Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened. Luke 3:21
In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus’ baptism and heaven’s pronouncement are more gradual than in the other Gospels. Matthew and Mark seem to indicate that just as Jesus was coming up out of the water the heavens were immediately torn open for all to see, and the voice of God bellowed forth for all to hear. Luke’s account is quieter and more personal. Jesus had been baptized. He was off praying. Then, for a moment, it was as if the heavens opened, a dove seemed to descend, and Jesus sensed God’s affirmation of His life.
There are some people for whom coming to faith is an unmistakable thunderclap experience. But for many, many others, the experience of the divine is more subtle, mistakable, and something that requires continued faith. If Jesus was entirely certain about His connection with God, if He did not have moments of doubt, if He had conclusive proof of who He was, then He is entirely unlike most human beings. If Jesus’ own religious epiphany was a bit more nuanced, however, then He is fully prepared to be the Lord and Savior of those of us who are less than certain about most issues in heaven and on earth.
Do you want Jesus to be a superhero who is impervious to doubts, or do you want Jesus to be your Savior, who struggled through the trials of life on His way to faith?
Lord, the great promise of our Christian faith is that You have walked the paths we walk, You have suffered the same fear and doubt and affliction that we endure, and You have grappled with the same questions and concerns that plague our own lives. Because You made Your way through a life similar to ours, You have the power to lead us to a life that is similar to Yours. Thank You for that gift and for Your ever-present guidance. In Your name, I pray. AMEN.