Summary: What blessings your Baptism brought you! We see these blessings as we contemplate Jesus' Baptism. Parts: A. He carries your guilt. B. You share his status.

Text: Matthew 3:13-17

Theme: Christ's Baptism Is Yours

A. He carries your guilt

B. You share his status

Season: Epiphany 1a

Date: January 9, 2011

Web page:

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen. The Word from God through which the Holy Spirit connects us to Jesus is Matthew 3.

"Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John to be baptized by him. But John tried to stop him by saying, "I'm the one that needs to be baptized by you, and yet you come to me?"

"In reply Jesus said to him, "Let it be so now, for in this way it's fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." Then he let him.

"After being baptized, Jesus right away went up from the water. And behold, the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and coming upon him. And behold, a voice from the heavens saying, "This is my Son, the Beloved, in whom I have been well-pleased."" (Matthew 3:13-17)

Dear friends in Christ, fellow saints washed clean in the blood of our risen Savior:

A. He carries your guilt

1. Why was Jesus baptized?

It may have been another sunny day along the banks of the Jordan. Another day of the crowds coming to hear the voice calling in the wilderness, dressed in coarse camel's hair with only a leather belt. Another day of John baptizing with water in river as the people confessed their sins, a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. Just another day, until Jesus came.

Why would Jesus come to be baptized? That puzzled John. In fact, he tried to talk Jesus out of it. "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?" (Matthew 3:14 NIV-1984). John knew his own sin. He needed the Messiah to bring him forgiveness. Why, then, did Jesus come to be baptized? What sins did he have that needed to be washed away?

No doubt you remember from Sunday school that Jesus was sinless and holy. Just this past Wednesday the Catechism class looked up 1 Peter 1, which describes Jesus as a lamb without blemish or defect. All his thoughts, words, and actions were pure all the time, perfectly in line with God's law, perfectly righteous. Even unbelievers will often talk about how good Jesus was.

But now dear friends, you're ready for the secret truth. Even as the world praises the goodness of Jesus, they're blind to this truth -- it's so secret. I don't mean to gossip here, but let me tell you what Jesus was really guilty of.

He was guilty of disobeying his parents and talking back. He was guilty of losing his temper and lashing out with his words. He was guilty of loving money, envying what others had, trusting health and wealth for happiness. He was guilty of indecent thoughts, mean-spirited words, loveless actions. He was guilty of neglecting God's word and of misusing God's name. He was guilty of laziness in prayer and slowness to speak God's truth. He was guilty of dishonoring God, not holding him in the highest reverence and regard.

Does that list sound familiar? It should, because it's your sins and mine that I've listed here. That's what Jesus was guilty of: The sins that you and I have committed. I don't mean that he did the same sins we do. He didn't. He himself never sinned. But all our own sins were charged against him - and not only ours. Jesus was guilty of eating the forbidden fruit, of naked drunkenness, of adultery with Uriah's wife, of betraying the Son of God. Yes, the sins of Adam, Noah, David, and Judas. He was guilty of genocide and mass murder, the sins of Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot and the worst criminals and tyrants. Every sin was charged against Jesus. That's why Jesus came to be baptized, to wash away all the sins of the world, yours and mine included.

Yes, what you learned in Sunday school is correct. Jesus is holy. He did not sin, not even once. He was not a sinner. But he was guilty of all the sins of the world, for they were all charged against him. That's what the prophets declared: "The LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all" (Isaiah 53:6 NIV-1984). That's what the apostles preached: "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us" (2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV-1984). That, dear friends, is what we believe, because God has revealed this secret through his Word and the Holy Spirit has convinced your heart of its truth: All your sins were charged against Jesus. He carried your guilt to wash it all away.

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