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Gift Jesus in the Jordan!

January 8, 2012

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The Baptism of Our Lord                         

8 January 2011                                                                                                     

                                                      + Jesu Juva +

St. Mark 1:4-11

There He is!  Thirty-year-old Jesus!  In the Jordan River!  Baptized by John! 


What’s the lesson here?  What’s the point? 


Well, most preachers today would say this:  Jesus doesn’t get baptized until he’s an adult.  Therefore you can only be baptized as an adult!  No children allowed!  So it’s time for you to be obedient!  Wait until you’re an adult to get baptized!  In fact, might as well wait until you’re thirty-years-old just like Jesus! 


Wow!  Is that it?  Is that the point of Jesus getting wet in the Jordan?  Jesus is baptized in the Jordan only to give you an example to follow?  To give you an opportunity show how obedient you are?  Really?  That’s all Jesus is for?  Jesus as example?  If so, then you better get your imitation of Christ cranked up like His!  And it better be perfect!      


That’s not good news!  In fact, it’s really bad news!  That kind of cracking the whip – get in line by following Example Jesus doesn’t cut it when it comes to salvation!  Example Jesus is not a Jesus you can live with or die with!  Example Jesus is always Accusing Jesus!  Example Jesus is always like the character Evil Monkey on the animated TV show Family Guy!  Always popping out of the closet to point his finger at Chris and you!  Always frightening Chris and you!  Forevermore revealing your shortcomings!  THAT YOU ARE NOT FOLLOWING THE EXAMPLE JESUS HAS SET!  So he always has to be disappointed and angry with you!


I have a better Jesus to preach to you today!  A totally different Jesus who is good news for you today! 


Baptized Jesus in the Jordan is not Example Jesus – BUT GIFT JESUS!  He receives John’s baptism in order to give you the gift of salvation! 


Here’s how Gift Jesus works.  The thirty-year-old begins His public ministry here at the Jordan!  Where will this ministry culminate?  In other words, where is He heading right from the start?  That’s right!  The cross!  To do a Good Friday and an Empty Tomb!  His ministry to Calvary publically begins here at the Jordan!


Do you get it yet?  Jesus comes to the Jordan River – not expecting you to follow His example – BUT TO DO SOMETHING FOR YOU!  I repeat!  TO DO A JORDAN RIVER FOR YOU!  It’s all about His doing!  His giving!  For you! 


Check it out!  It’s simply amazing!  Stunning!  Comforting!


Right off the bat – please note that John’s Jordan River baptism is for sinners!  And loads of sinners are baptized in this river.  Receiving a bath from John.  Getting all their sin off their chest, backside, feet, hands or wherever and leaving it all behind in the water!  “The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him.  Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him …”     


The Jordan River is like grimy, grubby bath water!  Polluted with all these sinners’ sin!  From all these sinners being baptized by John.  Since their sin is in the water, the river is toxic!  Poisonous!  Noxious!  Contaminated! 


That’s when Jesus shows up!  That’s when Jesus hops right in!  Feet first!  Then up to His waist!  Oh heck!  Look!  It’s up to His neck! 


This is pretty dicey!  Doesn’t He know how dangerous it is to get in that septic water?  Where’s the EPA!  Where’s OSHA?  Good grief!  He’s wallowing in all that sin!  All that filthy, rotten, deadly deviant decay!  It’s hazardous to anyone’s health!  In fact, it’s malignant!  Not even Bear Grylls, host of Man Vs. Wild, would attempt to survive in skull and crossbones water like this! 


But there He is!  Armpit deep in it!  Chin deep in it!  Soaking in it!  All through His pores!  Into every nook and cranny of His holy Body! 


Doesn’t He know that sin kills!  All that sin will kill Him!


Now do you get it?  That’s right!  He gets in the water on purpose!  This is all by design!  He wants to absorb all this deep, dark, black, and deadly sin in the Jordan!  So that He can carry it somewhere!


And where would that somewhere be?  Yes, that’s right!  Calvary!  The Cross!  Where bearing all this sin, the sin of the world as well as all your sin, He who knew no sin is made to be sin (2 Corinthians 5)!  Beginning at His baptism in the Jordan and then culminating at the cross “the LORD has laid on him [Jesus] the iniquity of us all,” (Isaiah 53:6).


Jesus is given as Gift!  For sinners!  To take all sin – all your sin!  In His Body!  Fully and completely!  And then to forevermore answer for its hellish punishment in your place!  His Good Friday sacrifice satisfies and placates God’s wrath against you and all your sin by taking it all in His Body in order to endure the damnation you deserve! 


Your sin is Christ’s!  He comes to the Jordan to take it!  To soak it up!  And it does indeed kill Him! 


But that’s precisely the point!  He steps into the Jordan because He begins His ministry – His once for all / once for all time / once for all sin atoning, shed blood, for you on the cross death!  This ministry is for you and for your salvation!


This is why heaven breaks wide open as Jesus comes up out of the water! This is exactly why we hear the Father declare:  “Do you see that Man coming out of the Jordan?  That’s My Boy!  He is MY beloved Son!  I couldn’t be happier!  Absolutely delighted with Him.  Beginning His ministry in this way – the salvation for sinners way!  I give my wholehearted approval!”


For such a ministry Son of God Bearing the Sin of the World Jesus is equipped / anointed with the Holy Spirit!  He descends on Jesus in the form of a dove.  Anointed with the Holy Spirit He is!  This means He is truly the anointed One!  The very promised Messianic Servant King!  The King who lives not for Himself like all the Israelite kings of the past – but the King who gives His life into death for His people’s salvation!  For your salvation!


Jesus in the Jordan.  Gift Jesus!  With all your sin in His Body Jesus!  That’s a Jesus you can live with.  And die with!  For with Him you are forgiven.  After all, He’s taken all your sin!  They don’t belong to you anymore!  Covered you with His Blood!  Wrapped you up in His righteousness! 


Baptized into Christ Jesus you are baptized into His Good Friday death!  The only death that counts for all your sin!  You are buried with Jesus through baptism into death – death to and for all sin – so that just as Jesus was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, you too may live a new life. 


And that new life is spelled:  F-A-I-T-H!  Faith in Jesus.  Jordan River and Good Friday Gift Jesus!


In the Name of Jesus. 

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