Dedicated to the writings of Saint Luke.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Jesus in Prayer at His Baptism

The baptism of Jesus is significant for all the gospel writers. Acts 10:37-38 acknowledges that this event was significant. However, the account in Luke is both unique and significantly different from the other gospel accounts. Only Luke includes the phrase, “when all the people were baptized.”[1] Luke does not include the reference to Jesus’ coming from Galilee or being baptized in the Jordan. Luke uniquely notes Jesus’ prayer. Luke has the heaven “open” in agreement with Matthew versus “rent” as in Mark and only Luke notes that the Spirit descended “in bodily form” like a dove. As Nolland said, “Something set Jesus apart from all other baptismal penitents.”

That something relates to the fact emphasized only by Luke that the descent of the Spirit was coincident with Jesus’ prayer, not his baptism. The fact that Luke highlights Jesus’ prayer is unique. One would expect that prayer would be part of the preparation of His ministry. Luke also tells us that the heaven opened while Stephen was praying even as the stones were landing on him. The process of establishing the kingdom began with the baptism of Jesus. Only Luke has linked the kingdom with prayer. Only Luke understood.

[1] The significance of this phrase needs to be further explored at a later date.

copyrighted 2005


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