Summary: Straight after the Christmas message in Matthew 2 all of a sudden Matthew speaks about Jesus as a grown man. In MATTHEW 3 Jesus is baptised. Jesus begins a new phase of His life. It starts with a baptism. It’s time for us to baptise the new year in!
BAPTISING THE NEW YEAR IN - 2010
Straight after the Christmas message in Matthew 2
all of a sudden Matthew speaks about Jesus as a grown man.
In MATTHEW 3 the Spirit descends upon Jesus at His baptism.
Jesus begins a new phase of His life.
It starts with a baptism.
HOW GREAT IS THAT!
I love Baptisms. I always love it when people respond to Jesus in this way.
I remember as a TEENAGER seeing people from our YOUTH GROUP being BAPTISED in a BAPTISMAL POOL at the FRONT of our Church.
It was so STRANGE to me.
I watched as people WALKED DOWN THE STEPS of a SMALL POOL at the FRONT OF THE CHURCH and EXPRESSED THEIR FAITH in Christ.
It was the FUNNIEST THING I had ever witnessed and I couldn’t hold in my LAUGHTER, sometimes at INAPPROPRIATE times in the service.
I didn’t know then that what I considered to be SO FUNNY would become something so VITALLY IMPORTANT to me, as years later I TOO was baptised in that SAME POOL.
I didn’t realise how WONDERFULLY SYMBOLIC that act was. It symbolised DYING TO THE OLD WAY OF LIFE and LIVING TO THE NEW WAY OF LIFE,and of EXPRESSING MY COMMITMENT TO CHRIST.
Now as a Pastor, I have LOST COUNT of all the people I have ever baptized, but what a GREAT HONOUR it has been.
Such a SIMPLE ACT, yet SUCH GREAT SYMBOLISM of what has taken place ON THE INSIDE,as you HONOUR THE LORD in your life.
During the CHRISTMAS SEASON we, LIKE JOHN the Baptist of old, have had GREAT OPPORTUNITIES to PREPARE THE WAY of the Lord, especially at CAROLS NIGHT with about 3000 PEOPLE there.
Our voice was a VOICE OF FAITH that cried out, SANG AND CONFESSED that JESUS IS LORD in the WILDERNESS OF OUR CULTURE that normally PREFERS TO HONOUR SANTA CLAUS.
The REAL CHRISTMAS ICON in some ways should have been JOHN THE BAPTIST
Instead of a RED SUIT we would have people in CAMEL’S HAIR and LEATHER BELTS walking around the shopping centres shouting “PREPARE THE WAY OF THE LORD”, and giving out SAMPLES OF WILD LOCUSTS AND HONEY for people to try.
When children come to SIT ON HIS LAP, they would come to CONFESS THEY HAD BEEN NAUGTHTY, NOT NICE THEY’D CONFESS THEIR SINS and be baptized
We’d still have CHRISTMAS GATHERINGS THE SWIMMING POOL but it would be to BAPTIZE PEOPLE (I’m talking about Christmas in the Whitsundays Australia!It’s hot here.)
NO ALCOHOL could be consumed.
John was a TEA TOTALLER,
and so Christmas would be ALCOHOL FREE.
Instead of saying “HO, HO, HO, MERRY CHRISTMAS”
Anybody attempting to bring alcohol, he would say,
“You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bring forth fruit in keeping with your repentance;”
Not exactly a message that sits well today in a culture of OVERINDULGENCE AND EXTRAVAGANCE.
But if you think about it, it would actually make for a much more JOYFUL CHRISTMAS IF PEOPLE RESPONDED to what he had to say!
I remember THE ALCOHOLIC MAN across the road from where I lived as a kid GOT SAVED through AA and he was a TOTALLY CHANGED person at Christmas
He had been an ABUSIVE ALCOHOLIC
He managed to get HIS FAMILY BACK TOGETHER and APOLOGIZED to all the neighbours
Imagine a Christmas where you RECEIVED THE GIFT OF ETERNAL LIFE and had your SINS FORGIVEN, and REAL CHRISTMAS PEACE, WITH GOD AND OTHERS, and Christ entered into your heart.
You would be out there on the streets and in the SHOPPING CENTRES with John shouting “Prepare the way for Jesus this YEAR!”
THIS NEW YEAR is about responding to Christ, So this morning I want to BAPTISE THE NEW YEAR IN by looking at Jesus’ Baptism but before I do it’s important to ask “WHY WAS JESUS BAPTIZED?” at all?
He didn’t need TO REPENT FROM HIS SINS.
He was “WITHOUT SIN”, and yet in Matthew 3:13 JESUS SURPRISES JOHN by asking to be BAPTIZED.
He came TO JOHN SPECIFICALLY.
In fact by doing that He was IDENTIFYING HIMSELF with this REBEL OF A MAN named John AND THE MESSAGE he was preaching.
John was a POPULAR SPEAKER.
Crowds came out TO THE DESERT to see THIS WILD MAN in action called JOHN THE BAPTIST and hear him SHOUT OUT TO EVERYONE about THE NEED TO REPENT.
It WASN’T A POPULAR MESSAGE THEN OR NOW, and it eventually got him killed, and to make it worse he ALSO PREACHED about a COMING MESSIAH who was THE LAMB OF GOD.
Politically not popular with Herod to talk about the coming Messiah!
The thing is, John had a GREAT DEAL OF INFLUENCE and hordes of people REPENTED OF THEIR SINS and GOT BAPTIZED.