READ Scripture- This is the Word of God
Point 1: John’s Baptism (v13)A. It is amazing to me that the first event that Matthew records of the Lord’s adult life is His going from Galilee to the Jordan, where John was, to be baptized by him. I don’t think it would have been arrogant for Jesus to call for John to come to Him in Galilee and baptize Him. Yet, Christ humbly traveled to John somewhere along the Jordan.
B. “Then Jesus came…” There is no way to know exactly when Jesus made this trip or even how long John’s ministry lasted, but the word “then” tells us that sometime when John was ministering and all of the people were going out to him to repent of their sins, Jesus came also. This is an important point that I would like to make again at the end of the sermon. The crowds were going out to John and Jesus also went.
C. Remember, John’s baptism was all about repentance. Matthew gave us one line from his sermons, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” The preaching of the kingdom was about repentance from the onset. People needed to hear was a way out of their sins and a time of the restoration of all things. This message came by the word REPENT.
D. So John’s ministry was for SINNERS. Both his preaching and his baptism of water was unto repentance (3:11). Why in the world was Jesus going out to be baptized by John? He had no sin to repent of or wash away. This is the question I would like to answer today.
Point 2: Sinner and Sinless One (v14)A. We see a contrast btw the prophet John and the Lord Jesus- one a sinner, the other sinless.
B. In v7 John had rebuked the Pharisees and Sadducees for coming to his baptism because they were unrepentant and now he rebukes Jesus, but not for the same reason. He rebukes Jesus because Jesus had no need to repent! In v11 John said, “He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry.” In John’s mind, the Pharisees and Sadducees were not worthy of his baptism and his baptism was not worthy of Jesus.
C. John tried to prevent Jesus, because he knew that his baptism stood for repentance. He also said that he needed to be baptized by Jesus. The prophet was an humble man who recognized his own sin and the “sinlessness” of Jesus.
Point 3: Jesus Fulfilled All Righteousness (v15)A. This is why Jesus was baptized. He did not need to repent of sins and He did not need to be baptized because of sins. He was baptized “to fulfill all righteousness.” It is this statement by Jesus that prompts John to go ahead and baptize Him.
B. But that lends to the next question- what is all righteousness?
a. Jesus surely did this because it was a good thing.
b. He did this because it was a righteous thing.
c. It showed His submission to the Father’s plan.
d. It demonstrated His humility.
e. As we will see in coming weeks, this section in Matthew parallels the great event of Israel’s history- the Exodus. His baptism parallels the passing through the Red Sea (and I will point out the other parallels as we continue in this study). Thus we can also say that Jesus’ baptism identified Him with Israel.
C. All of these things hold true, but I think there is one, primary purpose for Jesus’ baptism.
a. He was baptized to demonstrate His association with all sinners.
b. Christ had no need to repent, but was immersed in the waters of Jordan to identify with the people. In His baptism, Jesus became the Messianic representation of Israel and all mankind. At the inauguration of His ministry, He showed that He would be responsible for the people’s sins.
c. Jesus admits that John’s objection was valid and assures him that at this time it was necessary. He says, “Permit it to be so now.” It was at this point in salvation history that Jesus would assume the role of the Suffering Servant. In His baptism, He showed His willingness to take on that role and identify with the people, identify with you and me.
d. The Scripture says in Romans 8:3, “For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh…” He was not sinful flesh, but came in the likeness of sinful flesh so that He could condemn sin.
e. Three Scriptures testify to this point: (1) Christ “emptied” Himself of the independent use of His divine attributes and came in the likeness of men so that he could die for the sin of the world [Phil 2]. (2) He came in the likeness of sinful flesh so that He could condemn sin [Rom 8]. (3) And in His baptism, Christ immersed Himself into humanity
f. “In order for Him to fulfill all of God's righteousness, in order for Him to purchase righteousness for anybody, Christ had to identify with sinners; and in the incarnation, Jesus saw Himself as one with sinful men.” Baptism was His first public display of this fact.
This sermon is shorter than others because I want to look at this text again next week in order to cover some things that we haven’t today. Instead of making it longer and discussing some other points, I want us to leave today with one understanding that I hope you will treasure-
***In Jesus’ baptism, He identified Himself with sinful humanity.***
This is not only the meaning of His baptism, but the incarnation. This is why Jesus came. There are two book-ends in the ministry of Christ- (1) His Baptism (2) His Crucifixion. These two have the same focus- Christ loves us and He gave Himself for us. This is the grace of God. Do not set it aside…do not trivialize it… If you do, then Christ died in vain, you have voided our faith…
The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, was immersed into humanity for us.