Summary: Sermon on the baptism of Jesus.
Matthew 3:13 – 17 / Let It Be Now
Intro: Nearly everyone recognizes the characters of the Peanuts cartoon series. One of those characters is Pigpen who made his debut in the Peanuts comic strip on July 13, 1954. He is the one who walks around in a cloud of dust, sprinkling dirt on everything he touches. Pigpen is happily messy. He doesn't try to explain it, hide it, or fight it. For him, it's just a fact of life. The Jews of Jesus’ day looked at Gentiles in the same way. To them, all Gentiles were like Pigpen, a dirty person in need of cleansing.
I. The baptism John offered not only to the Gentiles; but also to the Jews was a type of ritual cleansing necessary because they, like Pigpen, were “dirty.”
A. The Jews reserved baptism for the proselyte (GK = STRANGE) The Jews believed they were already “clean” and acceptable to God because they were the chosen people. They saw no need to identify with the “dirty” Gentile; no need to change or repent (“turn away from old ways and turn to new ones.”)
B. Jesus did not fit the requirement of a candidate for a baptism of repentance. Yet, Jesus came to the Jordan River where sinners were called to repentance as well as to John.
C. A CEO of a manufacturing firm got into the habit of showing up in the production area unannounced. Sometimes he would take off his coat and tie, roll up his sleeves, and help on the assembly line. One of the employees asked him why he did that. --- “to understand how the workers think and feel.”
II. VS. 14 - John was surprised by the humility of Jesus’ action. “Why me? Why now?” were John’s questions.
A. Can you identify with John? Have there been times in your life when God has called upon you to do something and you questioned? “Why me? Why now?”
B. VS. 15 – When Jesus says, “let it be” He is really saying to John, “I understand it doesn’t make sense to you. Just do it!”
C. Sometimes we need to be reminded that God’s plan may not be ours and God’s time is not ours.
III. We don’t always get the “why questions” answered. But here in VS. 15 Jesus answers John’s question with “for it is proper for us in this way to fullfill all righteousness.”
A. The word for “righteousness” used by Matthew refers to “justice” Therefore, to be righteous or just is to be faithful to God’s just or right will.
B. In this act, both John and Jesus will be expressing their willingness to accomplish God’s purposes and commission.
C. When we feel we are not the right person or not worthy or not good enough to accomplish what God has called us to do, we should not shirk from the task by seeing feeble excuses; but simply submit to the will of God.
Conclu: Jesus didn’t ask John, he told him, “Let it be NOW.” Now is the time. Robert Schuller once said, “there will never be another now so make the most of today. There will never be another you so make the most of yourself.” When Christ calls you to a task and you catch yourself asking, “why me?” think of John standing before the Son of God being told, “LET IT BE NOW!”