Summary: A sermon on the significance of Jesus baptism for our redemption.

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Matthew 3:13-17

13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. 14 But John tried to deter him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?"

15 Jesus replied, "Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness." Then John consented.

16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." (NIV)

I remember going to a Catholic wedding as a child. When everyone entered the pew, they knelt and crossed themselves. I had never seen anything like that. And then after the wedding, everyone started shaking hands with everyone else. That seemed strange to me. Just recently I remember going to a Methodist wedding and hearing them sing along to rock songs at the service like at a karaoke bar - it seemed strange to me. So also, it sounds strange to people when they hear that some Mormons wear a special kind of protective undergarment. It sounds strange to some people that Jehovah’s Witnesses do not celebrate birthdays. Different churches have different “rituals.” If you don’t understand why they do it - or if it is something that you aren’t used to - it will seem strange to you.

These different experiences made me start thinking . . . I wonder how visitors think we are? Do they think we’re strange for our liturgy? Do they think we’re strange because I wear a gown and we seem so formal? When they see us take the Lord’s Supper without any knowledge of it, what do they think? “What is the purpose of coming up and drinking wine from the same cup?” And when they see a baptism without any knowledge of baptism, what do you think goes through their mind? “What is the purpose of pouring water over a child’s head?” It takes explanation for people to understand.

John had similar questions today. Jesus came to the Jordan to be baptized, and John didn’t understand why Jesus would do this. It didn’t make sense. Therefore, Jesus had to explain it to him. So we are going to answer that question today -

Why Did Jesus Get Baptized?

I. The purpose of a normal baptism

John was confused for a reason. It wasn’t that he had never seen a baptism before. John had performed probably hundreds of them by that time. No, John was confused because he knew all there was to know about baptism. First of all, he knew it was for sinners. Just prior to today’s text, it says that John the Baptist came preaching, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near!” When the people came out to the Jordan, they had to realize they were sinners and repent of their sins before he would baptize them. For instance, when some Pharisees and Sadducees came out to be baptized, John wouldn’t do it. Why not? They had become hardened in their evil ways and their evil religion. Instead of confessing their sins, their only purpose was to find some fault against John. So John told them to get lost.

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