John the Baptist was specially chosen before birth to herald the arrival of the Christ to save the world. If he was to decrease and Jesus to increase from there on out (John 3:30), what was the purpose of his baptism and God’s announcement of his pleasure with his son? Outside of John and a few at the water’s side, who would take what they saw and run with it?
As Jesus rose from Jordan’s waters, evil was put on notice that the battle was on. The Father’s pronouncement was mainly for Satan, in whom he was not pleased. Heaven had sent its best to rid the world of the devil’s vile influence.
Thereafter, since Jesus was immediately impelled by the Spirit to go out to the wilderness to be tempted by the devil, it would seem to me that this occasion had a primary audience of one, Satan.
In round one, Satan took three of his best shots and landed none. After that, we are told he left for a more “opportune time.” (Luke 4:13)
The takeaways are these.
- Satan cannot withstand Jesus. His losing streak simply continued even with a concerted effort on his own terms. If we’re on the Lord’s side we can’t lose either, by the way. There’s nothing that can be thrown at us that will work if we abide in the same Spirit that settled on the Son’s shoulder.
- Our first battle with Satan may be the hardest, like parting with likeable old friends (1 Peter 4:4), or eschewing a gripping vice, but doing so can give us some breathing room for rapid spiritual growth, as the devil may leave us for a more “opportune time.”
- We should learn of Satan’s ways in scripture, so that when temptation comes, we can be ready with our defenses up. His playbook never changes.
- If God was well pleased with his Son, so will he be with us as we stand firm against the schemes of the devil. (Ephesians 6:11)
- Not to be lost in all this is the need to put the enemy and the world on notice through baptism of whose side we’re on. If this was the identification method the Lord chose, so should we.
For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. Galatians 3:27