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Jesus: Baptized As A Sinner!

January 12, 2014

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The Baptism of Our Lord                               Trinity Lutheran Church

12 January 2014                                                 Murdock, NE

+Jesu Juva +

Matthew 3:13-17

Well, this is awkward, isn’t it?  Aren’t you really uncomfortable?  Everything was going swimmingly – quite normal here at First Congregation on the Jordan.  But now there’s a hush over our desert parishioners.  The baptismal liturgy comes to a full halt.  The preacher — John the Baptizer’s chin — hits the water.  He is dumbfounded.  For the first time in his life he doesn’t know what to say.  Or what to do.

After all, look who’s here!  Who invited Him?  He doesn’t belong!  Seriously!

Why?  Well, it’s not because of His skin color, gender, religious affiliation, or anything like that.  It’s because John’s ministry here at First Congregation on the Jordan is specifically and only geared to sinners.  The services are designed for sinners.  He’s matrixed his ministry for transgressors.  From big time capital offenders and felons to the very petty wrongdoers.  From the very outwardly pious and über religious yet inwardly brood of viper frauds and hypocrites to the full blown deadbeat, hardcore, bare knuckle, brazen, lowlife, reprobates.

John is strictly in the dealing-with-sinners business.  That is his reputation.  His gig.  He is a rock-star preacher who preaches repentance and a baptism for the forgiveness of sins from the A-list celebs of Jerusalem to garden-variety sinners as well as the wolves of Wall Street, derelicts, deadbeats, street bums, prostitutes, and all around good-for-nothings.

So I’ll ask again.  Who invited … Jesus?  Did you?  How about you?  Maybe you did!  You didn’t?  Then why is He here?  He’s totally out of place!  First Congregation on the Jordan has nothing to offer Him.  A sermon calling Him to repentance?  Doesn’t apply to Jesus.  A sermon absolving Him of all His sin?  Again, doesn’t apply to Jesus.  He is the exception to the rule of humanity.  He has nothing to repent of.  He’s not a sinner.  In any way, shape or form.

So when holy, perfect and sinless Jesus walks right in to the water, sidles up to preacher John and request John’s baptism for sinners, you can understand why John wants to put a stop to it immediately.  “This is really awkward Jesus,” John sheepishly says.  “Quite unnerving.  You’ve got everything backwards here.  I need to be baptized by you.  Let me step aside and turn the liturgy over to you.  Here, you baptize all these sinners gathered here at First Congregation on the Jordan.  In fact, I’ll be the first one in line.  I’m just as big as sinner as all the rest.  So be my guest.  The river is all yours.”


Jesus doesn’t back down.  He insists that John baptize Him.  “Let it be so now, it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.”

“Fulfill all righteousness?  What in the world is that?  Couldn’t you say it any simpler Jesus?  John, what does He mean?  You seem to get it because now you’ve changed your mind and you’re going to baptize Jesus.  So how about a little explanation, please.”    

“To fulfill all righteousness,” John declares, “is to do all of God’s will.  To fulfill all of God’s purpose.  To do everything that God wants done.”

“All right.  We’re with you so far. Don’t misunderstand.  We’re not against God doing His will and all that. But what’s that got to do with sinless, holy and perfect Jesus making such an outrageous request to be baptized by you Pastor?  After all, you only deal with sinners.”


“Come on Pastor John!  If you baptize Jesus with your sinner’s baptism today, you’ll be treating Him as if He’s … we can hardly bring ourselves to say it … but we have to … you’ll be treating Him like He’s A SINNER!  Like He’s one of us!  When He’s not!  And you know it!” 


“So Pastor, with all due respect, with great love, admiration and thanks for your ministry among us, we have to emphatically object and we have to take over First Congregation on the Jordan now.  We’ve taken a vote. It’s unanimous.  We’re not going to allow you to do this.  Stand down Reverend.  We’ve rescinded your call.  Be a good boy now.  Here’s a check for two weeks severance, a spare camel hair suit, and a month’s supply of locusts and wild honey.”


“We will not tolerate your behavior anymore Pastor!  Your rock-star status has gone to your head.  So it’s up to us now.  We will protect Jesus from being treated as a sinner. We forbid you to give holy and perfect Jesus a baptism that is meant only for sinners.”


“This cannot be God’s will.  We all know the fundamental rule in the world:  two contradictory things cannot be in one thing at the same time. Like light and darkness.  Or oil and water.  So, what is holy must be kept apart from what is not holy.  This means that sinless Jesus has to be divorced … segregated from sinners at all costs! We’ve got to keep Jesus pure.  We cannot okay Him to be dirtied, contaminated and unholied with such a baptism for sinners.”


Then our jaws hit the floor.  We are flabbergasted.  Angered.  Pastor John flagrantly, bullishly and audaciously disobeys and violates our infallible, unanimous vote.  He brazenly ignores our removing him from office at First Congregation on the Jordan.  He blatantly goes and does the impossible.  He breaks the rules.  HE BAPTIZES JESUS as a sinner! Treats Him like He’s one of us!

Talk about unsportsmanlike conduct in the church!  Talk about desecration of the highest order!  This is outrageous!  Disgraceful!  Despicable!  Someone call the Commissioner of Church Affairs in Jerusalem!  Huge fines and a lifetime suspension from the ministry for John are in order!

Then all of a sudden, when it appears that we’re still somewhat in charge with all our outrage and indignation, our jaws hit the floor again.  All of heaven breaks loose and floods First Congregation on the Jordan.  The Holy Spirit in the form of a dove lights on the baptized Jesus.  He endorses and supports what has just happened.

Then, God the Father, the highest Authority in heaven and on earth, preaches an infallible and most authoritative sermon!  I know it’s hard to hear.  I know it’s shocking.  But you’d better get used to it and quit objecting so much because it is the best news you’ll ever hear in your life.  It’s the greatest gift you’ll ever be given in your life.

Listen.  The Father’s sermon is this:  “Do you see the baptized-as-a-sinner-Jesus?  Take a good look everyone!  That’s My Son!  Doing all of my will.  Doing everything that I purpose.  Doing everything that I want done.  And that means His being treated as a sinner in John’s baptism.  That He is counted as a sinner.  That He purposely violates the rule you so strenuously want to keep in place.”


“I wanted Him there in John’s baptism for sinners!  That’s precisely where He needs to be!  After all, your salvation depends on My perfect and holy Son Jesus taking on all your sin in His body, in fact becoming sin, beginning here at the Jordan and then being damned with it on the cross of Good Friday.”


“If you got your way and kept My Son Jesus from John’s baptism for sinners, then your sin and all its damnation would remain on you!  If you were successful in keeping My Son Jesus ‘innocent’ and uncontaminated with your sin, then you would have to carry your sin and be damned in it.  In short, your sin, all of it must be My Son’s sin or you perish eternally.”


“So,” the Father declares, “I am absolutely delighted with what Jesus does here at First Congregation on the Jordan! He’s baptized as a sinner for His sinners’ salvation!  For your salvation.  That’s precisely why I love Him!”


“And now that you’ve been baptized into My Beloved Son’s Good Friday death you have a new life.  The life of faith in My Son your Savior who was baptized for you the sinner.  It is the Holy Spirit filled life of using My Son’s atoning death on the cross and your Baptism against all your sin every day of your life – counting yourself dead to sin but alive to God in My Son Jesus!”

After hearing such an authoritative sermon from the Father, what’s there left to do?  How about this?  Believe it!  And faith prays.  So let us pray.

Thank you Father for sending John to baptize Jesus against our will.  Thank you Jesus for being baptized as a sinner for us and for our salvation.  Thank you Father for your sermon.  It has repented us and has given us great joy in Your beloved Son Jesus.


In the Name of Jesus.             

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