What does it say?
These three chapters are mostly parallel. We already saw Jesus’ baptism by John in John 1. Luke 3 concludes with Luke’s version of Jesus’ genealogical record. From the time following king Solomon, Luke’s record differs from Matthew. Several explanations are possible, but many think that Luke is giving the record of Mary’s family to show that Jesus is a physical descendant of David, while Matthew gives the lineage of Joseph to show that Jesus, legally adopted by Joseph, is a legal descendant of the royal family.
Mark is the shortest of the four gospels and the style is like that of a good journalist – crisp, concise and full of action. Only four paragraphs are unique to Mark, the rest of his material also appearing in Matthew, Luke or both. The author is the John Mark that appears in Acts. He is Barnabas’ cousin, returns home after starting the first missionary journey with Barnabas and Paul, is the reason Paul and Barnabas go different directions in Acts 15, but later becomes a comfort to Paul in prison (Col 4) and loved by Peter as a son (1Pet 5:13). Most believe that Peter is Mark’s primary source of information for his gospel.
What does it mean?
Our Christian baptism is a public testimony that we have placed our faith in Jesus Christ, been forgiven of sin and raised to new life as a follower of Christ. John’s baptism is a ceremonial cleansing, a radical call to clean up one’s life in preparation for the coming rule of God. When Jesus came to be baptized, John protests, God having revealed to him that Jesus is the Christ. From John’s perspective, Jesus has nothing of which to repent. Jesus explains that he is submitting to baptism to fulfill all righteousness. He is identifying himself as the one to take on the sin of the world in his coming substitutionary death.
How will I respond?
If baptism is so important for Jesus, my baptism in testimony of my faith in him should be no less important. If I have not yet been baptized as a follower of Jesus Christ, why would I wait any longer? What valid excuse could I possibly give to delay my baptism? I will speak with someone this week at my church to learn what I need to do. Communion, or the Lord’s Supper, is meant to be a constant reminder of what my baptism symbolizes. How much importance do I give to these very significant elements of my faith, and what steps do I need to take to shore up my life in this area?