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1-12-2020 Sermon

Baptism of Jesus Matthew 3:13-17 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, as at the baptism in the Jordan river you proclaimed Jesus Your beloved Son and anointed Him with the HOLY SPIRIT. Please grant that all who are baptized in His name faithfully keep the covenant into which they have been called, boldly profess Jesus as Savior and with Him be heirs of life eternal, through Jesus CHRIST who lives and reigns with You and the HOLY SPIRIT one God now and forever. Amen

 

Our Christmas celebration of Jesus’ birth ended on Jan. 6--Epiphany, and today we fast-forward to when Jesus was 30 years old. We’re skipping over Jesus’ first loose tooth, His childhood, adolescence, and the host of other life experiences He had before His ministry began. The Gospel of Matthew today is when Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. This wasn’t just a serendipitous-- spur of the moment event. Jesus went to the Jordan for the very purpose of being baptized. His Baptism was a part of God’s plan.

 

When John saw Jesus standing in the line of sinners waiting to be baptized, he said, “I need to be baptized by you, and yet you come to be baptized by me?”

 

Jesus emphasized the importance of baptism by being baptized Himself. Jesus wasn’t baptized because He needed baptism’s benefits like we do—namely the forgiveness of sin. But it’s important for us to remember, Baptism is not a ritual dreamed up by human beings. Baptism is something that God Himself designed and commanded.

 

Baptism is not what we do for God; it’s what God does for us. is a vehicle through which God blesses us. So why would we want put off or reject receiving the blessings of baptism? And yet people do.

So what did Jesus mean that his baptism would “fulfill all righteousness”?

 

Picture in your mind the scene where John was baptizing. All of Judea was coming out to be baptized by John-- hundreds of people waited for their turn--and Jesus, the sinless Son of God who had no need for baptism, was one of them. Here’s why:

 

Jesus stepping into the Jordan River signaled His intention to take our place under God’s judgment.

Hundreds of sinners had been baptized in that water before . We might say that the water was filled with the sins off those who had been baptized—sin that would stick to Jesus, the Son of God.

The baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River brought us to God because Jesus identified with sinners. For it was this very reason the Father had sent His Son into this world.

The Father was delighted by the obedience of . God the Father was pleased that Jesus would bring mankind back to Himself. So how pleased are you with Jesus?

I’m not sure we are always pleased--delighted with .

We grumble that we “have to” go to church.

We don’t like the guilt we feel when we know we’re not living our lives pleasing to Him.

We have even at times been very angry with Jesus. When our prayers are not answered the way we want, we blow Him off and the church with it. don’t want to be servants of anyone and yet that’s what Jesus demonstrated.

While Jesus’ baptism is different from ours in terms of need, its effect is the same. At your baptism you too were declared a child of God. God put His name on you as His son, His daughter and said that He is well pleased with you. In which your baptism you too received the gift of the HOLY SPIRIT. Just as the HOLY SPIRIT strengthened Jesus for His God-given mission, the HOLY SPIRIT will strengthen you to live a righteous life, empowering you to say no to sin and temptation.

Because of baptism I can be patient, forgiving, and pure in thought, word, and deed because the HOLY SPIRIT is my helper too. As a result, heaven stands open to us.

Sadly enough, not everyone baptized remains steadfast in faith. We can walk away from the blessings God gives to us in baptism and many do—including that of eternal life. But our heavenly Father never stops thinking about and never stops loving us even when we stray from Him. Baptism is an open invitation into a deeper relationship with the One who brings us life. Sadly those who continue to spurn God’s grace determine their eternal reward.

But for all who repent of our sins, God’s love, mercy, and forgiveness are just as valid as it was on the day we were baptized. Baptism is God’s mark of approval that the HOLY SPIRIT would indeed equip us to fight through every temptation that we encounter.

In our text from Matthew today, Jesus is a role model for us. And shortly thereafter He ministers to the least and the last and the little, sharing and showing God’s unconditional love -- a love we do not deserve. O, how I love Jesus, because He first loved me.

 

Amen.