Luke 12:50, “But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!”
In Matthew chapter 3 we read about the time the Lord made the journey from Galilee to Jordan to be baptized by John the Baptist. The journey took the Lord about 3 days as it was approximately 70 miles between those two points and He more than likely traveled by foot. When the Lord was baptized, “the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:16-17). The Lord was not baptized this day to become the Father’s Son (“this is my Son”). Jesus Christ was baptized this day that He might be declared to be Who He is (John 1:31, “manifest to Israel”), and that He and His obedient children would be identified together as one. In a similar way, water baptism has never made a person a child of God but declares them to be what they are by God’s sovereign grace and gives them identification with a people who believe the truth about the Lord and His doctrine.
When we examine the events of Matthew chapter 3, it is easy to discern that these events took place in the early days of the Lord’s personal public ministry. The words spoken by the Lord in Luke chapter 12 were much later, after the events of Matthew chapter 3. What is the Lord referring to concerning this “baptism to be baptized with?” The Lord is informing the hearer of the time, of the future time as it related to that moment, when He would be baptized with the wrath of the Father in His crucifixion and death.
In every baptism there is an element, subject (person or persons) and an administrator. When the Lord was baptized of John in the water of Jordan, John the Baptist was the administrator; the Lord was the person (subject); and the water was the element. In Luke 12:50, the Lord is the person (subject); His Father is the administrator; and the Father’s wrath and anger against sin is the element. The Father’s wrath and anger was not caused by any wrong doing of His only begotten Son; with Him He was well pleased. But by the wrong doings of a people the Lord loved before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:3-5). The Lord, in His great love, came into this world to please and satisfy His Father (Isaiah 53:11) concerning their sin (wrongs). In doing so, the Lord was baptized with the wrath that was for their sins. In Psalms 69:1-4 we read a prophecy concerning this baptism, “Save me, O God; for the waters are come in unto my soul. I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing: I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me. I am weary of my crying: my throat is dried: mine eyes fail while I wait for my God. They that hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of mine head: they that would destroy me, being mine enemies wrongfully, are mighty: then I restored that which I took not away.”
The word that should now draw our attention in Luke 12:50 is the word “accomplished.” This word means to bring something to completion or to finish. In Psalm 69:4 we read, “then I restored that which I took not away.” The Lord, by His baptism in the wrath of the Father (in His crucifixion and death), accomplished the work of salvation (pleased the Father concerning His people’s sins) and restored that He took not away (sin had separated the elect, not the Lord). And by this information, we should now have a better understanding of John 19:30 when the Lord spoke with a loud voice “It is finished.” The Lord accomplished the work of salvation; pleased the Father’s judgement against the sins of His people; and restored them to the Father’s welcoming presence by His baptism in the crucifixion and death. Amen!
Elder Ronnie B. Loudermilk