Matthew 3: 13-17
13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. 14 But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”
15 Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
This of course is the moment before Jesus’ ministry begins. There are some key points that I would like to unpack as we celebrate baptism.
1. Baptism is about recognizing who Jesus is.
Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me? (verses 13-14)
a. Just before this passage John says this: I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. Matthew 3:11
b. Do you recognize who Jesus is today? Many are here who claim Jesus as Savior but do not recognize the authority He has.
c. The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. Colossians 1:15-20
d. Baptism isn’t just something we do; it is something that we say. Those who are baptized are proclaiming that Jesus is Lord, and King over their lives. Being Baptized is recognizing who Jesus is. e. Jesus work on the cross is symbolized in baptism of our old self being buried and rising from the water into new life in Christ.
2. Baptism is about obedience.
Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented. (verse 15)
a. Jesus is our example. Although he needed no repentance or cleansing, Jesus identifies with the sinful people he came to save through his substitutionary life and death (ESV Study Bible cf. 2 Cor. 5:21).
b. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21
c. Jesus’ baptism was an act of obedience to the Father, but it was also a powerful testimony to the meaning of these older stories, full of nothing less than ocean-splitting deliverance from death to life.
d. Baptism is first an act of obedience to Christ’s command and then a powerful proclamation of the gospel. It is a gift of God to His people. Believers are often forgetful and need constant reminders of our shared story. When we see someone following Christ in obedience to baptism, being symbolically “buried” in water only to be raised by a power that is not their own, our hearts are stirred by our shared story of salvation in Christ.
3. Baptism is a testimony.
As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. (verse 16-17)
a. Baptism is simple; an out expression of an inward transformation. The water in the baptismal is not magic, nor does baptism save us. Baptism is our testimony of obedience to the salvation and redemption that comes from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
b. The Father, as Jesus was raised out of the water, gave testimony that Jesus was His Son; it also pleased Him to see His obedience.
c. Those who saw this take place also witnessed what had happened. d. Our Baptism is a testimony to those in attendance, that we now belong to the Father as Sons and Daughters of the Creator of the Universe! Amen.