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Summary: A LOOK AT SOME OF THE REASONS THAT JESUS WAS BAPTISED

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THE MEANING OF JESUS’ BAPTISM

MATTHEW 3:1-17

I HAVE HEARD MANY STORIES ABOUT BAPTISM OVER THE YEARS.

A YOUNG MINISTER NAMED JAY UTLEY TOLD THIS STORY OF HIS FIRST BAPTISM. THE PERSON HE WAS BAPTIZING WAS ALSO A YOUNG MAN, BUT IT HAD BEEN A NUMBER OF YEARS SICE JAY WAS BAPTIZED AND WONDERED HOW DIFFERENT IT WOULD BE TO BE THE ONE BAPTIZING.

HE SAID THE APPROPRIATE WORDS AND LOWERED THE PERSON INTO THE WATER. WHEN THE PERSON REACHED THE DEEPEST POINT, UTLEY FELT THE PERSON’S BODY JOLT AND TIGHTEN. HE THOUGHT TO HIMSELF, “WOW, SO THAT’S HOW IT FEELS WHEN THE PERSON’S SINS ARE FORGIVEN AND THEY RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT.”

HE ASKED THE ONE BAPTIZED “DID YOU FEEL THE JOLT WHEN THE SPIRIT CAME INTO YOU?” “NO” THE PERSON REPLIED, “BUT I DID FEEL IT WHEN YOU HIT MY HEAD ON THE BAPTISTRY STEP.

OR CONSIDER THIS SMALL COUNTRY CHURCH HAVING A OUTDOOR BAPTISM ON A COLD JANUARY DAY. THE PREACHER ASKED ONE OF THE CANDIDATES, “IS THE WATER COLD?” “NO” HE REPLIED. ONE OF THE DEACONS THEN SHOUTED, “DIP HIM AG’IN PREACHER, HE’S STILL LYING.”

I’M SURE YOU ALL HAVE MANY DIFFERENT STORIES ABOUT BAPTISM AS WELL. I THINK ONE THING WE COULD AGREE ON, IS THAT BAPTISM IS A SPECIAL TIME OF CELEBRATION IN THE LIFE OF A CHRISTIAN AND THE CHURCH.

IT IS NOT MY INTENTION TO DEBATE THE VARIOUS TEACHINGS ON BAPTISM TODAY. INSTEAD I CHOOSE TO INVEST THIS TIME TALKING ABOUT JESUS’ BAPTISM AND IT’S SIGNIFICANCE. AS WE SHALL SEE, THE REASONS FOR JESUS’ BAPTISM ARE FAR DIFFERENT THAN WHY WE ARE BAPTIZED.

WHAT WE WILL DO TODAY IS LOOK BRIEFLY AT WHO JOHN WAS AND LEARN ABOUT HIS BAPTISM, SOME SIGNIFICANT EVENTS THAT HAPPENED AT THE TIME JESUS WAS BAPTIZED, AND WHY HIS BAPTISM WAS SIGNIFICANT.

CONTEXT:

THERE IS EIGHTEEN YEARS BETWEEN THESE WORDS OF JESUS, AND THE TIME AS A BOY HE WAS AT THE TEMPLE. WE CAN ONLY ASSUME THAT JESUS LIFE WAS POSITIVE. HE WOULD HAVE LEARNED THE ART OF CARPENTRY FROM JOSEPH, WAS A GOOD SON AND TOOK CARE OF HIS MOTHER FOLLOWING THE DEATH OF HIS FATHER.

ANOTHER THING WE KNOW FROM THE ACCOUNT IS THAT JESUS PLANNED HIS BAPTISM. THE DISTANCE FROM GALILEE TO THE JORDAN WAS A FULL DAY’S JOURNEY, BETWEEN 30-60 MILES, AND TRAVELING AT THAT TIME WOULD BE ON FOOT. JESUS DELIBERATEY SOUGHT OUT JOHN TO BE BAPTIZED BY HIM.

WE ALSO KNOW THAT JESUS WAS THIRTY WHEN HE WAS BAPTIZED, AND THAT JOHN WAS AT THE MOST THIRTY-ONE. WE KNOW THAT JOHN WAS LESS THAN A YEAR OLDER THAN JESUS. THIS AGE IS SIGNIFICANT AS THIS WAS THE AGE WHEN MEN BEGAN SERVING IN THE TENT OF MEETING.

NUMBERS 4:3: COUNT ALL THE MEN FROM THIRTY TO FIFTY YEARS OF AGE WHO COME TO SERVE IN THE WORK AT THE TENT OF MEETING.

YOU CAN SEE THAT THE LIFE OF CHRIST IS PLANNED OUT CAREFULLY, RELATING CLOSELY TO THE CULTURE AND TO PROPHECY.

JOHN’S MINISTRY WAS VERY POPULAR AND SUCCESSFUL. MARK DESCRIBES IT THIS WAY:

MARK 1:1-5:

THE BEGINNING OF THE GOOD NEWS ABOUT JESUS THE MESSIAH, THE SON OF GOD, A 2 AS IT IS WRITTEN IN ISAIAH THE PROPHET: “I WILL SEND MY MESSENGER AHEAD OF YOU, WHO WILL PREPARE YOUR WAY” 3 “A VOICE OF ONE CALLING IN THE WILDERNESS, ‘PREPARE THE WAY FOR THE LORD, MAKE STRAIGHT PATHS FOR HIM.’ ” 4 AND SO JOHN THE BAPTIST APPEARED IN THE WILDERNESS, PREACHING A BAPTISM OF REPENTANCE FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS. 5 THE WHOLE JUDEAN COUNTRYSIDE AND ALL THE PEOPLE OF JERUSALEM WENT OUT TO HIM. CONFESSING THEIR SINS, THEY WERE BAPTIZED BY HIM IN THE JORDAN RIVER.

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