WHAT’S GOING ON HERE?
The theme running through this passage is the question of Jesus identity. Luke records evidence that identifies Jesus as the Son of God. Luke cites the evidence of the Father’s testimony at Jesus’ baptism which echoes what’s said in Psalm 2:7 and Isaiah 42:1-2 expressing the Father’s delight in his Son. Bert de Clos rejoiced over his son Chad when he beat Michael Phelps in the Olympic swimming (video: Youtube saying: ““Unbelievable! Unbelievable! Unbelievable! Look at him, he’s beautiful, I love you!”
Jesus is being identified - and its happening at baptism. Everyone is trying to get clean and he comes to be numbered with the transgressors. His baptism tells us that he will die and rise in our place - inviting us to trust him as he takes our place.
So too the Father sings over his son Jesus. The genealogy links Jesus as a Son to the story of Israel and to Adam the Son of God. Adam (with Eve, in Gen 3:1-6) was tested and failed. Israel were God’s son (Ex 4:22-23) were carried by God but didn’t trust him (Deut 1:30-33). Israel was tested for 40 years, and now Jesus is tested for 40 days – and the issue is “if you’re the Son of God.” For more on Jesus’ temptation read this paper by David Gibson Three sons and the devil
Jesus can be our example in the face of temptation but before that there is good news that he has passed the test we fail. Unlike Adam, unlike Israel he is the righteous Son.Jesus is the beginning of a new humanity – no longer doomed to sin and failure. Everything that was lost in Adam can be regained in Christ. In the Olympics we felt that we won, even though we didn’t compete. Mo Farah and Jessica Ennis weren’t just examples to us they were our champions. They won the race that we didn’t even attempt to qualify for. So too, Jesus is our champion, our “head”.
For a moment we felt ourselves joined to our champions in Sport, crying out “We are Mo”. He was one of us and our champion. Similarly, our cry in life is either going to be “We are Adam” – fallen, failed, unforgiven… or as we respond to the gospel: “We are Christ” – raised up, alive, forgiven. One of these sons of God will be our champion, but which one? As those who live in him, we can trust the word to help us repent and believe in the Son again. At Nazareth Jesus says he fulfils what Isaiah prophesies. He’s the Spirit-anointed Son who has come to bring good news to the world. We call Jesus the Christ which is the Greek word for Anointed one. A title used of Kings.
This king will care for his people. He’ll bring forgiveness for the last and the least, the lost and the little, while the good and the great are going to struggle to believe in him, grumbling and trying to catch him out. Jesus is the starting point with God, he’s the evidence, and when we see him we see one whose Father loves him, wouldn’t it be great if we could know Jesus’ Father in the same way? Luke shows us that when God shows up, he does so in person. Jesus is the Son who fulfils all that was expected from the Old Testament. Will people trust him? Or will he be dismissed as Joseph’s son?