Sermon: The Jesus of Scripture (Luke 3:21-38)

Luke 3-21-38 Click Here for Audio

The Jesus of Scripture

Down through the centuries, there have been teachers rise up and begin teaching heresy concerning the Person of Christ.

Arianism developed around 320, in Alexandria Egypt concerning the person of Christ and is named after Arius of Alexandria.  For his doctrinal teaching he was exiled to Illyria in 325 after the first ecumenical council at Nicaea condemned his teaching as heresy.  It was the greatest of heresies within the early church that developed a significant following.  Some say, it almost took over the church.– http://carm.org/arianism

God had also raised up a champion of the faith, his name was Athanasius.  Athanasius was a young bishop also from Alexandria, Egypt.  Arius and Athanasius went head to head at the Council of Nicea in 325 AD with Emperor Constantine overseeing it.

Athanatius looked to Scripture and overcame.  Arius was exiled for his dangerous and false teaching.

The result was the Nicene Creed.

We believe in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, Very God of Very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father by whom all things were made; who for us men, and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary, and was made man, and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate. He suffered and was buried, and the third day he rose again according to the Scriptures, and ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father. And he shall come again with glory to judge both the quick and the dead, whose kingdom shall have no end.

And we believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life, who proceedeth from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified, who spoke by the prophets. And we believe one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins. And we look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Why was this issue of the Person of Christ so crucial to the church?  The very Gospel is in jeopardy if we get the Person of Christ wrong.  Athanasius knew this as did the Apostle Paul before him.  Luke also wanted to show the world the true Christ.  He does this by doing two things.  First, Luke shows us the deity of Christ by recording for us the account of Jesus’ baptism when God the Father declares Jesus to be His Son.  Luke also shows Jesus’ humanity when he lays out for us His ancestry.  In these verses, Luke shows us that Jesus is fully God and fully man all at the same time.

 

Luke 3:21-38 (ESV)

Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened,  [22] and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”

[23] Jesus, when he began his ministry, was about thirty years of age, being the son (as was supposed) of Joseph, the son of Heli,  [24] the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melchi, the son of Jannai, the son of Joseph,  [25] the son of Mattathias, the son of Amos, the son of Nahum, the son of Esli, the son of Naggai,  [26] the son of Maath, the son of Mattathias, the son of Semein, the son of Josech, the son of Joda,  [27] the son of Joanan, the son of Rhesa, the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, the son of Neri,  [28] the son of Melchi, the son of Addi, the son of Cosam, the son of Elmadam, the son of Er,  [29] the son of Joshua, the son of Eliezer, the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi,  [30] the son of Simeon, the son of Judah, the son of Joseph, the son of Jonam, the son of Eliakim,  [31] the son of Melea, the son of Menna, the son of Mattatha, the son of Nathan, the son of David,  [32] the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Sala, the son of Nahshon,  [33] the son of Amminadab, the son of Admin, the son of Arni, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah,  [34] the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor,  [35] the son of Serug, the son of Reu, the son of Peleg, the son of Eber, the son of Shelah,  [36] the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech,  [37] the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalaleel, the son of Cainan,  [38] the son of Enos, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.

1. Jesus’ Divine Lineage (3:21, 22)

Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened,  [22] and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”

The first thing we notice in this text is that Jesus came to the Jordan and was baptized by John the Baptist.  Many have speculated as to the reason Jesus was baptized.

John’s baptism, as the Bible tells us, was a baptism of repentance.  Since Jesus was sinless, why in the world would He need to be baptized for repentance?  What did Jesus have to repent from?  Those are very good questions and those very questions lead us to what I believe is the right answer.

Some have speculated and have stated that Jesus came because everyone else was being baptized and He wanted to associate with the people…Others claim that this was His inauguration into ministry…Some claim it was to please His mother as it says in the Gnostic gospel of the Hebrews, others simply ignore it all together.

What is going on here is something only the Savior can do.  Scripture is clear that Jesus took upon Himself our sin and lived a perfectly sinless life.  However, what we often miss is that Jesus also lived for us.  What I mean is that He kept the covenant for us.  He not only remained sinless but did the deeds we should have done.  Here we’re shown that He was even baptized for us.  According to the Bible the Messiah would take on Himself the sin of the people.

Isaiah 53:5-6 (ESV)

But he was wounded for our transgressions;

he was crushed for our iniquities;

upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,

and with his stripes we are healed.

[6] All we like sheep have gone astray;

we have turned every one to his own way;

and the Lord has laid on him

the iniquity of us all.

To get even a better picture of this baptismal scene along the Jordon River we look to Matthew’s account.  Matthew relays the fact that John was extremely reluctant to baptize Jesus because he knew that Jesus was the divine Son of God.  He knew that He had no sin to repent from and he knew that if any baptizing was to be done, Jesus should be baptizing him.  Matthew’s Gospel let’s us in on the reason Jesus came to be baptized by John, to fulfill all righteousness.

Matthew 3:13-17 (ESV)

Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him.  [14] John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”  [15] But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented.  [16] And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him;  [17] and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

Now, as believers, we not only have our sins imputed to Jesus but we have His perfect life imputed to us.  His baptism, His prayers, His perfect obedience, His love for others…

This was a public display that marked the beginning of Jesus’ ministry as Savior.

The Holy Spirit anointed Jesus to minister…

[22] and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove;

The Holy Spirit had been involved in every aspect of Jesus’ life already so this isn’t Jesus receiving the Holy Spirit.  It is the Spirit giving a public testimony of the Son’s ministry.  He was approved by the Spirit.  The Holy Spirit descended, floated down in a similar way as a dove descends to the ground and lands.  The Holy Spirit is not a dove.

God the Father publicly gave His complete endorsement…

and a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”

God the Father gives His complete approval of what His Son is doing.

God the Father was pleased as God the Son was carrying out the plan of redemption.

This verse is the primary point of the entire passage.  God the Father is approving of God the Son’s work of redemption.

When the Father calls Jesus His Son, He is showing that Jesus is of the same essence as the Father.

begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father by whom all things were made;

Not only did John the Baptist understand that Jesus was God, we now have God the Father’s words to prove this fact.  The Apostle John knew this truth…

John 1:1 (ESV)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

The Apostle Paul believed Jesus to be of the same substance as the Father…

Romans 9:5 (ESV)

To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.

Titus 2:13 (ESV)

waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,

The writer of Hebrews believed in the deity of Christ…

Hebrews 1:8 (ESV)

But of the Son he says,

“Your throne, O God, is forever and ever,

the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom.

The Apostle Peter believed that Christ was God…

2 Peter 1:1 (ESV)

Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,

To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:

As we progress through the Gospel of Luke, we’ll see many other proofs that Jesus Christ is the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, Very God of Very God,

2. Jesus’ Human Lineage (3:23-38)

[23] Jesus, when he began his ministry, was about thirty years of age, being the son (as was supposed) of Joseph, the son of Heli,  [24] the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melchi, the son of Jannai, the son of Joseph,… [38] the son of Enos, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.

One thing I noticed as I read through all the names was that people are born, we live, we may have children, and we die.  Life for all those people in Luke’s list seemed very short, even though they lived much longer than we live today.  At the end of the day, their lives are reduced down to son of ___________.

God the Son came to earth and took on this frail life.  He was fully God and became fully man.

This doctrine of the Person of Christ is hard to comprehend, but the fact of Jesus’ dual natures is a biblical fact.

Rev. 1:17-18 (ESV)

When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last,  [18] and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.

So, Luke has traced Jesus’ human ancestry back to Adam.  To prove that Jesus is from a long line of people we have His lineage.

Luke- Traces from present to past…from Jesus to Adam

Matthew- Traces from past to present…from Abraham to Jesus

What we must realize in this long list is that this is really Mary’s genealogy.  This can be seen as one examines the names closely.  We also, understand that Luke adds, being the son (as was supposed) of Joseph.

Luke writes this list and shows at the beginning that Joseph is not a part of it.

Luke ends with the declaration again to prove his point, son of Adam, the son of God.

It’s important now that we ask the question, Why was Jesus’ humanity necessary?

In the early church and during the Apostle John’s day, a heretical teaching cropped up known as Docetism.  Docetism taught that Jesus wasn’t really a man but just appeared to be a man.  So serious was this heresy that John said that it was the teaching of the Antichrist.

1 John 4:1-3 (ESV)

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.  [2] By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God,  [3] and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.

If we are to be imputed with Christ’s righteousness, He had to be our human representative.

The first Adam failed when tempted…Jesus, when tempted did not fail.

Jesus had to be fully man if He was to be our Substitute and die on the cross.

Jesus had to be fully human if He was to represent us to God.

Jesus had to be fully human if He was to be our example and show us a perfect pattern for living.

Jesus had to be human so He could actually die and then be raised again as an example of what our resurrection will be like.

He had to be human if He was to sympathize as our Great High Priest.

Then you might ask, Why then did He need to be fully God at the same time?

Only God could bear the sin penalty for all people who would believe on Him.

Salvation is from the Lord…Scripture teaches that only God can save.

Only Jesus being fully man and fully God could be the Mediator.

1 Tim. 2:5 (ESV)

For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,

Today, we’ve seen the Jesus of Scripture…not the Jesus of the Arians, not the Jesus of the Docetists, and not the Jesus of our imaginations.

We must get the right Jesus if we’re to be saved.  Only the Jesus of the Bible brings to us salvation.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, Very God of Very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father by whom all things were made; who for us men, and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary, and was made man, and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate. He suffered and was buried, and the third day he rose again according to the Scriptures, and ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father. And he shall come again with glory to judge both the quick and the dead, whose kingdom shall have no end.

 

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