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Jesus: The Suffering Servant – Sermon #2
THE BAPTISM OF THE SERVANT
Intro: This passage records the first appearance of the Lord Jesus in the Word of God since He was seen in the Temple at the age of twelve. All we know of the next eighteen years of His life are summed up by Luke like this: “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man, Luke 2:52. Those silent years of the life of Jesus were years of mental, physical and spiritual preparation for His work as Messiah and Savior.
We are told in verse 8 that Jesus came “in those days. Why did Jesus choose this time to make His identity and mission known to men? He came now because the time was right. John the Baptist had blazed the trail as the forerunner of the Lord. John the Baptists crowds were large and his ministry was at its very apex. Jesus came at this time because John had completed his work and the time for him to decrease had come. Jesus came because it was Gods appointed time for Him to be revealed.
The next phrase says, “Jesus came. When Jesus Christ made His public appearance there on the banks of the Jordan River, it was a moment that changed the world forever. Ever since Adam sinned in Eden, mankind had been looking for a Redeemer Who would come and reconcile men to God. Since the dawn of time, fallen humanity had waited for the appearance of a perfect man who would challenge sin and Satan to deliver the human soul from the bondage of evil. Every man who had ever lived up to that day was just another fallen soul. Humanity had never been able to produce one who could deliver it from its lost condition. Many thousands of suns had risen and set on a world held fast in the grip of crushing iniquity. But, the day Jesus came, everything changed! When Jesus shows up, nothing remains as it was. (Ill. Just take a few minutes to ask Zacchaeus; the Gaderene Demoniac; the woman with the issue of blood; the three Hebrew boys; Daniel; Saul of Tarsus; Simon Peter; and any of the lives He impacted in the Word of God.)
Today we want to look at these verses and consider the events surrounding the baptism of the Lord Jesus Christ. There are some great blessings in these verses if we will just take the time to glean them. There are some questions that will be answered for us as well. Let’s take a few minutes today to look in on The Baptism Of The Servant and find some help for our souls in these verses. I think there is a word here for every person in this room, if you will receive it today. The Baptism Of The Servant.
I. v.9 THE APPEARING OF THE SON
(Ill. As I have already mentioned, this is the first recorded appearance of the Lord Jesus in eighteen years. When He appears, He comes to John the Baptist to be baptized by John. Now, verse 4 tells us that John’s baptism was “the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. In other words, the people who came to John were publicly confessing their sins and submitting to baptism as a symbol of their changed lives.
So, why was Jesus baptized? When He came to John for Baptism, Matthew tells us that John at first refused to baptize the Lord, Matt. 3:13-15. You see, John and Jesus were cousins. John probably knew the kind of life Jesus lived. John knew that if anyone was holy it was the Lord. But, Jesus said, “Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness,” Matt. 3:15. The phrase “to fulfil all righteousness means that Jesus was baptized to fulfil every ordinance of God. In other words, God was working through John the Baptist in those days and Jesus wanted to identify Himself with everything that was of the Father.
Jesus did not come to John to confess His sins and to be baptized to signify His repentance. Jesus had no sin that needed to be repented of, 2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Pet. 2:22. Jesus was baptized for several reasons. Allow me to point out just a few of them.)
A. He Appeared In Declaration When Jesus presented Himself for baptism, He was making a public declaration of some important facts.
1. Jesus was baptized to identify with John the Baptist’s ministry. Look again at what John had been preaching, v. 7-8. Jesus came to John to place His divine seal on what John had been saying. John had been preaching to the people this message: “The Kingdom of God is at hand! The Messiah is coming. Jesus came to be baptized of John to say to John and the people, I am the Messiah!
2. Jesus was baptized so that John would know that Jesus was the Messiah, John 1:33; Mark 1:10.
3. He was baptized to signal the beginning of His public ministry.
So, the baptism of the Lord Jesus was a public declaration that he was, in fact, the promised Messiah; that He was the Savior sent to reconcile God and man. (Ill. He is still the only way to God – John 14:6; Acts 4:12.)
B. He Appeared In Dedication In His baptism, Jesus was willingly and publicly accepting the mission He had been given by His Father. Jesus had entered this world for the sole purpose of carrying out Gods plan to redeem sinners. Jesus came to offer the Kingdom to Israel and to offer His life on the cross as a ransom for sin, Mark 10:45; John 18:37. Israel rejected the offer of their Messiah, but God accepted the offering Christ made on the cross, 1 John 2:2; Isa. 53:11. So, Jesus left the dark shadows of obscurity to embark on His public mission to “seek and to save that which was lost, Luke 19:10.
C. He Appeared In Demonstration The baptism of Jesus also served to allow Him to identify with the very people He came to save. Every one of those people who came to John for baptism was looking for a new life. They were looking for forgiveness of their sins and for a relationship with God. Jesus Christ came to give those very things to lost people. He was born in a human body so that He might live among us and die for us. He was baptized to identify with us. His baptism identified Him with the fallen race He came to save.
His baptism also pictured His Own death and resurrection. Just as the waters of muddy Jordan flowed down to their burial in the Dead Sea, the days of Jesus’ life were leading Him toward a date with death. When Jesus submitted to John’s baptism, He was picturing what would happen to Him some day. He would enter death on the cross and He would rise again in the resurrection. He knew that He was heading toward a baptism called death, Luke 12:50. Thus, Jesus Christ was demonstrating His solemn resolve to lay down His life on the cross for our sins.
(Ill. Thank God that He came for us! We were doomed and headed to Hell and we could not have saved ourselves. Jesus left the glories of Heaven to live and die in this cruel world, identifying Himself with us, so that we might be saved.
Ray Steadman gives the following illustration: “The grandfather entered the child's bedroom. A wide grin brightened his kind, warm face. "Davy!" he said, spreading his arms for a hug.
"Grampa!" shrieked the delighted two-year-old from his playpen. "Grampa, hug!"
"Sure, I'll give you a hug, Davy," said the grandfather. And with that, the old man reached out to his grandson and scooped him up out of the playpen, snuggling the boy in his strong arms. After a big hug, the grandfather set the boy down outside the playpen, among his toys, and they began to play together.
Minutes later, the boy's mother walked into the room. "Davy!" she said sternly. "You know I put you in the playpen because you've been naughty! You shouldn't have told Grampa to take you out!"
Davy's eyes puddled up, and he began to cry. The grandfather instantly felt terrible. He didn't know that his grandson had been given a time out in the playpen as a punishment. Now he had made a bad situation even worse for his little grandson.
"Grampa, play with me!" the boy said in pitiful voice that broke the old man's heart.
But the mother was unbending. "Davy, you know you have to go back into the playpen." She lifted the boy up and put him back in solitary confinement. The boy wailed in despair.
What could the grandfather do? He knew he couldn't overrule the boy's mother. But his heart went out to the poor boy.
Then the grandfather had an idea.
"Dad!" said the mother. "What do you think you're doing?"
"The only thing I can do," said the grandfather as he climbed into the playpen with his grandson. The child was being punished, and rightfully so. The only way the grandfather could show mercy to the boy was by descending to Davy's situation and taking Davy's punishment onto himself.
And that is what happened in your life and in mine the day Jesus came.
Jesus walked into the wilderness of our lives, becoming one with us, accepting the restrictions of life in human form, accepting our punishment, and suffering our pain. Jesus came so that we could have life--abundant life.”[i] Amen!)
(Note: By the way, Jesus was also setting an example for His people. If He saw the need to be baptized to signal the beginning of His new ministry; He expects us to be baptized to show the world we have died to our sins and have been raised to a new life in Him.)
II. v. 10 THE ANOINTING OF THE SPIRIT
(Ill. When Jesus was baptized, a strange thing happened. Mark tells us “the heavens opened and the Spirit, in the form of a dove, descended on the Lord Jesus Christ. The words Heavens opened literally means that the heaven were rent asunder. Through this tear in the heavens the Holy Spirit descended on the Lord Jesus in a visible form.
We need to take a moment to consider the Holy Spirit and what He did in the life of Jesus. These verses help us glean a little understanding of their relationship.)
A. A Picture Of Sacrifice The Spirit came in the form of a dove. The dove was the offering of the poor man, Lev. 5:7. Two “turtledoves were the offering given by Mary and Joseph when they presented Jesus as a baby, Luke 2:24. In the minds of the people, doves were associated with sacrifice.
Thus, when Jesus came into this world, He came to live a life of self-sacrifice. He did not come to live for Himself, He came to live and die for others. The Spirit of God anointed Jesus for a life of self-sacrifice.
Doves are birds associated with peace, gentleness and humility. These were all attributes that marked the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ. Don’t forget that Jesus Christ is God in human flesh! He could have entered this world as a man of war, power and judgment. Instead, He came as the Prince of Peace, Isa. 9:6. He could have come to destroy the world and condemn sinners. Instead, He came to die on the cross so that He might convert sinners. He could have called the fire of God down from Heaven to incinerate all the enemies of God. Instead, He absorbed the fire of God’s wrath in Himself on the cross so that sinners could be saved! When the Spirit of God anointed Jesus, He anointed Him for a life of Self-sacrifice.
B. A Preparation For Service We may wonder why Jesus, Who was God in the flesh, needed the Holy Spirit. Did He not possess all the power of the Godhead? Yes! Was He not God in the flesh? Yes! Was He not the Creator of the universe incarnate? Yes! Why did Jesus need the Spirits anointing? Jesus needed the power of the Spirit because He did not come into this world to live as God, but because He came into this world to live as a man.
When God made Adam and gave him dominion over the earth, Adam sinned and brought all of creation under the curse of sin, Rom. 5:12. Jesus came as the Second Adam. He came to do what the first Adam failed to do. He came to live His life as a perfect man. While He was here on earth, Jesus laid aside His glory and the independent use of His divine prerogatives, Phil. 2:5-8. He needed the power of the Holy Spirit to accomplish that.
Everything Jesus did, He did as a Spirit-filled man. As a Spirit-filled man He lived a perfect life. He satisfied the just demands of God’s Law. He perfectly kept every rule and regulation. Then, as a man, He went to the cross to die so that He could shed His innocent, perfect blood as the atonement for our sins.
(Ill. The life of Jesus sets a tremendous example for the rest of us. We will never live perfect lives because we have something Jesus did not have: a sin nature. We sin and we fall short, but if we would yield to the power of the Spirit of God and allow Him to fill our lives as we are commanded, Eph. 5:18, He would manifest the “fruit of the Spirit in us, Gal. 5:22-23, and we would live lives of power that would bring glory to the name of God.
When Jesus was here, He said this: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father, John 14:12. Jesus was just one man Who was filled with the Spirit of God. When He ascended back to Heaven, He sent the Holy Spirit to indwell every one of His saints. Now, there is the potential for every person who is saved to live a Spirit-filled, Spirit-controlled life. When we do, we glorify Him; we carry out His work; and we accomplish much in this world. We need to seek His face for the filling of His Spirit!
Don’t misunderstand me. When you were saved, you were given the Holy Spirit, Rom. 8:9; 1 Cor. 12:13. When He takes control of your life, He will not make you talk funny or act crazy. He will cause you to be more like Jesus and He will be able to use you in greater ways than you ever imagined. He will use us like He did Jesus. That is, He will cause us to live lives of self-sacrifice. He will cause us to live lives that bring honor and glory to the Lord.)
C. A Perfection Of The Scriptures The Spirit came on Jesus to fulfill the ancient prophecies concerning the Messiah. The Old Testament prophets said that the Messiah would be a Spirit-filled man, Isa. 11:1-5.
The Jews were looking for the Messiah. Their teachers had told them that His inauguration would be spectacular.
In the Testaments Of The Twelve Patriarchs, Testimony of Levi (18:6-8) says, “The heavens will be opened, and from the temple of glory sanctification will come upon him with a fatherly voice, as from Abraham to Isaac. And the glory of the Most High will burst forth upon him. And the spirit of understanding and sanctification will rest upon him [in the water]. For he shall give the majesty of the Lord to those who are His sons in truth forever.[ii]
When the events of Jesus’ baptism occurred the Jews would have recognized these signs as a fulfillment of the prophecies connected to the Messiah.
III. v. 11 THE APPROVING OF THE FATHER
(Ill. The third event that occurred when Jesus was baptized was the voice of the Heavenly Father coming out of Heaven. When God spoke, He voiced His approval of Jesus as His Son.
· The word “Thou can be stated as Thou and thou alone. This identifies Jesus as the only begotten Son of God.
· The word “art means have always been. Jesus did not become pleasing to the Father just because He got baptized. Jesus had been eternally pleasing to the Father. There had never been an instant when He was not pleasing to His Father.
· The word “beloved indicated the special bond of love that exists between God the Father and God the Son.
Let’s consider this pronouncement by the Father as He watches the baptism of His Son. God was expressing His approval of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus. Notice three thoughts from this verse.
A. It Was A Public Approval The Father was letting John the Baptist and everyone else who heard Him speak know that He was pleased with His Jesus. He was placing His divine seal of approval upon the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus. This would not be the last time the Father would speak to let men know that Jesus had His approval. On the Mount of Transfiguration, Matt. 17:5, God said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.
When God says the He is “pleased in the Son, He is saying a lot. The word pleased means to find pleasure. For four thousand years God had been looking down on humanity and all He had seen was sin, failure and weakness. When He looked at Jesus, He saw holiness, perfection and strength. God speaks to let the world know that the Son and His ministry have His seal of approval.
B. It Was A Personal Approval When God spoke that day He was also speaking for the benefit of the Son. For thirty years, the Father had been watching Jesus as He grew and matured. He watched Him interact with Mary and Joseph. He watched Jesus as He interacted with His half-brothers and half-sisters. He watched Him at home, in the synagogue, on the playground, in town and in the country. The Father had watched Jesus every day of His life. He had watched Him in the secret place as He prayed. He listened in on every conversation. He read every thought. He heard every word. Now, after thirty years of observation, God passes His verdict on the earthly life of Jesus. God looks at Him and says, I am well pleased!
Jesus was God in the flesh. But, He was also human. Just like any child He needed His Father’s approval. When He heard these words from Heaven, the resolve in His soul to carry out the will of the Father must have been greater than ever.)
(Note: I like it when the Father gives me a vote of confidence too! He will do that from time to time and I rejoice every time He comes by and says “Amen!” to what I am doing. It is a blessing to know when you are pleasing the Lord!)
C. It Was A Profound Approval When God pronounced His approval of the Son, He was also voicing His approval of all those who are in the Son. When a person is saved, the righteousness of Jesus is imputed to them, Rom. 4:22-24. In other words, when God looks upon a redeemed saint of God, He does not see our vile sins and wicked ways. He sees His Son and His holiness. He looks at us as though we had never sinned! How is this possible? It is possible because when God saves us He justifies us too, 1 Cor. 6:9-11. That is, He puts our sins away from us forever, Psa. 103:12; 1 John 1:7. He declares us to be righteous and when He sees us, He does not see our wretchedness, He sees Christ’s righteousness. When God looks down on His children, He says “They are my beloved children, in whom I am well pleased.
That is only true if you are “in Jesus. That is why Paul said that he wanted to be found in Him, Phil 3:9. “In Him there is no condemnation, Rom. 8:1. “In Him there is salvation, John 3:16. “In Him there is a new creature, 2 Cor. 5:17. “In Him there is eternal life, John 10:28. “In Him there is acceptance, John 6:37. “In Him there is hope, there is help and there is a home in Heaven. Are you In Him? If not, you need to be and you can be if you will come to Him.
Conc: Many things took place the day Jesus Christ was baptized by John in Jordan. The greatest thing was the beginning of a ministry that would end with Jesus on the cross dying for our sins. Thank God for the life He lives, the ministry He fulfilled and the gift He gave.
Have you trusted Jesus as your Savior? If not, He died for you and you can be saved if you will come to Him.
Are you living your life under the control of the Holy Spirit? Or, do you need to ask God to cleanse your vessel so that He can fill it today?