• on July 31, 2017

Luke 3:21-38 A Story of Earth and Eternity

by Daniel Burton
by Daniel Burton

John The Baptist had sought to prepare the hearts and minds of those in the world for the coming of the Savior.  With the birth of Jesus, the stage was set for the work of the Messiah.  30 years into the His life, the ministry of Jesus Christ was inaugurated by His baptism.  At the outset, Luke clearly lays out the mission and direction of Jesus Christ.  He shows where Christ stood in the grand scheme of eternity and the biblical narrative.  As the Spirit of God descends on Jesus, in the physical form of a dove, the Father voice commandingly booms from heaven declaring Christ as the true son of God.  The fullness of God, all three persons of the Trinity have converged in this moment to rescue mankind. 

“When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

– Luke 3:21-22, NIV

Generations came together at the ministry of Jesus Christ.  In the Gospel of Luke, we see both the eternal story and the earthly story unfolding and laying the foundation for the impact of Jesus Christ.  Jesus came from the ancient of days, from everlasting to everlasting as from God.  Furthermore, he came from man as the new Adam and through the lineage of Kings and Rulers.  The world changed irrevocably through the life of Jesus and the gap between heaven and earth shrunk dearly.  The story of Jesus Christ in the meta-narrative spans the natural and the supernatural, the eternal and the earthly.

The Everlasting and Eternal Story

Jesus is fully divine.  Luke displays this as the heavens open and the Spirit descends on Jesus in the form of a dove, as Jesus is praying.   God arrives in fullness during the baptism of Jesus Christ.  Through Christ, the bridge would be permanently opened between heaven and earth.  Jesus as fully God and fully human stood in the middle of heaven and earth advocating for mankind and representing God to the world.  The Father sent the Son who sent the Holy Spirit.  All of the Trinity sought to rescue mankind from their sins and redeem their life.

Christ bridges the gap between God and man through intervening on our behalf. Click To Tweet

The opening of heaven and the coming of the Spirit is a major foreshadowing of what would be coming.  Everything Christ serves as a means of rescuing humanity and returning us to God.  The first step was the baptism of Jesus Christ and the inauguration of His ministry.  When Christ would be sacrificed on the cross, the veil to the Holy of Holies in the temple would be torn in town.  Access to God would be extended beyond the once a year encounter from the priest.  Jesus would become our great intercessor standing with arms extended into heaven and into earth.  Christ bridges the gap between God and man through intervening on our behalf.  He sought us when we pushed Him aside.  In Luke 3, the redemption of mankind would begin.

The Earthly Story

Joseph, however, took on the role of raising Jesus as His own.  In fact, Luke depicts that it was thought that Jesus was the son of Joseph, although we know this to not be biologically fully true.  Joseph, acting as the father for Jesus in his humanity, fully claimed Jesus as his legitimate heir.  There would be no distinction between the biological offspring of Joseph and Jesus.  Each would share in the inheritance of Joseph and have an equal place at the table.  Just as Joseph adopted Jesus in His humanity, our Heavenly Father adopts us in His divinity.

Just as Joseph adopted Jesus in His humanity, our Heavenly Father adopts us in His divinity. Click To Tweet

The genealogy of Jesus Christ is revealing for a couple of reason.  For the clans of Israel, there are two that stand out with different roles.  The first was the tribe of Levi which constituted the priests who would serve as the ministers and intercessors for the people.  The second is the tribe of Judah which held the royal lineage for Israel as the tribe of Kings and rulers. From the genealogy of Jesus, we see his lineage in the line of Judah, not Levi.  Most would have thought Christ would come to reform the church.  Instead, Christ came to rule overall mankind. The lineage did not stop with Moses, Abraham, or Jacob.  Luke traces the lineage all the way back to Adam and, in doing so, connects the mission of Christ for all mankind and not a cross section of the people.

Talk It Out

Read Luke 3:21-38

  1. Who are some of the notable figures in the lineage of Jesus?
  2. Why do you think it is significant that Jesus is in the line of Judah, rather than the line of Levi? What does this say about the message and mission of Jesus Christ?
  3. Luke traces the lineage back to Adam, the first man.  What is Jesus doing with regard to sin that Adam did not do?
  4. Who are some of the people in your life and lineage that have helped you to grow spiritually to where you are?
  5. How does God adopt us as part of His family? What does it mean that we have become children of God?


For more in this series, check out A Walk Through Luke.

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