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READING: Luke 3-4 – Jesus’s Baptism, Temptations, & Rejection

John preached a repentance-baptism in water for the forgiveness of sins to prepare a people for the coming of the Lord. He said the One coming is mightier than he, for he was not worthy to untie His sandals; while John baptized in water, he said the One coming would baptize in the Holy Spirit and fire. For more on this, see here, a post I wrote as the second in a series of 8 posts in May 2010 plus a June addendum. 

Jesus also came for baptism, not to be forgiven of sins; He had none. Rather, as stated in Matt.3:15, “to fulfill all righteousness.” Since “all righteousness” includes ours, in His baptism He “became for us wisdom from God, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption” (1 Cor. 1:30). When Jesus was baptized, “While he was praying, Heaven opened; the Spirit descended on Him like a dove. A voice from Heaven said, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with You, I am well pleased” (cf. Ps.2:7 & Isa.42:1).  

From His baptism, Jesus went into the wilderness, fasting for forty days. I told one couple when I baptized them, we can usually keep going on a new habit for six weeks. Then we ask, “Why am I doing this?” Later he told me they hit the wall – until they remembered what I said, and they’ve never looked back. 

The devil tempts us when we’re weak. Jesus was hungry after forty days, and the devil tempted Him to turn a stone into bread, “if (which could be translated “since”) you are the Son of God.” Jesus replied with the Scripture: “Man does not live by bread alone.” Next, the devil took him up a high mountain and showed Him all kingdoms of the world, and said, “I will give You this – if You will bow and worship me.” Jesus replied with Scripture: “Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.” 

After this, the devil took Him to the pinnacle of the Temple saying, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down, for it is written, ‘He will command His angels to protect You’ and ‘On their hands, they will bear You up’”. Jesus replied, “It is said, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test ‘”. Then, the devil left Him “for a season”. 

Returning to Galilee, people welcomed Him. In Nazareth, when he went to the synagogue and read the Scripture, He found in the scroll they handed Him. All spoke well of Him, amazed at His gracious words. He said, “You will say, ‘Do in Your hometown what You did in Capernaum. No prophet is accepted in his hometown. There were many Israelite widows in Elijah’s Day, but he was sent to a widow at Zarephath in Sidon. There were Israelite lepers, in Elisha’s Day, but only Naman the Syrian was cleansed.” 

They became enraged. Why? He spoke of preferences for Gentiles over Israelites. 

We need to check our biases at the door. 



Father, my God and Savior, I know that I have some biases. I am uncomfortable around people whom I know are drug addicts, for example. Yet, I love them, for You have taught me to love as Jesus loves – and He loved everyone He met, even though He said some harsh things to hypocrites. Help me, Father, through Your Holy Spirit, to be as discerning as Jesus was in knowing whom to rebuke and whom to bless graciously and with meekness. In Jesus’s name, I pray for Your help, AMEN! 

MY PRAYER FOR YOU (and for me 

Holy Father, I pray for all who may read these words (and for myself) that we may always be seeking to be like Jesus in overcoming temptation, in associating with sinful people (for all people are sinful, except Him), and in never looking down on those whom we would have looked on with disdain before we came to Jesus and determined to follow Him. This is my prayer for me, and hopefully, all who read these words will join me, in His Holy Name, AMEN! 

READING: Luke 2 – Jesus’s Birth and Youth

“When the fulness of time had come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law” (Galatians 4:4) 

Joseph and Mary made the trip from Nazareth to Bethlehem to be registered for the Roman census, but really to fulfill the prophecy of Micah 5:2, “O Bethlehem of Ephrathah, one of the little clans of Judah, from you shall come forth one who is to rule in Israel, whose origin is from of old.” God used Augustus to get Mary to Bethlehem, the right place at the right time. Note the phrase, “whose origin is from old.” That says His origin was older than the hills he created. 

The child when born, was “wrapped in bands of cloth,” and laid in the manger. Angels appeared to shepherds, who rushed to Bethlehem to see the child. They became the first evangelists by “making known what had been told them about this child.” All who heard were amazed, “But Mary treasured all these words, and pondered them in her heart.” 

Forty days later, they went to the Temple to present Him to the Lord. They offered as sacrifice a pair of turtledoves, showing their poverty. 

There, two people spoke with them about the child. Simeon had been told by God he would not die until he had seen the Messiah. He took the child in his arms and said to the Lord, “My eyes have seen Your salvation, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to Your people Israel.” Joseph and Mary were again amazed at what was being said about him. Simeon added to Mary, “This child is destined to be a sign that will be opposed – and a sword will pierce your own soul too.” Then a prophetess, Anna, who was eighty-four years old, widowed after seven years, who never left the temple, “came and began to praise God and speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.” 

When He was twelve, they took Jesus to the Temple for Passover. After the festival, they returned, thinking Jesus was with the group of travelers. When evening came, they could not find Him, so they returned to Jerusalem to search for Him. “After three days they found Him in the Temple sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard Him were amazed at His understanding and His answers.”  

Mary said, “Child, why have You treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for You.” He replied, “Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in My Father’s house?” (NRSV), or, as I prefer, “about My Father’s business.”  

He returned with them to Nazareth and was obedient to them. “And Jesus increased in wisdom, and stature, and in favor with God and man”, a good goal for us! 

Mary kept these things in her heart. 

She is a good example for us to follow! 



Father, my God and Savior, this story is always new and fresh to me. I love hearing it and telling it – like the shepherds and Mary, I was to keep these things in my heart and tell everyone! But when I tell it, most people are not amazed as when the shepherds told the story of what they had seen and heard. My prayer to You is, how can I learn how to present this story with the rest of what Jesus did and taught, for I know this is just the beginning of his exposure to the people of earth. In His name I pray for Your help. AMEN! 

MY PRAYER FOR YOU (and for me) 

Holy Father, I pray for all who may read these words (and for myself) that we may always be in awe of the incarnation of Your Son in human flesh – for Him to leave Heaven and come to earth, not in the King’s Palace, but in a humble home among poor people must have been a culture shock on steroids! That He came, knowing that death awaited Him, but he came anyway, is truly amazing. And knowing that His death would be by crucifixion did not stop Him from coming. He is truly Immanuel! When we really see Him, we see You. This is my prayer of thanks from me, and hopefully from all who read these words, in His Holy Name, AMEN! 

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