Summary: Baptism of Christ--The carpenter trades in His woodworking tools and becomes a rebuilder of human hearts, as He carves out a way of escape for hell bound mankind. Link included to formatted text and PowerPoint Presentation.
The Gospel of Jesus – Life Swap
In our first 2 messages in this new series we’ve looked at Jesus ‘Before There Was Time’ and ‘BC to AD’ [Jesus in the OT]. Of course, at Christmas each year we look into His birth and this year we studied His childhood with a children’s sermon: Jesus, The Perfect Child.
Much of the remainder of Jesus’ childhood and even young adult years we can only imagine. His official ministry didn’t begin until He was about 30 years of age. Until then, He was a carpenter by trade, a student of the Word…spiritually preparing for the big tasks ahead.
Now a career change is in order. Jesus moves from the training of His step-father to the business of His Heavenly Father. He’ll trade in His woodworking tools and become a rebuilder of human hearts, as He carves out a way of escape for hell bound mankind.
Visualize Jesus as He, knowing it is time to begin working full time for His Heavenly Father, stands in his stepfather’s woodworking shop for the final time. Can you see Him sweeping up the wood shavings on the floor for the last time? Can you see Him standing the broom by the doorway and looking back? Can you smell the cedar and sawdust?
What memories must have flooded his mind? Perhaps memories of Joseph wrapping his huge hands around the tiny hands of a small boy, anxious to learn how to use a saw, pound a hammer, plane a piece of wood. Or, memories of conversations with Joseph as they shared their sack lunches…laughter, and good times. Possibly the reminder of His dad saying, "Good job on that table top, Jesus."
Now it’s time to begin a 42-month journey that will end in death on a cross. I wonder if the hammer and large nails caught his eye? Max Lucado asks, "I wonder if he rolled a nail between His thumb and fingers, anticipating the pain."
So many memories of such a tranquil life--this had been a world where typical problems were getting a board squared up or keeping a saw sharpened. Problems weren’t so eternal in their consequences. At the end of the day you had closure - a completed cabinet, a repaired door. You could go to bed at night feeling successful because "It is finished."
But now his hour has come. It’s time to enter a world where the problems are eternally serious. A world where there is little closure. Now it’s an all new world to focus upon…a world where people will be gradually changed by walking in His footsteps.
Jesus’ first journey out of the carpenter’s shop will be a 15-mile journey to the rim of the Jordan Valley. There standing waist deep in the water is a man who, if he bent over to drink, would look like a small camel. John is his name. He is an intense man, busy with preaching and baptizing. He is busy preparing the road for the king by admonishing men to repent of their self-centeredness and their religious misdirection that has led them to believe they can be saved by keeping the law or by good works.
When this bold, uncompromising preacher, John the Baptist, sees Jesus, he acquiesces, suggesting Jesus baptize him. But Jesus has come to model what God wants from men. And the beginning point of a man’s healthy relationship with God is in humbly submitting to God’s command that he be baptized. For everyone except Jesus, baptism is only effective if one has repented. Jesus had nothing to repent of, but He still modeled something for us by being baptized. Baptism for Jesus was the beginning of His humiliation for our sakes. A sinless king is baptized. A sinless king will bear our sins on the cross. Isaiah said He would be numbered with the transgressors. His baptism says He is a king who totally identifies with his people. It was the beginning of Jesus’ bearing our iniquities. It would all consummate in what he called the "baptism I have to undergo", the complete immersion into the penalty for sin, death on the cross. That cruel tree was grown by Him…and was much like the raw material He would turn into beautiful furniture or sturdy structures. But on this tree would hang nothing beautiful, but a mangled Savior drenched in my sins and yours.
God affirms the sacrificial nature of Jesus’ life when he has the classic poor man’s sacrifice, a dove, light on Jesus immediately following his baptism.
At his birth, he stepped from heaven to take on our flesh. At his baptism he waded out into the water to stand with us in our sinfulness.
As Jesus is baptized, listen. Do you hear it? Do you hear the soft flutter of God’s Spirit settling on Jesus’ shoulders?