Summary: Jesus’ baptism publicly affirms that he is the Savior of all mankind.
Last year at this time our nation was reeling over a great controversy – the presidential election. But by mid-January the controversy was put to rest. That month marked the inauguration of our 43rd president.
Inauguration Day marks a special time in our nation’s history. It is the day on which the elected candidate is publicly recognized as Mr. President, and, with our blessings, assumes the office as such.
Christ Jesus came to fill an office and to fulfill a task. He didn’t come to be president of a nation, king of a country, or general of an army. He came to be our Savior. Jesus’ baptism is the event that publicly recognizes this fact. We can say that Christ’s baptism is an inauguration of sorts. It is the God’s public affirmation that Jesus, his Son, is our Savior. His baptism also implies that Jesus has been engaged in the work as Savior. That means Christ is 1) intent on our salvation. Jesus’ baptism also indicates that he has been approved for this job. For, 2) he is content with heaven’s blessings.
1) Intent on Our Salvation
Now, we all know how leaders are elected in this country. It’s based on a vote of confidence in promises made on the campaign trail. That’s how political candidates try to win the approval of the masses – they make promises that seem appealing to most.
God has made some promises of his own. We can say that his “campaign promise” is salvation. This was a promise made to the people. God first vowed to be our Savior to the people of Israel. He spoke through the Old Testament prophets concerning his intent. In fact, God made this promise all the way back at creation. The apostle Paul reminds us of this as writes to the Ephesians, “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight” (Ephesians 1:4). God did not base his promise of salvation on anything we would do, but on what his Son would do. That’s the promise of grace.
That was the promise God made while “on the road.” His campaign road was the path traveled to the cross. The road began in the Garden of Eden and ended at Calvary’s cross. As the Lord traversed this road through history, he was intent on our salvation. He would keep his promise.
And it pleased God to do this. For this was a promise made to all people. God is not selective in his grace. It is for everyone. It is all-inclusive. That’s because we all are sinners. We all need a Savior. We all need God’s promise. And this promise is for all time. It will never be repealed or amended or broken. The Lord keeps his word, always.
We see this truth in Jesus’ own life. Notice how Jesus was not swayed to the right or the left. He stayed on the center of the road. He headed straight for the Jordan River. He didn’t get distracted or misled. And that’s exactly the kind of Savior we need. We’re just the opposite. We get distracted all of the time. Sometimes our determination is weak and misguided. We’re sinful. We don’t keep our word. Just consider all of the promises you made to yourself or to others. How many of them are unfulfilled? I would guess most of them. Every year we make new promises – loose weight, quit smoking, spend more time with family, etc. – only to break them.
Now, it’s not because we lack good intentions. Oh, we often have good intentions to keep our word, but that doesn’t matter. We can’t keep our promises. One of the reasons is that we are often afraid of the “opinion polls” in our lives. We worry about what our friends would think, or we give in to our desires because we don’t want to let ourselves down. “I know I shouldn’t cuss, but everybody talks like that at work. I should wait to have sex when I’m married, but I think I’m in love. After all, everybody else is doing it”, we reason. And then what happens? We break our own campaign promises with ourselves. We burden ourselves with guilt and shame.
We even do that with God. A lot of people feel they have to make a bargain – a campaign promise – with God in order to gain heaven. Maybe you’ve been tempted to think that way in the midst of trouble and have said something like this: “God, if you get me out of this mess, I promise I’ll never miss church again!” Well, have you kept your promise? Truthfully, that’s a promise we just can’t keep. And even if we did, that is no reason for God to give us salvation.