Summary: There are numerous questions surrounding the life of Jesus. This sermon attempts to answer the question as to why Jesus submitted to baptism.
Luke 3: 15 – 17; 21-22 – Questions
Intro: Recently I received an email from a friend that was a sort of survey. It contained a lot of questions. Questions like, “What is your favorite color? What are you wearing right now? What kind of car do you drive?” Those questions are easy to answer; but, life comes with a whole other set of questions that aren’t so easy. Questions like: “What do Presbyterians believe? Why do you go to church? Why are you a Christian? Who are you?”
I. At one point or another, we have probably asked ourselves questions like those. I wonder if during his youth, Jesus asked himself similar questions. I am not alone in asking questions about Jesus.
A. What did his earthly parents tell him about the circumstances of his birth? Did they tell him about the shepherds, the star and the three kings? Was the childhood of Jesus different? Did he know from the beginning who he was and what was to happen? Was his the life of a typical Hebrew boy in a small town?
B. The only childhood story about Jesus recorded in the Bible tells of the boy Jesus at the Temple. In Luke 2:49, Jesus asked his parents questions. “Why were you searching for me?” --- Did you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”
II. John prophesied a people anxious for any word from God. The voice of prophecy had been silent for more than 400 years.
A. Verse 15 – The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possible be the Christ.
B. John’s people had questions also. Are you the Christ? Should we look for another?
C. John spoke of another who would baptize with fire and who would come with a winnowing fork to separate good from bad. Surely the people questioned? Which am I? How will we know? When will this be?
III. People through the centuries have had questions. If Jesus were the perfect Son of God, why did he submit himself to baptism? He had no need to have sins washed away, he was sinless. Why?
A. Maybe he did it to please his mother. John was his cousin and he knew John’s prophecy was important to him and his people. --- I think it was a turning point in the life of Jesus. It was a hinge upon which his whole life turned.
B. In submitting himself to John’s baptism, Jesus experiences God’s grace and finds identity and affirmation. It is from this point that Jesus begins his ministry of complete identification with humanity.
C. In the book, “The Hiding Place,” Corrie ten Boom tells a story about her grandfather, Caspar ten Boom. When the Jews were forced to wear the “Star of David,” Caspar lined up to receive one. He wore it because he wanted to identify himself with the people for whom he and his family prayed. He was prepared to be so completely identified with the Jews that he was willing to wear a sign of shame and suffer persecution for the sake of the people he loved. --- He didn’t HAVE to wear the Star; but, he CHOSE to wear it.
Conclu: Christ Jesus did not HAVE to submit to baptism; he CHOSE to do it. For me, the reason Christ Jesus made this choice was to completely identify with humanity. As baptized believers in Christ Jesus we experience God’s grace, find identity as a child of God and are affirmed as brothers and sisters of Christ Jesus. We KNOW WHO we are and WHERE we are headed. Through all our questioning one fact remains: Christ Jesus identifies totally with humanity. Christ Jesus knows the suffering of the human condition and points us to a loving relationship with God that will never disappoint us and where we can find answers to all our questions.