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What A Baptism!

January 13, 2013

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The Baptism of Our Lord                            Trinity Lutheran Church

13 January 2013                                       Murdock, NE


+ Jesu Juva +


Luke 3:15-22


John the Baptist! 


What a preacher!  Calls the religious big wigs a brood of vipers for the unbelief and hypocrisy!  Rebukes Herod Antipas for not just pulling a Brent Musburger and Kirk Herbstreit!  Herod Antipas not only fawned over his hot niece but he actually married her!  Married her and bedded her while she was still married to someone else:  his own brother Philip!  Preacher John wouldn’t give his permission for such a immoral royal scandal!  And we all know what people do to preachers who oppose such immorality!   


Nonetheless, what a pastor John the Baptist is!  Attracting tons of people to his First Church in the Wilderness!  Baptizing them by the hundreds!   


Dresses and eats like an Old Testament prophet!  Like Elijah in fact!


Exhorts sinners to repent.  Exhorts sinners to believe in God’s promise of salvation or forgiveness for sinners.


Is he Elijah came back to life?  Or could he be someone else?  The Messiah or the Christ perhaps? 


Is that who you are John?  Are you the Christ?  Are you the promised Messiah?


Well, what’s your answer?  Don’t clam up know!  You love to preach.  Preachers are always talking!  So speak up!


“I baptize you with water.  But that’s nothing!  You haven’t seen anything yet!  I’m not the Christ!  Good grief no!  The salvation show is at hand though.  If you think I’m the hottest preacher around, just wait!  One more powerful than I will come!   He’s the Messiah, not me!  I’m nothing!  He’s everything!  I’m not worthy to untie the straps of his sandals!”


“Let me tell you!  When he gets the kingdom of God cranked up he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire!  He will separate unbelievers from believers, the wheat into his barn, the chaff put to unquenchable fire!  So you’d all better repent and believe what I’m telling you!  He’s coming!”


Then John’s back to business as usual, preaching and baptizing sinners in the Jordan River! 


And that’s when the Messiah or the Christ shows up!  Jesus!  To be baptized by John! 


Jesus receives John’s baptism!  A little odd isn’t it?  No!  It’s mind-boggling!  Completely and totally out of place!  Jesus shouldn’t be there!  He’s not a sinner!  He has no sins to repent of!  He’s the Christ!  He’s the Messiah!  The Messiah doesn’t belong here!


Keep Him away from all these rotten, scoundrel sinners!  They are unclean!  Impure!  Toxic!


Don’t expose yourself to these people Jesus!  You’re holy!  They’re not!  They’re like noxious weeds!  Or like spoiled meat!  You have no place here with contaminated sinners like this!  And they should not be seen with you!  You and sinners need to be kept apart!  Separate!  Segregated!  Divorced!  As far as the east is from the west!  You cannot be in contact with these poisonous rascals, crooks, villains, rogues, scalawags, and dead beat sinners!


Jesus doesn’t listen to us!  He does the unthinkable!  The scandalous!  He joins Himself to these sinners with all their sin!  He jumps right into the water and swims with the reprobate – the ungodly!  Not just guilt by association!  More than that going on now!


In the water He exposes His pure, holy, unstained, sinless and perfect flesh to the pollution, death, and damnation of their sin!  Here He begins the ministry of which Isaiah prophesied:  “Nothing fancy to look at with the Messiah!  Who would desire Him?  For the LORD lays on Him the iniquity of us all … He pours out His life unto death [because] he is numbered or counted with the transgressors.  He bears the sin of many,” (Isaiah 53)!


This is what’s happening here!  Don’t you see?  Messiah Jesus is taking the sin of the world in His Body already now in His baptism!  To carry it to Calvary!  To do a Good Friday!  To atone or answer for it all!  By his Blood!  His divine Blood!  The only sacrifice that cleanses sinners from all sin! 


Yes, even yours!  Your sin!  No matter how bad!  No matter what you’ve done wrong!  No matter who you’ve hurt!  No matter who has hurt you.  Jesus has come as your Savior!  To take your sin and all the sin that has been committed against you as His!  To be the sinner in your place!  He insists on it!  Literally!  This is no fairy tale!  It is fact!  To be punished and damned in your place!


His Baptism is for you!  Gift!  So that now you are given this word from Jesus:  “You are forgiven!  All sin answered for!  I did it for you!  Look at my wounds!  Eat my body and drink my blood in the Sacrament.  It atoned for all your sin!  I absolve you!  Go in peace.”


Yes, that’s why Jesus shows up at the Jordan!  Messiah or Christ Jesus!  To do a salvation for sinners by absorbing all sin and answering for all of it! 


No wonder heaven breaks wide open!  No wonder the Spirit descends in Jesus!  No wonder we hear the Father’s voice of approval.  The Father is delighted in His Son!  Most pleased that He’s doing the salvation job for sinners in this way! 


Good thing the Spirit descends.  He will help Jesus to stay on task!  To do what is at hand!  The task of doing a Holy Week, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday!  It will not be easy!  Many temptations will try to derail Him!  To get Him off task!  To not be focused!  To come down from the cross with the promise that then people will believe in Him! 


Imagine that!  A Jesus minus His dying on the cross!


There can be no such Jesus!  Otherwise there would be no salvation for sinners!  Crucified Jesus with all your sin and Him being damned with it as MAXIMUM SINNER is your salvation! 


You are died for!  And you are baptized according to the Lord’s bidding!  Baptized into Christ’s death!  The only death that does the salvation job for you!  That’s Romans 6! 


To use John’s language:  in your baptism into Jesus you have been Holy Spirit-ed!  For you are baptized in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the HOLY SPIRIT (Matthew 28:19).  In John 3 Jesus tells Nicodemus that the born again-er or the born from above-rs are those that are baptized:  “born of water and the Spirit!”  Acts 2:38 says that the baptized are given the Holy Spirit.  Titus 3 declares that God saved you through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.  How did He do that?  Through your baptism into Christ! 


“He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire!”  You baptized have been cleansed and purified by the fire of the Holy Spirit-filled forgiveness of sins given to you by your Baptism in Christ!  Acts 2:38 tells you that in your Baptism you have not only been given the Holy Spirit but also the forgiveness of sins!  The two always go together:  Holy Spirit and forgiveness / forgiveness and the Holy Spirit!

The Holy Spirit is all about bestowing the forgiveness that Jesus won on the cross!


And so you’ve been winnowed!  Let there be no doubt about who you are and where you belong!  The judgment has taken place!  Jesus bore all your sin!  You are baptized.  He’s gathered you into God’s barn!  His home!  His family!  The church!  Like grain!  Judgment Day then, when Jesus reveals Himself in glory, will be seeing with your eyes what you now have by faith:  salvation!  Until then, happy living in your Baptism! 


In the Name of Jesus.

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