What A Baptism! One You Never Expected!
The Baptism of Our Lord Trinity Lutheran Church
8 January 2017 Murdock, NE
+ Jesu Juva +
That’s right John! Give Him the stop sign! Good grief! He doesn’t belong here. Your baptism is for losers. Deadbeats. Derelicts. Scumbags. Reprobates. Delinquents. Dopes. Immoral prodigals. SINNERS! Big time! Those are the people that need your baptism. They need to repent. They need to confess their sins. They need to wash off all their wretched sin and leave it in the Jordan River water.
But not Jesus! He’s holy. He’s sinless. He has nothing of which to repent. No sins to confess. He doesn’t need your John-the-Baptist-for- Sinners-Baptism.
Holy, perfect, sinless Jesus doesn’t belong in a baptism meant for unholy, imperfect, sin-infested people. Holy and unholy don’t mix. Perfection and imperfection must be kept separate. Jesus must be divorced from sinners and their sin! Always! So, John, you’re right to prevent Him. Protect Him from contamination. From corruption.
Makes sense, doesn’t it? John gets it. So do you. Most holy and perfect God-Messiah-Jesus should stay as far away as possible from unclean, toxic, pollutant sin and noxious sinners. That’s how God-Messiah-Jesus should act.
You and John want to forever separate Jesus from sin and sinners. You and John want a God-Messiah-Jesus that remains eternally detached from sinners and sin. That’s the Messiah you want. A Messiah that doesn’t get messy, dirty, or polluted by sin. A Messiah that doesn’t truck or associate with sinners. He’s got to stay squeaky clean. You’re bullishly religious about it. You have to have your way. So, to borrow a phrase from Seinfeld you and John are like the Soup Nazi: “No baptism for you Jesus!”
Jesus insists otherwise. He won’t take no for an answer. He will do the bidding of His Father. Our thoughts are not His thoughts. His ways are not our ways. He will be baptized. He does what you and John would prevent. He will be the Messiah in a way you never expected. Anticipated. In a way you never saw coming.
Jesus says: “I’m here to fulfill all righteousness.” That’s His polite but Messianic way of categorically declaring: “I’m here to do a redemption! The redemption of the world!”
How He does it is the shocker. The bombshell. The bolt from the blue. He is the world’s redeemer – your redeemer — by being baptized by John! Receiving a baptism that is designed and intended for sinners! Do you see what Jesus is doing in His baptism? It’s precisely what you and John didn’t want to happen.
Jesus sees to it that it does! This is His first step on His journey to the cross. Here at the Jordan Jesus is saying: “I am the Holy One. However, I will pull off what you consider utterly impossible. I’m here to take the sin of all these sinners floating and polluting this river water. Oh heck, I’m up to my neck in their sin and the world’s sin. I’m soaking in it! I’m letting all of it seep deeply into My body so that I will be the Sin-Bearer. The Sin-Carrier! The Sin-Infested Sinner! Here is precisely what Isaiah the prophet said would happen to Me and it begins not at My baptism in the Jordan: ‘the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all,’ and ‘he bore the sin of many,’ [Is. 53:6, 12].”
Your salvation depends on Jesus taking all sin – the world’s and yours — in His Body and answering for it on the cross. As I said just a little bit ago, His baptism in the Jordan is the beginning. Here in the Jordan Jesus freely identifies Himself with all and every sinner under the wrath of God. His baptism is the initial stride toward His Good Friday crucifixion to atone for the sin of the world as the Lamb of God!
Now wonder then that the Holy Spirit lights on Him in the form of a dove. Here Jesus is consecrated – set apart – for this ministry. To do a Good Friday where He who knew no sin is made to be sin in order to give you His righteousness.
Now wonder the Father is well pleased. After all, Jesus is pulling off the redemption of the world just the way His Father wants it. God the Father bursts forth with a mighty sermon. And like God the Holy Spirit the Father bears witness to Jesus. All attention on Jesus. All glory to Jesus. Because He’s the Sin-Bearer. Because He’s the one and only Atoning Substitute for all sin and every sinner. Listen again to the Father’s preaching of Jesus: “Most Holy Jesus is My priceless Son. I couldn’t be more pleased with Him!”
Holy Spirit Dove and the Father’s Voice. Visual and aural proof that Jesus is the Servant-Son of God. Jesus is the long-awaited Suffering Servant of the LORD upon whom the Holy Spirit was promised as coming. That’s Isaiah 11; Isaiah 42; Isaiah 61! In addition, Jesus is the long-awaited Son of God –anointed or put into the office of the promised Messiah! That’s Psalm 2:7; 2 Samuel 7! Jesus is everything promised and expected in the Old Testament. Jesus is IT! Here in His Baptism Jesus is publicly ordained and installed into the office of the Messiah. He is Messiah FOR YOU! Moving from the Jordan to His death on the cross. There all your sin is answered for. You are forgiven. There’s no doubt about it.
Even more proof is your Baptism. The very Baptism Jesus mandated for all nations in Matthew 28: in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. You’ve been given the divine SAVING NAME of God. And with THE DIVINE NAME COMES ALL OF JESUS’ RIGHTEOUSNESS – that is to say – all the redemption that He won FOR YOU in His Baptism and Cross!
In the Name of Jesus.