son of Man” This means that Jesus is the supreme example of the human being. It means that though he existed with his Father and the Holy Spirit in eternity, at a point in history he became a man.
This is so important for us to understand properly. If we have a good understanding of the deity of Jesus that is crucial but we need also to have a clear view of the humanity of Jesus. He lived life as a man. That means that without in any way ceasing to be divine, he chose to live a human life putting aside his divinity. As the song goes:
“You laid aside your majesty”
This means that he understand the pain and the joys that humanity in a fallen world experiences. He understands what it means to be born in questionable circumstances, to be a refugee, to grow up in a family, to suffer temptation, to b rejected by friends and enemies, to laugh and cry and to experience excruciating pain. There is no pain that we can experience that he has not experienced worse. Commenting on this the writer to the Hebrews says:
15For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. 16Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4 v15-16)
So in this passage, Jesus is baptised, as we should be; he prays, as we do, he hears from His Father in heaven and he is anointed by the Spirit of God. In all aspects – except Sin – he lives like us. Basically, Jesus is our brother – one of us.
- The Messiah
Messiah literally means “anointed one”. One of the implications of Jesus sharing our humanity is that he is dependent on the Holy Spirit exactly as we are.
When the time came for Jesus to start His ministry, he could not depend on his own resources. As God he could have done, but as man he needed affirmation from heaven and he needed an anointing of power from on high. The same is true for us. Whatever God asks us to do , he will equip us and anoint us for.
It is very significant that the image used of the Holy Spirit at this point is the image of the dove. This is the most gentle, peaceful, graceful and inoffensive of God’s creatures, easily scared away. God’s anointing in us is real – but any sign of unforgiveness, pride, self –centredness he will flutter off. The key to keeping the anointing of god in our lives is in keeping close to God and immediately rectify anything that Holy Spirit shows is displeasing to God. In Jesus, the Holy Spirit dwelled ungrieved, unquenched and operating in power. That can be true of us as we yield to the dove in our lives.
So, Jesus has been affirmed from heaven, anointed for ministry and is ready to start the work God had for Him. The green light has been shown and the main event is about to take place.
But that’s another story.