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WHY DID JESUS NEED TO BE BAPTIZED?
So why would Jesus need to be baptized by John?
Well... Jesus' baptism by John was the beginning of Jesus' ministry
Mark 1:1 starts out: "The BEGINNING of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God" and then Mark starts telling us about Jesus' baptism by John.
In Luke 3:23 we're told of Jesus' baptism by John and then we read: "Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he BEGAN HIS MINISTRY..."
Obviously, for some reason, Jesus' ministry began with His baptism.
Now, at this point in Jewish history, water baptism served one of 3 purposes.
1st, there was the Baptism Of Repentance.
This was what John the Baptist's was preaching.
But of course Jesus didn't need to repent because He hadn't sinned.
The 2nd kind of baptism was for people who desired to convert to Judaism.
It was a Baptism Of Conversion.
If you were a Gentile who wanted to convert to Judaism, they baptized you in water.
ILLUS: Jamieson, Fausset and Brown explained that: "The Jews were accustomed to say of a heathen proselyte, on his public admission into the Jewish faith BY BAPTISM, that he was a new-born child."
So, baptism was used when someone wanted to convert to Judaism. But Jesus had no need to convert to Judaism. He already was one. He'd been born a Jew.
So baptism in those days could be for repentance or conversion... and Jesus did not need to be baptized for those reasons. So, for what OTHER reason would a person be baptized in water back then???
Well, the only other people who experienced baptism - in the Jewish faith in that day were priests. The Law dictated that especially the High Priest was to "washed with water." And the Temple had pools set aside for just that purpose.
In Leviticus 8:6 we're told that - by the instruction of God -- "Moses brought Aaron and his sons forward and washed them with water."
Then, later, during that ceremony Moses "poured some of the anointing oil on Aaron's head and anointed him to consecrate him." Leviticus 8:12
This act INITIATED Aaron's ministry as High Priest. When Aaron and his sons were washed with water and anointed with oil, they BEGAN their priesthood and were empowered to make sacrifices and to handle holy things as God's representatives.
At that point (their baptism) God put His mark of approval on the ministry of Aaron and his sons.
The Bible tells us that Jesus' ministry began with His baptism by John.
After His baptism, the Father anointed Jesus with the Holy Spirit as it descended on Him in form of a dove. And the Father put His mark of approval on Jesus by loudly declaring:
"This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." Matthew 3:17
This was the beginning of Jesus' ministry as our High Priest.
Did you realize Jesus was our High Priest?
Indeed He is!
Hebrews 4:14: "...we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God..."
From the day of His baptism by John at the Jordan until His death on the Cross, Jesus (as our High Priest) prepared the ultimate sacrifice for our sins... His own body.
John Williams III
Jesus lifted up the spirit of a discouraged preacher who retired early because of what happened to him. "In the Pentecostal Evangel church leader George U. Wood writes:
"Have you ever heard a healing take place? I have. I listened to an audiotape of Duane Miller teaching his Sunday school class from the text of Psalm 103 at the First Baptist Church in Brenham, Texas, on January 17, 1993. Duane prematurely retired from pastoring three years earlier because of a virus which penetrated the myelin sheath around the nerves in his vocal cords, reducing his speech to a raspy whisper....
"Teaching his class that day with a special microphone resting on his lips,
he reaffirmed his belief in divine healing and that miracles had not ended
with the Book of Acts. Listening to the tape, at times you can barely
understand his weakly spoken wheezy words of faith. The miracle happened at verse 4 when he said, "I have had and you have had in times
past pit experiences."
"On the word pit his life changed—the word was as clear as a bell, in contrast to the imperfect enunciation of the preceding "word past. He paused, startled; began again and stopped. He said a few more words—all in a normal clear tone—and stopped again. The class erupted with shouts of joy, astonishment and sounds of weeping. God completely healed him as he was declaring the truth in this psalm. (You can read the full account in Miller’s book Out of the Silence, Nelson Publishers.)". (Craig Brian Larson. Choice Contemporary Stories & Illustrations For Preachers, Teachers, & Writers. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1998, p. 116). If there is anything that this story tells us it is this, never underestimate what God can do! It was the healing touch of Jesus that gave Rev. Duane Miller the full range of his voice again!
Christian Mass Media Reaches Adults in Surprising Numbers **
(Baptist Press) -- More adults experience the Christian faith through
Christian media, such as radio, television or books, than by attending
Christian churches, according to a new study by the Barna Research
Group. The survey found that 63 percent of American adults attended a
church service during the previous month, while 67 percent of Americans
tuned in to Christian radio or television or read a Christian book other
than the Bible.
Christian radio is the fastest-growing medium for spreading the faith,
with slightly more than half the nation’s adults saying they had tuned
in to a Christian radio program of some type during the previous month.
Also, the number of radio stations utilizing a Christian music format
has made the Christian music genre one of the fastest-growing categories
in the music industry during the past two years, according to
researchers. Christian television draws a significant number of American
adults as well, with 43 percent claiming to have watched some Christian
programming on TV during the previous month.
Thirty-three percent of adults said they read a Christian book other
than the Bible during the previous month. Several Christian titles, such
as the "Left Behind" series by Jerry Jenkins and Tim LaHaye, the Jabez
series by Bruce Wilkerson, and business books by John Maxwell, are among
the country’s top-selling books.
Researchers were surprised to learn that 44 percent of Americans who are
associated with a non-Christian faith were reached by Christian media in
the prior month. One-third of those who described themselves as either
"atheist" or "agnostic" admitted to listening, watching or reading
something related to the Christian faith. Researcher George Barna
observed that large numbers of the atheists, agnostics and adults
aligned with non-Christian faiths intentionally absorb information from
the Christian media in an effort to learn more about the faith. More
information may be obtained at www.barna.org.
The Jordan River flows from the top of Mount Herman where the snow melts and travels down to the lowest point on earth, the Dead Sea.
For the most part the Jordan River is neither beautiful nor peaceful. It’s 25 percent mud and plunges downhill at a furious pace, falling nine feet per mile.
In this river where words were uttered that has influenced the course of history. This river Jordan that many believe Jesus was baptized is now a barrier between the two hostile nations of Israel and Syria for thirty miles.
Amid the not so beautiful, sometimes furious river, east of Jericho, there is a peaceful and beautiful bend called the ‘Ford of the Partridge.’ It’s a place of great beauty, shaded by willows and eucalyptus trees, much as it was in New Testament times. According to tradition, Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist in this very place.
The place of our baptism is a spot of beauty and peace amid a furious flowing river of hate and strife. When those who sought to take Him confronted Jesus he went away again beyond Jordan into the place where John first baptized; and there he abode. (John 10:40)
Whether at this location on...
The year was 1772, and a Baptist preacher serving a small country church was called to pastor a large, more prestigious church in London, England. As the story goes, John Fawcett delivered his farewell sermon and packed up his family’s earthly possessions, ready to go. It was the tears of his parishioners, helping them load the carts, though, that really got to John and his wife."I cannot bear this! I know not how to go," she said to him. "Nor I, either," he replied "Nor will we go. Unload the wagon, and put everything in the place where it was before." (The Story of Christian Hymnody, by E.E. Ryden, ©1959, Augustana Book Concern, p. 301)
JOHN THE BAPTIST AND THE MANDAEANS
One religion exists to this day that reveres John as their main prophet:
The Mandaeans were originally native speakers of Mandaic, a Semitic language that evolved from Eastern Middle Aramaic, before switching to colloquial Iraqi Arabic and Modern Persian. Mandaic is mainly preserved as a liturgical language. During the century's first decade the indigenous Mandaic community of Iraq, which used to number 60-70,000 persons, collapsed in the aftermath of the Iraq War of 2003; most of the community relocated to nearby Iran, Syria and Jordan ... proclaiming the chief Mandaean prophet to be John the Baptist, [Wikipedia]
Like John the Baptist, Charles Spurgeon, a Baptist minister, also preached fire and brimstone sermons. For that, he was greatly criticized in the newspapers. Articles appeared regularly disapproving of his methods, his motives, his mannerisms, and his messages. He was made to look like a villain in cartoons, and caricatures. Several writers questioned whether he was even a Christian. Not long before he died, one of his friends came to visit him in his study and said, “Do you know, Mr. Spurgeon, some people think you are conceited.”
Mr. Spurgeon thought about that for a moment, smiled, and said, “Do you see those bookshelves? They contain hundreds, nay thousands of sermons translated into every language under the heaven. Well, now, add to this that ever since I was twenty one years old, there never has been built a place large enough to hold the number of people who wished to hear me preach, and, upon my honor, when I think of it, I would wonder (am surprised) I am not more conceited than I am.”
Thank God, not everyone lets the negatives of life keep them from accomplishing what God wants them to do.
On June 18, 1999 Gary and Gloria Sloan, Southern Baptist missionaries, who had been on the field of Mexico only six months, were enjoying a birthday celebration for their daughter, Carla, at a popular swimming spot on Mexicoâ's Pacific coast. With them were two other young missionaries from the United States, Joy Murphy and John Weems.
Due to a strong undertow, Carla began to be pulled out to sea. Gary Sloan and the other two missionaries rushed to save eleven-year-old Carla, but were overcome and drowned, as did she.
When Carlaâ's body was brought to shore, Gloria doubled over in agony, unable to breathe. But it was then that she felt the physical presence of Jesus. Gloria said, "I felt such a strength and power and control. I looked down at my daughter, and I had such a peace" (The Commission, a publication of the International Missions Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, pg. 29).
A large group of people gathered to watch this unfolding tragedy. And before long, four bodies lay in the sand. But what happened next is truly amazing. Gloria stood over the bodies of her dead loved ones and gave witness to the saving power of Christ. She told the people, "The pain I felt because of the loss of my husband and daughter was not as much pain as I felt for the true lostness of those standing around me" (Ibid, pg. 29).
Gloria Sloan th...
SURPRISE WITH JOY AND DELIGHT
She squealed with joy – I just know she would. She grinned and chuckled while dashing from room to room as she gazed at all the balloons, streamers and other decorations scattered about. Her little fingers mined through the candy, presents, and other trinkets of fun spread over the dinner table. “Wait for mom”, I said. My baby turned ten today, and minutes ago she walked through the door after a long day of school. She awoke this morning grinning as I sang Happy Birthday (badly I might add). But little did she know when she awoke that dad intended to surprise her with unexpected delight and joy.
I think it’s great to surprise others on their birthdays – if only to see the joy and delight on their faces. But you know what’s better: to be a surprise to others. Like John the Baptist, my daughter was born to shine the light of Christ from within her, and to be a joy and delight for many. Just like them – you’ve also been born to be a joy and delight to so many. So what do you say; let’s surprise someone today the joy and delight we have from within.
Sermon Central Staff
ERWIN MCMANUS AND HIS "JOHN THE BAPTIST"
As we begin today I would like to read a true account of an experience that pastor, speaker, and author, Erwin McManus had in the early years of his ministry. Listen to what he says...
"I got a message through the urban grapevine that I was dead. It might surprise you that in the dark corridors of the urban jungle there are many prophets -- mostly prophets of doom. This angel of death went by the name William. Through my work in one of the projects, his common-law wife had come to a personal faith in Jesus Christ. He was in prison and heard the news of her conversion. He did not consider this good news. I had trespassed onto his territory. A crime punishable -- yes, that's right, you got it -- by death. So I got the word -- several times actually -- that when he got out of prison, I was going to be his first stop. He had spent most of his adult life behind prison walls, and by his own description he had broken all of the commandments. This time he had gone to prison for slitting a man's throat. That man was the brother of his common-law wife, whom we will call Lupe.
"When I heard he was released from prison, I decided to find him before he found me. He lived in a small apartment complex surrounded mostly by dilapidated houses and run-down storefronts. The complex was walking distance from the skyscrapers downtown and sat in the middle of what had once been one of the city's most prestigious neighborhoods.
"You don't ever forget meeting someone like William. He was in some ways an ethnic anomaly. He was a white guy in the middle of a Latin community who had a reputation for being good with a knife. He was in his mid-thirties, and life had made him as hard as stone.
"We sat face-to-face in a dingy apartment filled with loud children and usually inebriated neighbors. But before I knew it, we were there alone -- just William and me. I don't recall how it happened. I never noticed the exodus. It was only the silence and discomfort of the moment that made me aware of how everything had changed. Metal bars on the windows, the door soundly shut. We were alone.
"He swiftly reached into his jacket, pulled out a knife, and with a quick move of his wrist opened it where its position made the metal gleam in my direction. Like someone remembering a secret pleasure he smiled and said, 'This is the knife I slit his throat with. The police never got it.'
"A thousand thoughts were rushing through my mind. But I really didn't have any material in the category of 'witty responses to use shortly before dying at knifepoint.' I remember entertaining the thought that Lupe's brother didn't die; William just cut off his vocal cords. That thought was not at all comforting. I knew my next, my first, perhaps my last sentence was of utmost importance. And then the words came. It was as if I heard them for the first time even as he heard them.
"'William, that knife is going to send you to hell!' I looked straight into his eyes, and I knew he was shocked that I said it. To be really honest, I was shocked that I said it. But I was still breathing, which allowed me to gain courage. And so I proceeded: 'You think you're tough...' Halfway through my sentence I heard a scream in my head, What are you thinking? So I adjusted. 'Well, William, you are tough, but you're not free. You're not in prison, but you're still a prisoner. Behind every shadow there's someone waiting to kill you.'
"Somehow William's normal approach to life, one of violence and retaliation, was restrained that day. He listened, and we established a strange kind of friendship. I wish I could tell you that William's life changed that day or that it changed some other day in the future, but best I can tell, William's life never changed. But what did happen I'll never forget. William became my John the Baptist, who would prepare the way for me throughout the streets of south Dallas. He often boasted that he and I were friends because, as he would put it, he was radical for evil and I was radical for God" (Erwin R. McManus, Seizing Your Divine Moment (Thomas Nelson Publishers: Nashville, Tennessee, 2002), 128-130).
McManus took a risk. Rather than cowering at the threats of impending death by a crazy-man, he confronted William head-on. Now you may think that he's out of his mind -- that he's just plain stupid for doing what he did -- but the reality is he faced his fears with the boldness and strength that can only come from God. McManus seized a divine moment that was given him by God, and the result was an open door of opportunity for the gospel to spread into the inner city of Dallas, Texas.
(From a sermon by Eric Lenhart, Seizing Your Divine Moment, 8/16/2010)