Luke 3:21, 22
Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened,
There are some preliminary lessons we do well to learn before we approach the main one; e.g.:
1. That piety will sometimes prompt us to do that which we are under no constraint to do. Jesus was not under any obligation to be baptized with the baptism of repentance. Moreover, he could not be said to be enrolling himself as a disciple of John. But he felt that "it became him" to do what he did (Matthew 3:15); probably his abstention would have been far more likely to be misunderstood than his compliance: hence his action. If we are earnestly desirous of doing everything we can in the cause of truth and righteousness, we shall not stop at the line of positive commandment or of necessity; we shall consider what it becomes us to do and how we shall best serve the purposes of God's love.
2. That God will not fail to manifest himself to us in the hour of need. Again and again he appeared in strengthening grace unto his Son; on this occasion, when "the heaven was opened," etc.; and when "his soul was troubled" (John 10:28); and in the garden (Luke 12:43). So did he appear to Paul in the time of his necessity (Acts 18:9; Acts 23:11; 2 Timothy 4:17). So will he appear in all-sustaining power unto us in the crises of our life.
3. That in proportion to our true devoutness of spirit may we look for the manifestations of God's kindness. "Jesus... praying, the heaven was opened." The main lesson is that those who are God's true children may be assured of his good pleasure in them.
I. GOD'S GOOD PLEASURE IS HIS SON JESUS CHRIST. "Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased." The sentiment of Divine complacency and gladness in Jesus Christ probably had regard to:
1. Our Lord's past earthly life, to the innocency of his childhood, to the integrity of all his life at home, to the preparation he had been making in solitary study and devotion for his life-work.
2. To his then spiritual condition, especially to his attitude toward his Divine Father, his submission to his holy will, his readiness to undertake whatever that holy will should appoint him, and, therefore:
3. To his sacred and sublime purpose, his intention to enter on that great work which should issue in the redemption of mankind. It must have been no slight access of holy strength to the Savior to be so strikingly assured of his Father's love and good pleasure as he entered on that most arduous and lofty enterprise.
II. GOD'S GOOD PLEASURE IN US. We cannot hope to have for ourselves the measure of Divine complacency which was possible in the Person of our Lord. Yet in our measure may we hope to have and to enjoy the good pleasure of our heavenly Father. For us there may be:
1. Full forgiveness of the faulty past. Grieved with all that is guilty, and resting on the abounding mercy of God in Jesus Christ, we are freely and frankly forgiven; so truly and thoroughly forgiven that our past transgressions and shortcomings are buried from the sight of the Supreme; they do not come between our souls and his favor; they are to him as if they were not; they do not make us less dear to his parental heart.
2. Positive Divine delight in our filial loyalty and love. As God, searching our hearts with pure and benign regard, sees in us a true filial spirit, a spirit of grateful love and of cheerful submission and of glad consecration to himself, he is glad in us with a Divine, parental joy.
3. Divine satisfaction with our purpose for the future - our intention to dedicate our life to the service of God and to spend our powers in the service of our kind. - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened,