Summary: The significance of the Baptism of Jesus and its relevance to our baptism
January 20, 2019
Behold the Lamb of God
In today’s gospel reading, we find a whole lot to digest. If we are serious about understanding this reading, we will be drawn to a number of readings through the Old and the New Testaments. I hope you will follow through with me and follow up after today’s message by studying the references that we share today.
Let’s start with a reference to Genesis 22:7 “But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!”
And he said, “Here I am, my son.” Then he said, “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”
Indeed! Where is the lamb (Lamb) for the burnt offering? In the Old Testament the sacrificial lamb was brought forth by man. Men prided themselves in selecting the best looking, healthiest lamb for the sacrifice.
Our reading begins with John saying: “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29
THE LAMB of God was neither selected nor chosen by man but rather sent by God the Father. I want to encourage you to not just hear these words but rather absorb their significance. Sure, we know this, but we rarely hold its holy meaning from day to day.
How much deep or spiritual thought was given to the sacrificial lamb chosen by man to be burned on the altar as an atonement for his sins? We can do better than that. We can grasp what John wrote in the Book of Revelation: “I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice:
“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
To receive power and riches and wisdom,
And strength and honor and glory and blessing!” (Revelation 5:11-12)
Repeat with me: BEHOLD THE LAMB OF GOD. WORTHY IS THE LAMB!
I don’t know about you but when I am deep in meditation and repeat those words, it gives me goose bumps. I actually feel a closer presence of that Lamb. CAUTION: we are not seeking some emotional experience; we are seeking a spiritual experience!
And John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?”
But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him. (Matthew 3:14-15)
We talked about this at bible study the other night. By being baptized as a flesh and blood man, Jesus is experiencing and displaying the righteousness that accompanies baptism.
As John baptizes Jesus by immersion in the River Jordan before “seekers” it encapsulates the death, burial and resurrection. Dead to sin – buried (immersed) – resurrected risen from the immersion. I say again – baptism is not some religious ritual or rite of passage. It is a living testimony that one has publicly confessed the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior and renounced the sins of their life.
Next, we read John’s account of the Spirit descending upon Jesus.
“I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.” (John 1:33)
How awesome! Can you just imagine the holiness of the very aura of the Holy Spirit making a physical appearance? If our faith is strong enough, we can experience the very presence AND baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Here we go again! The baptism of the Holy Spirit is not some religious ritual and not some indication of a higher level of devout Christianity. Being baptized by the Holy Spirit is more a matter of deep faith and devotion. By faith the Holy Spirit will certainly visit blessings and His baptism upon you. As for “speaking in tongues”, don’t get all hung up and discouraged. Speaking in tongues is merely one evidence of being baptized by the Holy Spirit. By no means is it a singular or only evidence. That is a subject for another sermon message. Suffice it to say that when you are earnestly, and deeply seeking the Holy Spirit, He will respond. My personal testimony is of a night in a cheap rental in Miami, Florida. I was reading my bible and a sudden urge to submit to the Holy Spirit came over me. I rolled out of bed onto my knees and prayed a prayer of submission. The whole world seemed to vibrate and shake, and I knew that my prayer was answered. This was many years before becoming a devout practicing Christian. It was close to about fifteen years later when God again beckoned me to get serious and “follow Jesus” and eventually enter the ministry.