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Summary: I had to ask myself, ‘Why did JESUS need to be baptized?’ After all, this IS the Messiah, the Creator of the World, the Living Word, the Lamb of God, the Lion of Judah, Emmanuel (God with us)…GOD! Why does God come to a body of water to be dunked by a guy

Matthew 3:1-17 The Baptism of Jesus (Life of Jesus, #2) Jan.17, 2009

Story: In the fifth century AD, St. Patrick baptised King Aengus of Ireland on his request. The saint willingly complied. His courtiers assembled with royal state to assist at the ceremony. St. Patrick carried in his hand, as usual, the Bachall Isu (staff of Jesus); at the end of this crosier there was a sharp iron spike, by which he could plant it firmly in the ground beside him while preaching, or exercising his Episcopal functions. On this occasion, however, he stuck it down into the king's foot, and did not perceive his mistake until—

"The royal foot transfixed, the gushing blood

Enrich'd the pavement with a noble flood."

The ceremony had concluded, and the king had neither moved nor complained of the severe suffering he had endured. When the saint expressed his deep regret for such an occurrence, Aengus merely replied that he believed it to be a part of the ceremony, and did not appear to consider any suffering of consequence at such a moment.

This morning, we are continuing our study of the life of Jesus Christ. We began last week with the account of Jesus being found in the temple, asking and answering questions of the teachers there, being about His Father’s business…

This week, we fast forward 18 years ahead into a fascinating moment in the life of our Lord. The first time we see him as a man, fully grown, walking through the crowds down to the banks of the Jordan River to follow obediently the will of his Father, our Father in Heaven.

Turn in your Bible to the first gospel, the book of Matthew, chapter 3:1-17.

Matthew 3:1-17 (New International Version)

John the Baptist Prepares the Way

1In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea 2and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near." 3This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah:

"A voice of one calling in the desert,

'Prepare the way for the Lord,

make straight paths for him.' "

4John's clothes were made of camel's hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. 5People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. 6Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.

7But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. 9And do not think you can say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 10The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.

11"I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 12His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire."

The Baptism of Jesus

13Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. 14But John tried to deter him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?"

15Jesus replied, "Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness." Then John consented.

16As 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 lighting on him. 17And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased."

Our focus today is the baptism of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. What is the first thing you think about when you read this account? For me, I had to ask myself, ‘Why did JESUS need to be baptized?’ After all, this IS the Messiah, the Creator of the World, the Living Word, the Lamb of God, the Lion of Judah, Emmanuel (God with us)…GOD! Why does God come to a body of water to be dunked by a guy wearing a camel-skin suit? And what does that have to do with me? Let’s consider that shall we?

1. Sign to others of what He believes

2. Beginning of Jesus’ ministry

3. Sets an example for us to follow

1 - A very old priest named Zechariah and his just-as-old, barren wife had a son. Sound miraculous? It was! An angel told him that they would have a son, and that he would be great and would lead many back to the Lord. He couldn’t believe it either, so God took away his ability to speak until the child was born. They named him John, and he grew up to become John the Baptizer, a great preacher who paved the way for the coming of the Messiah. Many people heard his message, repented of their sin, and were baptized by John in the waters of the Jordan River.

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