Foundations: What's Jesus Doing??
By Brent Kuhlman
13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. 14 John would have prevented him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?" 15 But Jesus answered him, "Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." Then he consented. 16 And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; 17 and behold, a voice from heaven said, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased." (Matthew 3:13-17)
What's Jesus doing? Obviously, He didn't get the memo. Someone call the bouncers before He gets past John and jumps into that water! This is no way to start your ministry, Jesus! After all, you're the Christ!
Stop right there, Jesus! John's baptism is for sinners. For the low-lifes and losers of the world. For critter crooks who have lots for which to repent. You don't, Jesus. These scum need to have their sins washed away. But not you Jesus. You're the sinless royal Son of God!
So don't go there Jesus! You're not a sinner. You've got no sins to confess. The Jordan River banks are full of rotten to the core criminal sinners. This water swarms with the reeky and venomous sins of bottom feeders. You should not be here, Jesus! You're better than this! Hey, John! A little help here! Don't give your consent to this! You just got done calling the religious wig-heads a brood of vipers. Surely you can stand up to your cousin. Talk Jesus into baptizing you instead. Thanks for listening, - John.
The Lord doesn't listen to you or me. Won't be deterred by John. He's bullish. Goes right ahead and does the unthinkable.
Steps right into that sin-infested water! It reeks of sin! Enough to make you retch! Polluted with every kind of noxious sin from every sinner that John's baptized. You name it and Jesus is hip deep in it. Idolatry. Adultery. Immorality. Rape. Murder. Theft. Abortion. Cursing. Hate. Greed. Prejudice. Lying. Unforgiveness. Love of the self. Self-justification.
Jesus jumps right into that toxic water! Rancid! Putrid! Rotten! Malignant! With nothing at all to protect Him! No sin resistant water suit. No sin protective goggles. He dives in completely unprotected. His Body is covered with it all.
Downright disgusting, isn't it? We'd never do anything like this. Not even on Fear Factor.
And yet God the Father is delighted. So is the Holy Spirit. Thrilled that Jesus receives this baptism. Elated that He's washed with this sin-plagued water. That He is drenched in it up to His armpits.
We're repulsed. We'd run away. The Father attends. The Holy Spirit descends. All heaven breaks wide open. "Here is my Son. I love Him. I couldn’t be more pleased."
We'd try to save Jesus from this poisonous, sin-infected water. After all, this sin-polluted water will kill Jesus!
Precisely! Now you've got the hang of it! The sins in the water will kill Him!
Don't you get it? In His Baptism He’s taking the sin of the world in His Body. He’s going to shoulder it all—soak it all in like a sponge—all the way to Calvary. Where He does His very good Good Friday. Answering for the world’s sins. Dying as the sinner in your place.
He’s come as the Christ to claim all sin as His own in the water. And then take that sin and its full punishment on the Cross. That's death and hell for Him. That's salvation for you. Behold, His Jordan River Baptism fulfills all righteousness. Jesus takes your sin—the world's sin—to do the Good Friday job that only He can do.
No wonder the Father's not offended. He loves His Savior-ing-The-World-Son as He saviors the world in this particular way.
What a Savior! You are Good Friday-ed and Easter Sunday-ed. You are baptized into Christ's atoning death for you.
You are holied. You are Holy Spirit-ed. Washed. Reborn. Forgiven. Heaven cracked wide open for you at your baptism. Now listen to what the Father says about you: "For Christ’s sake you are My child! I love you who are washed clean and born again in Holy Baptism! I couldn't be more pleased with you!"
Aren't you glad John consented to baptize Jesus in the Jordan? And isn't it just wonderful that your parents brought you for Holy Baptism? Absolutely!
In the Name of Jesus. Amen.
Rev. Brent Kuhlman is pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Murdock, Nebraska and is a former member of the Higher Things Board of Directors.
This article was originally published on the Higher Things website in August 2019.
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