Well, this is the third week in our sermon series on The Life and Times of Jesus our savior. Looking at the ways that his life and his teaching impacts Our Lives as we seek to serve him. If you have your Bibles today with you or a device. You can look it up on where to be looking at The Gospel according to Matthew chapter 3 verses 13 through 17 Matthew chapter 3 verses 13 through 17. I'll be reading from the New Living Translation. When you have it I invite you to stand if you are able in honor of the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Hear now the word of our savior?
Then Jesus went from Galilee to the Jordan River to be baptized by John. But John tried to talk him out of it. I am the one who needs to be baptized by you He said. So why are you coming to me? But Jesus said it should be done for we must fulfill all righteousness. So John agreed to baptize him. After his baptism as Jesus came up out of the water the heavens were opened and he saw the spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him. And a voice from Heaven said, this is my dearly loved Son who brings me great Joy.
The word of God for the people of God.
Let us pray, father open our hearts and Minds by the inspiration of your holy spirit. That having heard your words today. We will grow more into the likeness of your son Jesus Christ and now Lord May the words of my mouth and meditations of all of our hearts be acceptable and pleasing in your son's amen may be seated.
Well as we come to the Living Word of God today? We find Jesus fulfilling. All righteousness Matthew Mark and Luke. I'll report the baptism of Jesus in much the same way and John recalls Jesus baptism by John but does not reported directly. This is the first time we see the adult Jesus enter The Narrative of the gospel and having been raised in Nazareth, Jesus Came From Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John.
We see the first glimpse of someone who understands who Jesus is as the Messiah the savior of the world. John the Baptist is Jesus cousin through their mothers, Mary and Elizabeth. You most likely remember the understanding that the fetus his parents would named John had the end he felt and understood the presence of the Savior Jesus who himself was.
At the time in his mother's womb while still in that embryonic State. Jesus was recognized by the fetus John causing John to react in such a way that his mother understood the fact that he is in the presence of the long-awaited Messiah.
Listen to The Gospel According to Luke chapter 1 verses 39 to 45 is it reports that incidents
a few days later Mary hurry to the Hill Country of Judea to the town where Zachariah live. She entered the house and greeted Elizabeth at the sound of Mary's greeting Elizabeth Child lept within her and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Elizabeth gave a glad cry and explain to Mary. God has blessed you above all women and your child is blessed. Why am I so honored that the mother of my Lord should visit me? When I heard your greeting the baby in my womb jump for joy, you are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said.
You know every time I read that passage. I get excited at the incredible power of that story to speak to her heart and the Vivid memories of walking with Becky through the birth of our children and The Wonder of God's design for the furtherance of humanity through the birth of children through the womb through the womb of women.
Now this passage and many others are the basis for the pro-life position of the church. God has given Humanity the wonderful gift of participating in his work of creation through the miracle of procreation. We seen a lot of wonderful babies in our church lately. They are a gift from God a blessing straight to their families and two other extended family.
In the church and we get the joy of bringing that about as we look into these little faces and see ourselves in them. This gift should not ever be destroyed by the violent murder of children in the womb through the abortive act.
The word of God tells us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God and that God is at work in us even before we are born as he knits us together in our mother's womb.
He knows us so well, even before our birth that he can see all the possibilities of our life before we have even breathed. Our first breath or spoken. Our first word from Psalm 139:16 as rendered by Per sends the message we hear these words
Like an open book you oh God Watch Me Grow from conception to birth all the stages of my life were spread out before you all the days of my life before I ever live. One of them.
Every life is precious to the Lord, especially the innocent lives that must be protected because they are a gift to us from God. We are in a sad and difficult time in our country where people are pushing very hard to extend the reach of the abortionist to destroy human life and the Church of the Living God should stand up to that.
It's so important every single life is precious.
Well this story from the Earthly life of Jesus and John helps us to understand the narrative. We are considering today. When Jesus comes to be baptized by John John rejects the idea outright. He cannot begin to understand how the Lord of all could humble himself enough to be baptized by someone whose station of life was so much lower than his own. Jesus the savior of the world wants to submit himself to baptism that you have to understand we hold baptism in high honor that the Jewish people that day didn't really hold it in high honor because it was reserved for Gentile converts to Judaism and Jews who had really messed up.
And so for Jesus to come to be baptized John is going but you don't need to be baptized. You haven't messed up. You are the Lord the Messiah how in the world could you come for baptism John recognize this sinlessness of Jesus and his own need for a savior.
It looking at this, I believe there are some lessons from the life of John that we can take away from our text today.
In Luke 7:28 Jesus declare John the Baptist to be the greatest man to have ever lived. He says I tell you I'm of those born of women. There is no one greater than John.
Wouldn't it be a cool thing for Jesus the Messiah the savior of The World God incarnate to say about you. Wow, that is quite the honor among those born of women. There is no one greater than John
John's greatest strengths was his focus and faithful commitment to the call of God on his life. This call when they've John seems strange to those around him and even to us today as we read about it. You got to go back and read his story read the way that his appearance was read the way he dressed and his diet.
Doesn't sound good to me, but you have to read that and you'll go. Yeah, he was strange, you know, even from before his birth. He was declared to be taking a Nazarite vow meaning he would be set aside for the work of the Lord as part of the valley. He would never drink an alcoholic drink of any kind would not eat or drink anything from the Grapevine at all as that was seen to be a blessing from God. He would never cut his hair or beard and would never touch dead bodies even those with close relative a Nazarite would not even approach a dead body. Thus he would not be able to attend a funeral.
All of this was a sign of being set apart for God and God's work. It was a matter of self-denial for the sake and service of God and John live up to his vow.
This would take great discipline and obedience to God and John knew he had been given a specific job to do and he set out with singular obedience to fulfill that mission. He didn't just talk about repentance from sin. He lived with a boldness and purpose throughout his uncompromising mission willing to die a martyr for his stand against sin. In fact, his stand against sin was the whole reason for his death at the hands of King Herod Antipas.
He would soon learn from John this radical obedience. We need to understand that radical obedience. We need to live in that that dedication to the will of God for our lives. Now radical does not mean we have to live out our lives in a Nazarite vow, but it does mean setting aside our will and our comfort to follow the call of God on our lives like John we should seek the will of God for our lives purpose and then set out in confidence knowing that if it is, in fact of God our lives purpose will impact the world no matter the hardships. Like John the Baptist. We don't have to fear life with radical focus on our god-given mission. Can there be any Greater Joy or fulfillment in this life than to know God's
Pleasure and reward that awaits Us in heaven. This kind of radical focus on the will of God will lead us to humility. Not a false humility that puts ourselves down. We see enough of that in the world today. We see so much today where people are just putting themselves down. It's no wonder people are living in Failure instead of Victory.
But rather the kind of humility that understands our place in the work of God in this world. That's the kind of humility that God is calling us to.
Now Jesus insistence that John baptize him shows us that John was not only radically focused on the will of God for his life. But Jesus was as well.
Jesus knew that the father had given given him a mission in this world and that it had to be fulfilled step-by-step and this baptism was an important step in the ministry God the Father had sent God the son to do the reason Jesus gives for his need of baptism by John is this it should be done for we must fulfill all righteousness.
Your ever thought about that in your life that you must fulfill all righteousness? The saying can be a little bit of hard to understand as Christians. We affirm The sinless Life of Christ. It is in fact the doctrine of our faith.
Hebrews 4:15 says
Jesus our high priest understands our weaknesses for he faced all the testing we do yet he did not sin.
What that simply means is that Jesus went through all the same kinds of Temptation that we do different modes for them. But all the same temptation.
The doctrinal standards the United Methodist Church confess. Jesus was fully human fully Divine and without sin either original sin or actual sin.
In his notes on the New Testament John Wesley Wright. He sympathizes with us even in our innocence infirmities one sweetness is miseries and dangers yet without sin and therefore is indisputably able preserve us from it in all our Temptations. Wow.
In other words, Jesus can step into those times in our lives when we are tempted to Fall Away. Tempted to sin and help us to stand up against it because he himself never said because Jesus is without sin original or actual.
He didn't need to repent and be cleansed from his sins. So this was not the righteousness. He was talking about here. Jesus will accomplish God's will in the sense of God's saving activity for the World Jesus is expressing his obedience to God's Plan of Salvation that has been revealed in the scriptures. The public baptism. Therefore provides concrete salvation is storical continuity between John's and Jesus Ministries s Jesus identifies himself with John in the baptism. This represents an endorsement of John's Ministry and message and Link's Jesus cause to his.
The his moreover is Jesus goes into the Waters of baptism. He identifies with his people in their need that is he identifies with simple Humanity. He has come to save us.
But he steps into the Waters with us knowing that we need to be washed clean? He is our Emmanuel God With Us and Jesus the one who will save his people from their sins in his baptism. He's a steps into our need for forgiveness and proclaims to us that forgiveness is possible. And he will show us the way because he is the way he is the truth. He is the life the only way to get to the father. Jesus is often spoken of as the Good Shepherd and the Good Shepherd doesn't just push the Sheep along he goes before the sheep to show the way to safety sustenance and rest.
That's what Jesus is doing here. He's showing us the way this baptism is the first step in fulfilling the righteousness of God and Humanity. Righteousness the language of relationship of being rightly related to God and God to his people.
This baptism fulfills all righteousness in that it sets up the events that are to come events that will lead all the way to the Cross where our Salvation is found. In our baptism. We take on The Obedience of Christ. We surrender to the will of the father and we identify with his sacrifice. We are marked as his disciples as we publicly commit ourselves and those dear to us to his keeping and to his service. The father will respond to our obedience in the same way. He responded The Obedience of Christ now, I'm not saying we're going to hear a voice from Heaven. Although that be pretty cool might scare me half to death.
I'm not saying that a dove is going to come down and sit on her shoulder. I don't know. I'm a little bit afraid of some birds. I know that's weird. But it's true. They freaked me out when they fly up at you. So it's not that kind of response response of God. The father was so mean immediate.
Look at verse 16 it says after his baptism is Jesus came up out of the water the heavens were open and he saw the spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him and a voice from Heaven said, this is my dearly loved Son Who belongs to me and brings me great joy.
Brings me great joy other translation says in whom I am. Well pleased.
In This Moment all three persons of the Trinity are clearly present the father in the form of the voice from Heaven the sun in the person of Jesus coming up out of the water and the spirit in the form of the dove descending on Jesus. God is showing us his fulfillment in this moment and offering his son the encouragement he needs for the next part of his journey. Everybody needs encouragement.
Jesus was no exception to that. This is the way God reveals himself to us. He is Father the one who loves us and calls us to himself making a way for us to come into relationship with him. He is Jesus the son the one who is the way to the Father the Savior the example the sacrifice for our sins.
He is the spirit that dwells in each person who believes communicating to us that we are Sons and Daughters of God that our obedience and our work for him pleases his heart. The Holy Spirit Works in us to destroy the power of the devil to think we are less than what he has made us to be.
We're so much more because she dwells in US.
Romans. 8:15-16 says
the spirit you received doesn't make you slaves. Otherwise you would live in fear again instead the Holy Spirit you received made you God's adopted child by the spirits power. We call God Abba Father the spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's dear children.
When we believe in Christ we become a member of his family. This family is formed by the will of the heavenly father who loved us so much that he sent his son into the world to bring about the conditions of adoption through his blood shed on the cross.
Our baptism is in effect are virtual adoption papers as his child. He has proclaimed that we are one of his this is a permanent Proclamation. No one can take it away from us. We can walk away if we really want to but no one can take away the fact that in him we are made children of God.
That is something that is a gift from him we are children of God, not that we were born that way but because we have been adopted into his family and have received the sign Act of baptism is an outward sign of an Inward and spiritual Grace.
When Jesus came up out of the water. God made public the announcement that Jesus was his own son. This was a public announcement of the fact that Jesus already knew.
Jesus is the only begotten Son of God. He did not become the Son of God at his baptism as some claim today. That's an ancient heresy. If you see it and notes in your Bible get rid of that Bible. That's false that shows up in your Sunday school literature get new Sunday school literature. Jesus did not become the Christ the son of God at his baptism as if he was just any man. He was the Eternal Son of God begotten as Jesus of Nazareth born of the Virgin Mary on that day that pronouncement did not make him the Son of God. It just told the world who he really was the second person of the Trinity and human form. This isn't some sort of Spiritual Awakening for Jesus no, this is a proclamation. So everyone will know.
This is a message a public announcement that the father is pleased with his son. We know this from last week lesson when Jesus said he had to be in his father's house in about his father's business showing he knew he was the Son of God the Christ the savior of the world his time and not yet come when he was 12 and in the temple, but now his time has come to make himself known to the world that Jesus is publicly baptized.