See the notes at Matthew 3:13-17.
He was on the ground at the time when Christ presented Himself to John for baptism. He heard the majestic voice resounding through heaven and echoing through the earth like peals of thunder. He saw the lightnings flash from the cloudless heavens, and heard the fearful words from Jehovah, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” He saw the brightness of the Father's glory overshadowing the form of Jesus, thus pointing out in that crowd the One whom He acknowledged as His Son with unmistakable assurance. The circumstances connected with this baptismal scene had aroused the most intense hatred in the breast of Satan. He knew then for a certainty that unless he could overcome Christ, from thenceforth there would be a limitation of his power. He understood that the communication from the throne of God signified that heaven was more directly accessible to man. Con 29.1
As Satan had led man to sin, he had hoped that God's abhorrence of sin would forever separate Him from man, and break the connecting link between heaven and earth. The opening heavens, in connection with the voice of God addressing His Son, was like a death knell to Satan. He feared that God was now to unite man more fully to Himself, and give power to overcome his devices. And for this purpose Christ had come from the royal courts to the earth. Satan was well acquainted with the position of honor Christ had held in heaven as the Son of God, the beloved of the Father. And that He should leave heaven, and come to this world as a man, filled him with apprehension for his safety. He could not comprehend the mystery of this great sacrifice for the benefit of fallen man. He knew that the value of heaven far exceeded the anticipation and appreciation of fallen man. The most costly treasures of the world, he knew, would not compare with its worth. As he had lost through his rebellion all the riches and pure glories of heaven, he was determined to be revenged by causing as many as he could to undervalue heaven and to place their affections upon earthly treasures. Con 29.2
It was incomprehensible to the selfish soul of Satan that there could exist benevolence and love for the deceived race so great as to induce the Prince of heaven to leave His home and come to a world marred with sin and seared with the curse. He had knowledge of the inestimable value of eternal riches that man had not. He had experienced the pure contentment, the peace, exalted holiness, and unalloyed joys of the heavenly abode. He had realized, before his rebellion, the satisfaction of the full approval of God. He had once a full appreciation of the glory that enshrouded the Father, and knew that there was no limit to His power. Con 30.1Read in context »
After the baptism of Jesus in Jordan He was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, to be tempted of the devil. When He had come up out of the water, He bowed upon Jordan's banks and pleaded with the great Eternal for strength to endure the conflict with the fallen foe. The opening of the heavens and the descent of the excellent glory attested His divine character. The voice from the Father declared the close relation of Christ to His Infinite Majesty: “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” The mission of Christ was soon to begin. But He must first withdraw from the busy scenes of life to a desolate wilderness for the express purpose of bearing the threefold test of temptation in behalf of those He had come to redeem. Con 9.1Read in context »
He condescended to this great sacrifice, not that sin in man should become a virtue, not that sin might be made righteousness. He took the steps that man is required to take in conversion. He went forward in baptism, and when He came up out of the water He kneeled down and offered up such a prayer to His Father as Heaven had never heard before.—Manuscript 25, July 14, 1887, “A Peculiar People.” UL 209.7Read in context »
Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. Matthew 3:13. TMK 31.1
Many had come to him [John] to receive the baptism of repentance, confessing their sins.... Christ came not confessing His own sins, but guilt was imputed to Him as the sinner's substitute. He came not to repent on His own account, but in behalf of the sinner.... Christ honored the ordinance of baptism by submitting to this rite. In this act He identified Himself with His people as their representative and head. As their substitute He takes upon Him their sins, numbering Himself with the transgressors, taking the steps the sinner is required to take, and doing the work the sinner must do.... TMK 31.2Read in context »