Jesus is one of the people baptized by John, but his baptism is unique.
Why? Well, the heaven opens up, the Holy Spirit descends in bodily form, like a dove, and a heavenly voice echoes forth, deeming Jesus "my Son, the Beloved" (3:22), in words that allude to scripture (check out Psalm 2:7 and Isaiah 42:1). Yeah, we told you it was unique. Jesus is about thirty years old at this point.
Luke includes a long genealogy of Jesus, whose lineage via Joseph can be traced back all the way to Adam—yeah, that Adam—and therefore to God.
Yes, our eyes glaze over as we read this list, which is about as interesting to us as a phone book. Here are a few highlights.
First, Luke of course points out that Jesus is only "thought" to have been the son of Joseph. He is in fact the Son of God, and we have read all about the act of conception in 1:35.
Second, the David of 3:31 is the second king of Israel and the first of a long dynasty of rulers over Judea. You can read all about him in the books of Samuel.
Conclusion: Jesus's family is impressive. And we thought the Kennedys were something.
Jesus departs from the Jordan full of the Holy Spirit, which leads him into the wilderness.
The Holy Spirit guides Jesus straight into the clutches of another supernatural being, the arch demon a.k.a. the devil or a.k.a. the "Slanderer," who puts Jesus through the grinder for forty days.
Jesus eats nothing for nine-hundred and sixty hours straight. Apparently squaring off against a supernatural foe is not challenging enough.
Jesus is starving. Clearly.
The devil tries to take advantage: "If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become a loaf of bread" (4:3).
Jesus responds with a quote from Deuteronomy 8:3. He's got soul-food, and that will suffice.Zing!
The devil tries another tactic. Look, here's every kingdom of the known world. They're all for Jesus, if he wants them—after all, the devil controls who's in charge. (Yowza: what does this imply about Luke's view of the Roman empire?)
The catch is that Jesus has to worship the devil in exchange.
No thank you. God's the only God Jesus worships.
The devil doesn't give up. He leads Jesus to a towering pinnacle of the temple's precinct in Jerusalem and double dog dares him to jump. After all, scripture does say that angels are supposed to protect the Son of God, even if he's about to stub his toe (the devil has read his Psalms; check out 91:11-12).
By quoting scripture the devil tries to use Jesus's own logic in 4:4 and 4:8 against him. But it doesn't work, because Jesus fires back with Deuteronomy 6:16, "Do not put the Lord your God to the test" (4:12).
The devil finally gives up—at least for the time being.