Friday, January 21, 2011

John the Baptist’s Witness: “Jesus is Christ”

John was by no means a timid man. He was confident in his calling, confident in his message, confident in his methods. But when Jesus came up to be baptized, John suddenly got weak knees:
John kept objecting and said, "I ought to be baptized by you. Why have you come to me?"
Jesus replied
"For now this is how it should be, because we must do all that God wants us to do."
There are several reasons why Jesus humbled Himself in the Jordan. By having John baptize Him, Jesus:

1) Gave approval to John’s preaching and work.

2) Fulfilled all righteousness.
"...we must do all that God wants us to do."
If Jesus was going to bring righteousness to sinners, then He needed to be identified with sinners. Isaiah had prophesied that Messiah would be numbered among the transgressors. Sin was going to be on Jesus. In baptism Jesus identified Himself completely with sinful humankind, even though He Himself had no sin to repent of.

3) Prophesied the cross and His resurrection. Baptism symbolizes death. Whereas in one sense, as John baptized people, he was symbolically cleaning them from all their sin, he was also in a sense symbolically lowering them down into their grave, showing them how they were dying to their old life of sin; and he was raising them up again to a brand new life as a cleansed person, reborn to an eternal life of purity with God. Jesus added reality to this symbolism since He would literally die and literally rise up from the dead, leading the way for everyone else who believes in Him to also literally rise up from the dead on the last day.

4) Was set apart as the ultimate high priest; this was His anointing. soon as he came out of the water, the sky opened, and he saw the Spirit of God coming down on him like a dove.
Every time before, priests, kings and prophets had been anointed with oil, to represent the Holy Spirit. But Jesus was anointed with the Spirit Himself.

5) Jesus’ life paralleled the history of God’s people. Just as the Hebrews had passed first through the waters of the Red Sea, and into the desert for forty years’ of testing, so now Jesus would pass through the Jordan’s waters and into the desert for forty days’ of testing

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