Views from the Pew – 2.2.22

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What did you learn from last Sunday’s sermon, “Jesus Is Baptized”?

Q1: What was John’s baptism?

Q2: What is the church’s baptism?

Q3: What happens when Jesus is baptized and praying?

Q4: Why does Jesus get baptized by John just like everyone else?

Q5: Why does Jesus have to follow all of God’s commands?

Q6: Why does the Holy Spirit descend on Jesus?

Q7: Why does God, the Father, say Jesus is the son He loves and is well pleased with?

Sermon Summary & Answers

In today’s sermon, “Jesus is Baptized”, Pastor Steve unpacks so much. Now, if you’ve been baptized you remember that day. Perhaps, your baptism overshadows the real genesis of your faith (the moment you believed), but you can remember when your faith went public in baptism. But this baptism we experienced, what purpose did it serve? Baptism is an ordinance or command of our Lord like communion, to be continued until the end of the world. As commanded in Matthew 28:18-20 with the Great Commission, the last words of Jesus in Matthew. Jesus tells them go and make disciples, baptize them, and teach them. These are our marching orders from the Lord until He returns. We are to make disciples through the preaching of the gospel. The gospel gives life to dead sinners, and the church is the instrument that preaches it. Jesus says baptize them and teach them, so they might grow in sanctification. That’s what baptism is. Now, refer to Mark 16:15-16 and note that those who believe and have been baptized will be saved. This is curious because we might say they are justified by faith, but we weren’t there only they know, but by being baptized publicly, we all know and then they can be counted by the church. The apostles learned that from Jesus.

The earliest believers at Pentecost followed the same pattern in Acts 2:40-42. Peter was preaching, and those who heard and believed were saved and baptized. Then 3,000 souls were devoted to the apostles teaching! That’s the church and baptism from the very beginning. We are those who have been baptized and affirmed our faith. We understand what baptism is. It is not salvation but identification of those that have been saved. Now, that is not John’s baptism in Luke 3. John’s ministry in Israel was repent, be baptized, and be ready for the coming of the Messiah. John was a baptizer of a different sort commanded by God to baptize. Acts 10:34, Peter is preaching to the gentiles that God is not partial to the Jews, but every man who fears Him is welcome. You know what happened in Judea after the baptism John proclaimed. You heard. You know of Jesus of Nazareth; they put him to death. Acts 10:42 the great commission, everyone who believes receives forgiveness of sins. Jesus saves and did what needed to be done. Now, simply believe. We are forgiven by faith in what Jesus did not by repenting and waiting. We believe, repent, and follow Christ.

In between, the baptism of John and baptism of the church is Jesus, and what Jesus did changed everything. Going into the water is the same, but the purpose is now different. John’s baptism said I’m a sinner and can’t wait for the Messiah. The baptism of the church said I’m a sinner, and my Messiah has come, I believe what He did, and I’m saved. Baptism is the same, but what Jesus did is different. In Acts 19:1-5, Paul encounters John’s disciples chatting about baptism, and Paul asked if they received the Holy Spirit. They said no, they ain’t heard about a Holy Spirit or change. They said they had John’s baptism. Paul said that John baptized with repentance and to believe who was coming, and when they heard this they were baptized as believers! So, they realized they were baptized waiting for Jesus and missed the fact He had already came and rose again.

Now, we step back into Luke’s record of Jesus being baptized. Luke 3:15, John is in a state of expectation and is so excited to see the Messiah! He is preaching the confrontation of sin and the savior coming to save. Luke 3:21-22 when all the people were baptized Jesus was also baptized and while He was praying, heaven opened, and the Holy Spirit descended on him and a voice said Jesus was His son that He loves and is well pleased with. Luke is saying that all those people are being baptized, and Jesus shows up to be baptized in the same way they are to be counted among the many. Luke positions the baptism of Jesus as the same as the rest baptized by John, but He was distinct and would be distinguished in that moment when Jesus prayed and heaven was opened! The Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus and then the voice of God, the Father, calls Him beloved son in whom He is well pleased. That is all Luke says. The other gospel writers tell us more, but Luke gives the account God wants him to, and God inspired Matthew and Mark to do the same with additional details. But, Luke wants to focus on one aspect of this baptism. Something happened to Jesus that didn’t happen to anyone else; He was distinguished visibly and audibly.

John in John 1:28-30 was also writing about John the Baptist’s baptisms in the Jordan, Jesus coming, and John says this is Him! John 1:31 notes that John the Baptist said I did not recognize him the first time He came but then the baptism occurs, and John knows exactly who He is and the next day he points Him out! John and Jesus are relatives but grew up in two different places and don’t recognize each other! But when John baptized Him then he knew Him as the son of God, and that’s why he came to baptize. Because when Christ came to be baptized, everyone would see what John saw and know what he knows! This was the purpose for the crowds and baptism, so it might be manifested to Israel! John knows the Messiah will come, but John doesn’t recognize Him until God identifies Him.

In between there in Matthew 3:13-15 is Matthew’s account of Jesus’ baptism. Here Jesus introduced himself. He says, I’m Jesus, my mom’s Mary, and John recognized that this is the Messiah. Jesus asks John to baptize Him, and John’s like no way, you do the baptizing now that’s backwards, baptize me. Jesus convinces John it is permitted at this time and fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness. You need to do this. John must understand and says yeah, you’re right, let’s do it. Jesus is like you were sent by God to do this and while I don’t have any sins, I do need to obey my Father! Jesus is saying to John, I have to do what God asked you to ask everyone else to do. Otherwise, it could be said I didn’t obey my Father in everything. Jesus is a man! And it is necessary for Him to be human to be saved by Him! As a man, He must live a perfect life of obedience on our behalf. It is not enough for Jesus to come and die. That is sufficient for our sins but not our lack of righteousness. If absolved of sins, we must be holy to be with God. Without holiness, no one will ever see God. Jesus is marked in both ways. He did all that was necessary to take on our punishment and actively be obedient to God earning righteousness for us. We put our sins on the cross, He puts His life on top of ours, and now we’re fit for heaven. Jesus has to live a righteous life before He can give it. He has to fulfill all the commands of God, and that starts here at the Jordan river! This act of obedience ushers in heaven and the voice of God! Crowds would’ve been in awe to be on holy ground when this took place.

Don’t miss this last point; Jesus is truly man and also truly God! Jesus never stopped being God, but He did set aside His divine and put on human flesh but was never less than God, ever. This is beyond our comprehension, but we accept it as truth because God told us! Back to Luke 3:21-22 heaven opened, the spirit descended like a dove (not Holy Spirit looks like a dove) and sat on Jesus gently. And now, we are introduced to the mystery of the trinity. But, we know they are one. Jesus isn’t receiving the Holy Spirit as if He has been without Him. He can’t be God without the Holy Spirit. Jesus and the Holy Spirit are one. The Holy Spirit did not descend on Him like when John was in the womb. He was always one God. You can’t divide up God. The London Baptist Confession of 1689 says three subsistences not divided but distinguished by peculiar properties. This is the foundation of all communion with God. The Father decrees we belong to Him, Jesus saves, and the Holy Spirit regenerates! Jesus is not receiving anything He is missing. This is happening so people could see it! This is affirming Him and that it is time now for Him to do what He was called to do (e.g., heal, raise the dead, His own resurrection). It is also a picture of Jesus’ humanity. He cannot do all that is necessary without the Holy Spirit because He did set aside His divine prerogative and is wholly dependent on the Holy Spirit to accomplish His ministry! The voice of God lets us know He is not just a man. He is God. Jesus is affirmed in His humanity by the Holy Spirit and affirmed in His deity by the Father who says He is mine.

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  1. Repent, Jesus is coming.
  2. The Messiah has come, I believe what He did, and I am saved.
  3. Heaven was opened, the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus, and God, the Father, said that was His son that He loved and was well pleased with.
  4. Because He had to follow all of God’s commands. And, to show John and everyone else that He is not just a man like everyone else but fully man and fully God.
  5. He has to live a perfect life to earn righteousness to credit to us. Otherwise, it could be said He didn’t obey His father in everything
  6. To affirm Jesus’ humanity.
  7. To affirm Jesus’ divinity.