Whose Kid Are You?
I remember a time before Jodi and I were married that I was visiting her church. I grew up in Pennsylvania, and she grew up over in Kalona, so I had flown out to visit for a weekend or something. I went to her church, and this elderly gentlemen came up to me and said, “I don’t recognize you – what’s your name?”
I’m guessing you’ve had that kind of thing happen to you before too, but I knew that he was trying to place me, and figure out if he knew me. And when he couldn’t figure it out, when he didn’t know anyone in my family, he growled and just walked away. And I did NOT say this out loud, but I thought to myself - “ha! That’s right! Keep walking! You don’t know me!” And that was when I knew I should be a pastor. :)
- The reality is, it’s not just other people who are trying to figure us out – we’re all on a search to know who we are.
- We want to know where we belong. What tribe can I claim as my own? Who are “my people”? That’s why people are willing to spend big money on websites like Ancestry.com – we’re trying to get to the bottom of where we belong in this world.
You might not have ever thought about it, but finding his identity was important to Jesus as well. Today we’ll look at where he found his roots, and where he anchored his understanding of who he was.
So open with me to Luke chapter 3, if you would. Luke 3:21
The primary question here that people have argued about for centuries is this: if John’s baptism had to do with repentance and forgiveness, WHY DOES JESUS NEED TO BE BAPTIZED?
There are a couple options:
- Maybe it’s because Jesus really IS a sinner and needs to repent like the rest of us.
- 1 Peter 2:22 says “He did not commit sin…”
- 2 Corinthians 5:21 says “God made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us…”
- 1 John 3:5 says “He was revealed so that he might take away sins, and there is no sin in him.”
- Did Jesus need to be baptized because he was a sinner and needed to repent? Not a chance. So that option is off the table.
- Other commentators and writers think it was here that Jesus began to take on humanity’s sin.1 That as people went down in the water to symbolically wash off their sin, Jesus went down in the water to symbolically put their sin on himself.
- Others would say since our baptism is how we identify with the death of Jesus and publicly express our desire to do God’s will, that Jesus’ baptism was his way of stepping into his role as someone who will die in order to do God’s will.
- Still others would say, “Jesus’ choice to participate in John’s baptism represents an endorsement of John’s ministry and message. Jesus by accepting baptism links his cause to that of John.”2 Jesus is baptized by John to solidify John’s role of being the one who prepares the way. They are on the same team.
- Those are all possible, but if we look at the other gospels, specifically Matthew 3, Jesus said to John, “I need to be baptized because this is the way for us ‘to fulfill all righteousness.’” That’s another way to say “this is how we, you and I, John, obey God and do His will.”
So for reasons Luke doesn’t tell us, Jesus is baptized and then he begins to pray. As he prayed, heaven opened and the Holy Spirit, in a physical appearance like a dove, came and landed on him.
You might think, what a completely random thing! A dove flies out of the sky and lands on his shoulder. But Luke says, no it’s not random – it’s the Holy Spirit.
Now, obviously the Holy Spirit isn’t a dove – he was in a physical appearance like a dove. Isn’t it interesting that the Holy Spirit is given that image? A dove? It’s not a lion. It’s not an eagle. It’s not a shark or a war horse. A dove. No one is intimidated by doves. There are some pretty wacky sports mascots out there, but I think you have a pretty decent chance that you will never see the St Louis Cardinals or Chicago Bears change their name to the Doves.
But check out this significance of this from Genesis 1:1-2
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness covered the surface of the watery depths, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters. Then God said “Let there be light…”
Luke 3:22 At the beginning of Creation, the Holy Spirit, like a bird, was hovering, brooding, over the chaos, ready to bring things into order, right before God spoke things into existence. Now, that same Spirit is here at Jesus’ baptism hovering over Jesus, the new Adam, ready to begin a new creation in Christ where he will be making all things new.
And that same voice that said “Let there be light” now speaks again: You are my beloved Son; with you I am well-pleased.
In the words of the Father, Jesus’ identity becomes a lot more clear. UNDERLINE???
You are my Son. That echoes the words of Psalm 2 that we’ve already looked at this morning. You are my son. The Father speaks his blessing, his anointing over Jesus. The theme of Psalm 2 is that of sonship and royalty. There is an inheritance associated with sons; there is recognition; the reputation of the Father is also on the Son.
I am pleased with You. This whole scene looks a lot like Isaiah 42:1 – This is my servant; I strengthen him, this is my chosen one; I delight in him. I have put my Spirit on him; he will bring justice to the nations.
Look at the similarities: I delight in him. My Spirit is on him. How much public ministry has Jesus done to this point? None. And God is pleased with him. Why? You are my Son.
Jesus’ identity for the rest of his life will be grounded in this moment. He is a loved Son, operating in the strength and delight of his Father.
And here’s why it matters: Galatians 3:26, “In Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith” In Christ; in other words, if you have opened your eyes to see that Jesus lived the perfect Christian life in your place, that he died to take the punishment for YOUR sin, and that he rose again so that you could be transformed at a heart level – If you have been adopted into the family of God by faith in the finished work of Jesus, then anything that was available to Jesus is also available to you!
- Jesus had direct contact with his Father through prayer - so do you!
- The heavens opened to Jesus - the heavens are open to you!
- God’s spoken word was heard by Jesus - his word is available to you!
- Sonship, inheritance, royalty, friendship, community with God was available to Jesus - it’s available to you
- Women – don’t get tripped up here by the word sons, and think we need to add “and daughters”; Sons stood in line for the inheritance. Daughters didn’t get anything, because they would marry into another son’s inheritance. But in Christ, you are counted as a son - that doesn’t mean you are stripped of your feminine gifts and qualities, but that you are welcomed as God created you, invited to share in the inheritance of sons!
- The Holy Spirit strengthened and empowered Jesus to do the work he had been called to do - that same strength is available to you!
- Jesus had God’s approval before he’d done one single act of ministry - and if you are in Christ, God fully approves of you even if you are in a straight jacket for the rest of your life and never do a single thing “FOR” God!
- Jesus was identified as a servant, chosen for a specific work - the same is true of you.
Jesus’ baptism is like an inauguration, a call to begin the mission that Jesus came here to complete.5 With the voice of his Father, Jesus is confirmed as the Messiah. The Servant king. And just like the inauguration of a President begins their term and you have to just wait and see how they will rule, how they will lead, what they will accomplish, that is what the rest of Luke will walk us through.
But for now, let’s finish this topic of identity:
 As he began his ministry, Jesus was about thirty years old
Throughout the OT, several references are made to the age of thirty – for example, it was the age the priesthood could begin, it’s how old Joseph was when he entered Pharaoh’s service, Ezekiel was called to ministry at 30, and David became king at 30. So simply by saying he began his ministry around 30 years old, Luke connects Jesus with the OT prophets, priests, and kings. So he was around 30...
and was thought to be the son of Joseph, son of Heli,  son of Matthat, son of Levi, son of Melchi, son of Jannai, son of Joseph,
Now, I had someone scheduled to read scripture for us this morning, but I didn’t have the heart to make someone come up here and hack through 75 names. Nor am I going to try these. Feel free to glance through them – if you grew up around church, you might recognize a couple of these – verse 27, Zerubbabel and Shealtiel you’ll find in the book of Nehemiah; verse 31, you’ll find Nathan, David, Jesse all in 1 Samuel; verse 32, you’ll find Boaz in the book of Ruth; and of course, Judah, Jacob, Isaac, and Abraham and all the rest in the book of Genesis, but the majority of the names are pretty much unknown.
And then Luke ends the genealogy with
 son of Enos, son of Seth, son of Adam, son of God.
By writing this the way he did, Luke is connecting Jesus to all of humanity. Jesus represents all of us…from kings to nobodies. Jesus’ family tree includes rapists, liars, drunkards, murderers, people who indulged in prostitutes. Those who grew up in the faith, and those who didn’t.
As one commentator put it, “Jesus’ genealogy ties all humankind into one unit. [Our] fate is wrapped up in Jesus… He is not some isolated minister to Israel; he does not merely minister to a tiny nation of people looking for political freedom from an oppressive government. Instead, Jesus is the representative of a line of descendants stretching back through the great men of promise like Adam, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and David. This ancestry (which includes a variety of people) confirms his position and tells us that his mission will include the whole world.”6
That’s why in our welcome we can say Jesus has good news for real sinners. He came to represent all kinds of people, not just the ones who have their act together. Not just the ones who know what they’re doing.
The last part of this identity discussion happens in Chapter 4.
 Then Jesus left the Jordan, full of the Holy Spirit, and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness  for forty days to be tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and when they were over, he was hungry.
This is Luke’s way of telling us Jesus is not making things up as he goes. He is being led. “Empowered by the Spirit, Jesus is full of the Spirit, and inspired by the Spirit. His primary role on earth is to serve the plan of the Father, and it is this special relationship and its implications that lie at the root of Jesus’ identity…”7
So it doesn’t come as a big surprise that Satan’s mode of attack is to go straight for that identity.
 The devil said to him, "If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread."
“If” you are the Son of God. It’s as if Satan says, “Okay Jesus – we all heard your dad say he’s pleased with you and you’re his son, yet here you are – hot; dusty; hungry; tired; weary; sunburned, you’ve lost a lot of weight – what kind of loving Father would let his Son live like this?”
Would you not say that’s where a lot of church-going people land? Would you not say that we all face that kind of temptation pretty stinking often?
We are told in sermons, worship songs, bible studies etc that we are adopted into the family of God, that we have been filled and empowered by the Holy Spirit to live the life we’ve been called to live, that God is with us and we can call him Father – that what is true of Jesus is true of you and me.
- He is led by the Holy Spirit - that’s available to you as well!
- He is filled with the Spirit - that’s available to us as well.
- He is led into the wilderness BY THE SPIRIT to be tested by the enemy - God will also lead us into dry and desperate seasons.
And the tempter comes to us in those moments too, and says, “hmm. Not the kind of shape I expected to find a child of God. Thought you’d have more money. Thought you’d have more friends. Thought your health would be better. Thought you’d have more answers to the hard questions by now. Hmm. Thought your marriage would look a little better. Thought your kids would be a little better behaved. Hmm, for a pastor you still seem to be anxious when you shouldn’t be, you would think you wouldn’t still be struggling with sin like you are. Thought you would read your Bible more. Hmm.”
And sometimes, because we’re hungry, we buy it. Sometimes we listen to the voice. We agree with him. You’re right. A child of God shouldn’t look like this. Shouldn’t feel this way.
And when we start to believe that, we try to redefine our identity in something other than what God said about us. Then we as the Church become professionals at Hide and seek. We hide behind our work, our kids, our grades at school, our social media, what church we call home, what church we don’t call home; we look for approval from other people, hoping that they will notice us and applaud something, anything in our lives so we feel like we have something solid to stand on.
There are times when I get together with other pastors, either in our network or even local guys, where I feel like a fraud as a pastor. Like an imposter. Sometimes even here with you, I feel like sooner or later God will bring you a real pastor, because I have no clue what I’m doing.
There was a season in my life where almost every Sunday on the way home from church, I would ask my family what they liked about my sermon that day. “Did I do okay?” I would ask the kids. Grasping. Reaching. Hoping Jodi would tell me I did a good job, so I could feel good about myself, so that I would have confidence that I’m being successful.
Jesus never reached like that. Why? Because the Father’s declaration over him was enough. You are my Son. Everything I have is yours. Your inheritance is more than you could imagine or think, and I am pleased with you. I like you. I love you. I enjoy you.
And if we are truly in Christ, then that same statement is made about you and me! We don’t have to grasp for others’ approval. We don’t have to measure up to the others in our industry in order to be successful in life. We don’t have to keep doing bigger, better, faster in order for God to look at us and say “well done.”
We can stop reaching for things Jesus never reached for in his ministry, stop depending on things Jesus never depended on, and rest like He did, in the Father’s word spoken over us. We can stop playing hide and seek, and realize we are hidden in Christ and our future is just as secure as his. If you are in Christ, if you have died to sin and become alive to Jesus by faith in HIS life, death, and resurrection, then God is not cynical about you. He is not frustrated with you. He is not angry with you.
You are my Son. Everything I have is yours. Your inheritance is more than you could imagine or think, and I am pleased with you. I like you. I love you. I enjoy you.
Our task now, as those who are in Christ, is to rest in what God says about us and not chase the enemy’s temptation or the message of the world that we are what we do.
This morning, I want to end a little differently than I usually do. I want to invite my good friend Alex Ludvicek to come up for the last 10 minutes or so, and finish this out. Alex and his wife Trisha have been here a couple times before – Alex is a pilot with an organization that uses airplane transport to help people around the world, which he’ll tell you a littel more about. But the question I’ve asked Alex to address is, how do you specifically as a missionary in a foreign country, foreign language, unfamiliar place, how do you find your identity in what God says about you, and not chase the enemy’s temptation that you are what you do?
Before you go, let me speak one more thing. Everything we’ve talked about this morning is for those who are IN CHRIST. There are many in our communities, in our cities, maybe even some here today, who are NOT in Christ. If you have not repented of their sins, they have not acknowledged your need for a Savior, not put your faith in Jesus – then none of what we’ve talked about this morning applies to you. The rest, the peace, the identity as a child of God – it’s not yours.
I plead with you this morning to repent of your sin. Acknowledge your need for a Savior. Scripture says if you believe in your heart and confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, you will be saved. So please do that today. Come see me, or someone with a name tag on, and we’d be happy to pray with you.
Romans 15:13 - Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
- Bock, Darrell L. Luke. 2 vols. BECNT. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1994/96., 336
- Ibid, 337
- Ibid, 337
- Ibid, 337
- Ibid, 344
- Ibid, 360
- Green, Joel B, The Gospel of Luke. NICNT. Grand Rapids: Eerdman’s, 1997, 191