“When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was being baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: ‘You are my Son, whom I love; with you, I am well pleased.’” Luke 3: 21-22 (NIV)
The story of Jesus’ baptism in Luke 3:21-22 establishes a foundation of how He would serve, sacrifice and surrender to God in His ministry to come.
If we look around us, sacrifice isn’t hidden away. It’s there even in what we might see as insignificant moments. In the Gospel of Matthew, John the Baptist claims Jesus should be the one to baptize him instead of the other way around. But the King steps back to place Himself behind those who’d lined up for baptism- those ready to embrace a new beginning with God are put before God in the flesh.
Jesus obeys, laying down His will and surrendering His all, to be sacrificed for all. The reminder of sacrifice and surrender begs a question from all of us: What if our schedule, our time, responsibilities, needs- even our desires and dreams- what if they all took a backseat to our relationship with God?
What kingdoms am I willing to give up in order to make Him King of my life?
If we look at Luke 3:21-22 what stands out?
The act of sacrifice is to give of something we adore in this life- for a will and a purpose greater than our own. God sacrificed for us, giving the world His Son, and Jesus sacrificed for the world, surrendering His will and offering His life.
The Gospels document Jesus’ baptism, but Luke offers us the only clear indicator that the first thing Jesus did to embark upon ministry was to make Himself last. Instead of taking a step forward to lead and model obedience through being baptized FIRST, Jesus instead took a step back…to SACRIFICE and SURRENDER.
When we surrender to Jesus, we give back our lives- including the desire to hold onto the adored things of this life.
The word “when” in these verses indicated a place in time- meaning “just after”- establishing the foundation of faith through authentic sacrifice and surrender. Other translations of Luke 3:21-22 give the same indication that Jesus held back, placing himself last by allowing others to be baptized before Him.
So what can we take away from these verses?
Jesus was willing to sacrifice displaying what it means to put oneself last in servant leadership, he models surrender in baptism and He seeks God first with prayer at a pivotal moment.
To truly be set free from the enslavement of sin, we willingly make ourselves last. That means taking an authentic look at what we’re slaves to and what we are willing to lay down to find freedom in Christ. We SACRIFICE and SURRENDER- just as Jesus did for us.
What would it look like if we really needed the Word of God in a way that isn’t a chore but a gift with every new day, and we’re willing to sacrifice to do what it says?
KRISTY CAMBRON is an award-winning author of Christian fiction, including her bestselling debut The Butterfly and the Violin, and an author of Bible studies, including the Verse Mapping series. She’s a Women’s Ministry Leader at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, KY, and a passionate storyteller who travels to speak at ministry events across the country, encouraging women to experience a deeper life in the Word through verse mapping. Her work has been named to Publishers Weekly Religion & Spirituality TOP 10, Library Journal Reviews’ Best Books, RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards, and received 2015 & 2017 INSPY Award nominations. Kristy holds a degree in Art History/Research Writing, and has 15 years of experience in education and leadership development for a Fortune-100 Corporation, working in partnership with such companies as the Disney Institute, IBM/Kenexa, and Gallup. She lives in Indiana with her husband and three sons, and can probably be bribed with a coconut mocha latte and a good read.