Summary: Eight sermons that deal with eight unique characteristics of Jesus. Got the idea from Joe Causey.
“EIGHT UNIQUE CHARACTERISTICS OF JESUS CHRIST”
We’re studying some of the unique characteristics of Jesus Christ and last week we looked at the uniqueness of His birth. What this means is that when we last saw Jesus he was a toddler returning from Egypt. For the next three decades we know very little about his life. Luke records an event when Jesus was 12 years old and visiting Jerusalem, but other than that, the Bible is silent about his childhood and adolescence. Jesus remained in the carpenter’s shop doing His stepfather’s work, until He was prompted by the Spirit to begin His Heavenly Father’s work. I can’t help but wonder if there was a bit of reluctance on Jesus’ part as He left the familiar sights and smells of the quiet carpenter’s shop to step out and face the opposition He knew would come. I wonder if Jesus worked with two large beams and thought about the cross. I wonder if He ever handled a hammer and large nails and thought about how one day they would be driven into His hands and feet.
But in the fullness of time, Jesus came on the scene to begin His 42-month ministry of redeeming the world. The Bible says in Galatians 4:4 “When the time had fully come, God sent His Son, to redeem those under the Law.” This morning we are going to be reading from Matthew 3:11-17. In Matthew 3 we read that John the Baptist is prepare the way of Jesus and the message of John the Baptist was a simple message of repentance. Repentance was not a new concept to the Jews, but it was a difficult one to accept, especially for the proud Pharisees and Sadducees. John preached this message to the people to prepare them for the coming Christ. This message, readily accepted by many, became a stumbling block to religious officials who saw John as a threat to their control of the people. Jesus went to John and asked to be baptized. This baptism confirmed John’s message, confirmed Jesus as the Son of God, and inaugurated Jesus’ public work. In other words, His baptism was the event that launched His ministry. Read Matthew 3:11-17.
John the Baptist didn’t invent baptism. For many years the Jews had baptized Gentile converts. At the ruins of Qumran where the Dead Sea scrolls were found, there is evidence the Essenes regularly immersed themselves in a ritual bath called a mikvah. But John called upon everyone to repent and be baptized. John 3:23 tells us John was baptizing in a place called Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water there. He wasn’t pouring water or sprinkling people, he would have only needed a trickle of water for that. John’s baptism was a full immersion. After Jesus was baptized, a miracle took place. The Holy Spirit visibly came upon Jesus and God spoke these amazing words, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” What a miracle! I want us examine Jesus’ baptism and learn four important messages that God has for us.
(1) GOD’S MESSAGE TO EVERYONE: Repent of your sins and follow Jesus’ example in baptism
Jesus had no need to turn from sins, but He was baptized for “righteousness sake.” That just meant it was the right thing for Him to do to set an example for us. On the Day of Pentecost, Simon Peter preached a powerful message about Jesus being the only way to heaven. At the end of the message, people asked him, “What shall we do?” Peter’s reply is found in Acts 2:38 and his words still apply to each of us today. He said, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of the Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38) And the Bible says on that day more than 3,000 people turned from their sins and were baptized.
To understand what water baptism is, let’s talk about both the sequence of baptism and the meaning of baptism. First, the timing of baptism is important. The correct sequence is to first repent and place your faith in Jesus and THEN be baptized. It’s not my desire to criticize any other Christian denomination or group, but if you were baptized as an infant, your baptism is out of sequence. It wasn’t your fault, because you didn’t have a choice in the matter. But the Bible teaches baptism is only for those who are old enough to understand that they are sinners and need a Savior. There is no scripture in the New Testament that supports infant baptism. Baptism is an expression of faith by the individual. It cannot, therefore, be practiced by an infant who is incapable of expressing any faith of his own. Only the baptism of believers is authorized in the Bible.