Luke 3:21
Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened,
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(21-22) Now when all the people were baptized.—See Notes on Matthew 3:13-17. St. Luke’s account is the shortest of the three first Gospels, but it adds here, as afterwards in his report of the Transfiguration, the fact that our Lord was “praying” at the time of the divine attestation to His Sonship. (See Introduction.)

Luke 3:21-22. When all the people were baptized — If we reflect on the number of the people who followed John, and were baptized by him, and the regard they expressed for him before and after his death, and yet that no sect was produced in consequence of such belief and baptism, it will afford a very good argument in favour of the superior power, dignity, character, and office of Jesus. Jesus, praying, the heaven was opened — It is observable, that the three voices from heaven (see Luke 9:29; Luke 9:35; John 12:28) by which the Father bore witness to Christ, were pronounced, either while he was praying, or quickly after it. Thou art my beloved Son, &c. — See note on Matthew 3:16-17.3:21,22 Christ did not confess sin, as others did, for he had none to confess; but he prayed, as others did, and kept up communion with his Father. Observe, all the three voices from heaven, by which the Father bare witness to the Son, were pronounced while he was praying, or soon after, Lu 9:35; Joh 12:28. The Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and there came a voice from heaven, from God the Father, from the excellent glory. Thus was a proof of the Holy Trinity, of the Three Persons in the Godhead, given at the baptism of Christ.See the notes at Matthew 3:13-17. "Jesus being baptized;" or, Jesus "having been" baptized. This took place after the baptism, and not "during" its administration, Matthew 3:16.

Praying - This circumstance is omitted by the other evangelists; and it shows,

1. That Jesus was in the habit of prayer.

2. That it is proper to offer up special prayer at the administration of the ordinances of religion.

3. That it is possible to pray in the midst of a great multitude, yet in secret. The prayer consisted, doubtless, in lifting up the heart silently to God. So "we" may do it anywhere - about our daily toil - in the midst of multitudes, and thus may pray "always."

Lu 3:21, 22. Baptism of and Descent of the Spirit upon Jesus.

(See on [1561]Mt 3:13-17.)

21. when all the people were baptized—that He might not seem to be merely one of the crowd. Thus, as He rode into Jerusalem upon an ass, "whereon yet never man sat" (Lu 19:30), and lay in a sepulchre "wherein was never man yet laid" (Joh 19:41), so in His baptism He would be "separate from sinners."

Ver. 21,22. This history of our Saviour’s baptism is reported both by Matthew and Mark, much most largely by Matthew; See Poole on "Matthew 3:13"., &c. Luke only addeth those words,

and praying, which teacheth us that prayers ought to be joined with baptism. What was the matter of his prayer we are not told, though the following words incline some not improbably to judge that he prayed for some testimony from heaven concerning him. Now when all the people were baptized,.... That came from several parts to John for this purpose, even as many as he judged to be proper subjects of that ordinance, as many of the common people, publicans, soldiers, &c.

it came to pass that Jesus also being baptized; of John in Jordan, he coming from Galilee thither on that account:

and praying; after he was baptized, for the coming down of the Spirit upon him, as man, to anoint, and qualify him for his office he was now about to enter on publicly: and for success in it, and for a testimony from heaven, that he was the Son of God, and true Messiah:

the heaven was opened; See Gill on Matthew 3:16.

{5} Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened,

(5) Our baptism is sanctified in the head of the Church, and Christ also by the voice of the Father is pronounced to be our everlasting King, Priest, and Prophet.

Luke 3:21-22. See on Matthew 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11.

ἐγένετο δὲ κ.τ.λ.] resumes the thread dropped at Luke 3:18 in order to add another epitomized narrative, namely, that of the baptism of Jesus.

ἐν τῷ βαπτισθῆναι κ.τ.λ.] Whilst[73] the assembled people (an hyperbolical expression) were being baptized, it came to pass when Jesus also (καί) was baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, etc. The entire people was therefore present (in opposition to Kuinoel, Krabbe, and others). The characteristic detail, ΚΑῚ ΠΡΟΣΕΥΧ., is peculiar to Luke.

ΣΩΜΑΤΙΚῷ ΕἼΔΕΙ ὩΣΕῚ ΠΕΡΙΣΤ.] so that He appeared as a bodily dove. See, moreover, on Matthew.

[73] Bleek is in error (following de Wette) when he translates: whenHe was baptized. See Luke 2:27, Luke 8:40, Luke 9:36, Luke 11:37, Luke 14:1, Luke 19:15, Luke 24:30; in general, Buttmann, Neut. Gr. p. 226 f. [E. T. 264].Luke 3:21-22. The baptism of Jesus (Matthew 3:13-17, Mark 1:9-11).—ἐν τῷ βαπτισθῆναι: the aorist ought to imply that the bulk of the people had already been baptised before Jesus appeared on the scene, i.e., that John’s ministry was drawing to its close (so De Wette; but vide Burton, M. and T., p. 51, § 109, on the effect ἐν).—καὶ Ἰ. βαπτισθέντος: so Lk. refers to the baptism of Jesus, in a participial clause, his aim not to report the fact, but what happened after it. On the different ways in which the synoptists deal with this incident, vide on Mt.—προσευχομένου: peculiar to Lk., who makes Jesus pray at all crises of His career; here specially noteworthy in connection with the theophany following: Jesus in a state of mind answering to the preternatural phenomena; subjective and objective corresponding.—σωματικῷ εἴδει, in bodily form, peculiar to Lk., and transforming a vision into an external event.—Σὺ εἶ: the voice, as in Mk., addressed to Jesus, and in the same terms.21–38. The Baptism of Jesus. The Genealogy

21. Now when all the people were baptized] The expression (which is peculiar to St Luke) seems to imply that on this day Jesus was baptized last; and from the absence of any allusion to the multitude in this and the other narratives we are almost forced to conjecture that His baptism was in a measure private. St Luke’s narrative must be supplemented by particulars derived from St Matthew (Matthew 3:13-17), who alone narrates the unwillingness of the Baptist, and the memorable conversation between him and Jesus; and St Mark (Mark 1:9-11) mentions that Jesus went into the river, and that it was He who first saw the cleaving heavens, and the Spirit descending.

Jesus also being baptized] Our Lord Himself, in reply to the objection of the Baptist, stated it as a reason for His Baptism that “thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness;” i. e. that it was His will to observe all the requirements of the Mosaic law, which He came “not to destroy but to fulfil.” Other reasons have also been suggested, as (i) that He baptized (as it were) the water—“to sanctify water to the mystical washing away of sin” (Ignat. ad Eph. 18; Maxim. Serm. 7, de Epiphan.; Ps.-Aug. Serm. 135. 4); or (ii) that He was baptized as it were vicariously, as Head of His body, the Church (Just. Mart. c. Tryph. 88); or (iii) as a consecration of Himself to His work, followed by the special consecration from the Father; or (iv) as a great act of humility (St Bernard, Serm. 47, in Cant.). See my Life of Christ, i. 117 n.

and praying] This deeply interesting touch is peculiar to St Luke, who similarly on eight other occasions calls attention to the Prayers of Jesus—after severe labours (Luke 5:16); before the choosing of the Apostles (Luke 6:12); before Peter’s great Confession (Luke 9:18); at His transfiguration (Luke 9:28-29); for Peter (Luke 22:32); in Gethsemane (Luke 22:41); for His murderers (Luke 23:34); and at the moment of death (Luke 23:46). He also represents the duty and blessing of urgent prayer in two peculiar parables—the Importunate Friend (Luke 11:5-13) and the Unjust Judge (Luke 18:2). See Introd. p. 24.Luke 3:21. Προσευχομένου, whilst praying) after His baptism. Luke often mentions the prayers of Jesus, as among the most important events: ch. Luke 6:12, Luke 9:18; Luke 9:29, Luke 22:32; Luke 22:41, Luke 23:46.—ἀνεῳχθῆναι) In bringing it from ἠνεῴχθην, the indicative, as compared with the infinitive, has an augment: the infinitive has, not so much an augment, as an ἔκτασις [an intensification of the meaning].Verses 21, 22. - The baptism of Jesus. Verses 21, 22. - Now when all the people were baptized. This is the shortest account of the first three Gospels of this event. Two circumstances related are, however, peculiar to St. Luke - the fact that he ascended "praying" from the water, and the opening words of this verse, which probably signify that on this day Jesus waited till the crowds who were in the habit of coming to John had been baptized. Jesus also being baptized. There is a curious addition to the Gospel narratives of the baptism of the Lord preserved by Jerome. He tells us he extracted it from the Hebrew Gospel used by the Nazarenes, a copy of which in his day was preserved at Caesarea. "Lo, the mother of the Lord and his brethren said to him, John the Baptist is baptizing for the remission of sins; let us go and be baptized by him. But he answered and said unto them, In what have I sinned, that I should go and be baptized by him? unless, indeed, it be in ignorance that I have said what I have just said." It is, no doubt, a very ancient traditional saying, and is perhaps founded on some well-authenticated oral tradition. If St. Luke knew of it, he did not consider it of sufficient importance to incorporate it in his narrative. In St. Matthew's account of the "baptism," John at first resists when asked to perform the rite on his kinsman Jesus. His knowledge of Jesus at this time was evidently considerable. He was acquainted, of course, with all that had already happened in his "cousin's" life, and probably it had been revealed to him, or told him by his mother (Luke 1:43), that in the Nazareth Carpenter, the Son of Mary, he was to look for the promised Messiah, with whose life-story his was so closely bound up. The answers to the question, What was the reason of Jesus' baptism? have been many. In this, as in many things connected with the earthly life of our Lord, there is much that is mysterious, and we can never hope here to solve these difficulties with any completeness. The mystic comments of the Fathers, though not perfectly satisfactory, are, however, after all the best of the many notes that have been made on this difficult question. Bishop Wordsworth sums them up well in his words: "He came to baptize water, by being baptized in it." Ignatius ('Ad. Eph.,' 18, beginning of the second century) writes, "He was baptized that, by his submission to the rite, he might purify the water." Jerome, in the same strain, says, "He did not so much get cleansing from baptism, as impart cleansing to it." It would seem that Jesus, in submitting to the rite himself, did it with the intention of sanctifying the blessed sacrament in the future. And praying. Peculiar to St. Luke. This evangelist on eight other occasions mentions the praying of Jesus. The heaven was opened, and the Holy Ghost descended... upon him. While he was praying and gazing up into heaven, the deep blue vault was rent asunder, and the Sinless One gazed far into the realms of eternal light; and as he gazed he saw descend a ray of glory, which, dove-like, brooded above his head, and then lighted upon him. This strange bright vision was seen, not only by him, but by the Baptist (John 1:32, 33). That the form of a dove absolutely descended and lighted upon Jesus seems unlikely; a radiant glorious Something both Jesus and the Baptist saw descending. John compares it to a dove - this cloud of glory sailing through the clear heaven, then, bird-like, sinking, hovering, or brooding, over the head of the Sinless One, then lighting, as it were, upon him. In likening the radiant vision to a dove, probably John had heard of the rabbinical comment (it is in the Talmud) on Genesis 1:2, that the Spirit of God moved on the face of the waters like a dove. Milton has reproduced the thought -

"And with mighty wings outspread
Dove-like sat'st brooding on the vast abyss."

(Paradise Lost,' 1:20.) John, for want of a better simile, reproduced the image which he had doubtless heard from his teacher in the Law, when he desired to represent in earthly language the Divine Thing which in some bodily form he had seen. In the early Church there was a legend very commonly current - we find it in Justin Martyr ('Dialogue with Trypho,' 88), and also in the Apocryphal Gospels - that at the baptism of Jesus a fire was kindled in Jordan. This was doubtless another, though a more confused memory of the glory-appearance which John saw falling on the Messiah. And a voice came from heaven; better rendered, out of heaven. We read in the Talmud that "on the death of the last prophets - Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi - the Holy Spirit departed from Israel; but they (i.e. Israeli were availing themselves of the daughter (echo) of a voice, Bath-Kol, for the reception of Divine communications" ('Treatise Yoma,' fol. 9, col. 2). In the Gospels there is a mention of the heavenly voice being again heard at the Transfiguration (Matthew 17:5), and during the last week of the earthly ministry (John 12:28-30). In the story of Israel the Persons of the everblessed Trinity were pleased to manifest themselves on various occasions to mortal eye and mortal ear. Very frequently to the eye, in the visible glory of the pillar of cloud and fire in the desert journeys; in the glorious light which shone in the holy of holies, first in the tabernacle of the wanderings, then in the temple; in the flame as in the burning bush, and in the visions of Isaiah and Ezekiel; in appearances as in the meeting with Abraham and with Joshua. To the ear the word of the Lord spoke, amongst others, to Abraham, Moses, Samuel, and the later prophets. So in this, the transition period of Messiah, the visible glory of God and the audible voice of God were again seen and heard by mortal man. Jerome calls attention here to the distinctness of each of the Persons of the blessed Trinity, as shown in this baptism of the Messiah. "The mystery of the Trinity is shown in the baptism of Christ The Lord is baptized, the Spirit descends in the likeness of a dove, the voice of the Father is heard bearing witness to his Son, and the dove settles on the head of Jesus, lest any one should imagine that the voice was for John and not for Christ." We may with all reverence conclude that, after the hearing of the voice from heaven, "the Messianic self- consciousness would undoubtedly expand with rapidity, both intensively and extensively, into complete maturity. That self- consciousness, it must be borne in mind, would necessarily, so far as this human side of his Being was concerned, be subject, in its development, to the condition of time" (Dr. Morrison, on Matthew 3:17). Was opened (ἀνεωχθῆναι)

So Matthew, but Mark σχιζομένους, rent.

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