January 3, 2016

MAIN TEXT: MATTHEW 3: 13-17

Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”



We have spent the last few weeks concentrating on the first Advent, the coming of Christ, and what God did to prepare the way and how we should be prepared.  

  • We began by looking at Malachi, the last book in the Old Testament, with a foretelling of one who would come in power and boldness and prepare the way of the Lord by preaching repentance.  
  • The second week we looked at the birth of John the Baptist, the one who would prepare the way of the Lord.  
  • The third week we spent time pondering and discussing the announcement of Jesus birth to Mary by an angel of in Incarnation.  
  • The fourth week we focused on Elizabeth, John the Baptist’s mother, and Mary, mother of Jesus.  
  • We then celebrated Jesus’ coming to earth on Christmas.  
  • Then last week, we looked at the life and ministry of John the Baptist.  

This brings us to today as we look at the baptism of Jesus.  This baptism is the commissioning of Jesus into His earthly ministry.  It is the coronation of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords who has come to save His people.  

In today’s text, we are going to look at three different aspects of Jesus’ coronation.  We will begin by looking at His baptism, then at the anointing of the Spirit and lastly, the word of the Father from heaven.  

Baptism of the Son

John’s ministry to prepare the way was to lead people to confession and repentance for their sins through the public act of water baptism.  It was to symbolize a conversion, a turning from sin, a repentance. People were coming from all over the area to be baptized by John. They were taking long journeys to show this outward sign of an inward transformation. 

When Jesus shows up on the scene, John is aware that it wasn’t for the same reason that others had come.  In fact, John goes to hinder him, he tries to talk Jesus out of being water baptized and knows that he himself needs to be baptized instead by Jesus.  Jesus didn’t have any sin, so He didn’t need to confess sin.  He was already God and He was perfect.  He didn’t need a conversion.  He didn’t need a transformation.  So the question is why would Jesus come to to be baptized?

Jesus tells us why in the first recorded words we have since He was 12 years old, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.”  John heard this, and consented and Jesus was baptized.  Once John heard why, he stopped hindering Jesus from being baptized.  What Jesus is saying is, “There’s a good reason behind this.  I know it doesn’t make a lot of sense, but let it go this time.  This is the right thing to do, even though I am not a sinner.  You must do this and I must have it done. It’s that important.  Why?  To fulfill all righteousness.”  

In this moment, Jesus begins to accomplish what He came into this world for, “to identify with sinners.”  That is why He came, to identify with sinners and purchase righteousness for them.  To purchase it, He must fulfill it.  The prophet Isaiah wrote, He “was numbered with the transgressors.” (Isaiah 53:12)  The first thing Jesus ever does when He stepped out of obscurity into the limelight was to declare the primary reason He came, and that was to identify Himself with sinners.  He will be known time and time again as a “friend of sinners” and this first public moment is a reflection of that statement.  

Anointing of the Spirit

The second part of this coronation, He is anointed with the Spirit for ministry.  John gets this most amazing moment where he goes from looking in the face of Jesus, seeing absolute perfection and sinlessness, and then the ultimate holy moment when the heavens open and a very physical confirmation of who Jesus is,  as the Spirit descends on Him like a dove.  

A dove would have reminded a Jewish person of sacrifice because it was the most common to sacrifice.  A dove was the sin offering for the regular people who didn’t own nor could afford other animals.  So, we see here the Spirit of God descends in a form that will make regular, common people think of only one thing, a sacrifice for their sins.  Jesus is our sacrifice.

word of the Father

Jesus comes up out of the water, the heavens open and the Spirit descends on Him like a dove and a voice from heaven says, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased”. Whenever a sacrifice is offered to God, it has to be the right one.  Without spot, without blemish, and that is precisely what God is saying here.  “This One who identifies with sinners.  This One who is to be your sacrifice. I am well pleased.  I accept Him as the sacrifice.”   

The chosen King.  The King whose throne is the cross.  The King who will die, as a sin offering, for His people.  The King who identifies with sinners.  Who is the friend of sinners.  The King who is over every King.  Who created every government.  Who put into place every law of nature.  Who has made Himself lowly for His people.  He is commissioned by His baptism.  He is anointed with the Spirit, empowered for ministry to become the sacrifice needed to save His people.  And who is confirmed by the Father’s word to be the worthy sacrifice.  This is His coronation.  Our King.  Our Savior.  Our Lord.   

He is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.  He is creator and sustainer of all that we know.  Who left the splendor of heaven to become our sacrifice.  And one day, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that He is Lord.  Until that day, we have been called to be a part of His Kingdom.  We have been called to speak of the majesty and glory of our King.  We have been called to make His name great among the nations.  May we live our lives worthy of being called His.  May we recognize that our existence is to live for Him.  And may our thoughts, our desires, our wills be transformed because of what He has done for us.

May Our Hearts and Knees Bow to Him.


APPLY TO LIFE

This week, as you reflect on the message, utilize this section to help you apply what has been taught to your life. Think of friends, co-workers, neighbors, family etc., that you could meet with to have a time of mutual sharing as you open God’s Word together.


BLESS RHYTHMS

This simple acronym (BLESS, B - Bless, L - Listen, E - Eat, S - Speak, S - Sabbath) should help you to frame your life according to the great commandment “love God” (Matthew 22:37) and the expression of that commandment in loving your neighbor (John 13:34). Each time you meet, start by discussing the rhythms of your life according to B.L.E.S.S.

Bless
Intentionally bless: Christ-followers, non-believers and those different than you.

Listen
Listen to what God is saying to you, through His Word and others.

Eat
Share a meal with a Christ-follower and also a non-believer.

Speak
Talk to God through prayer and to others about Jesus through witness.

Sabbath
Be intentional about taking time to both rest and recreate.

DISCUSS THE MESSAGE

Read: Matthew 3:13-17Mark 1:9-11John 1:29-34

Take a moment to remind yourself of who Jesus is.  The creator of heaven and earth.  Who left the splendor of heaven and put on human flesh.  God with us.  Who became the sacrifice for our sin.  This should cause you awe and reverence.

How do you respond when you think about what Christ has done for you through His sacrifice on the cross?  

How can this text teach us about the Trinity?