Jesus’ baptism and ours

Preliminary ideas for a sermon on the baptism of Jesus, from Matthew 3:13-17. Here’s the text in the NET Bible:

13  Then Jesus came from Galilee to John to be baptized by him in the Jordan River. 14  But John tried to prevent him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and yet you come to me?” 15  So Jesus replied to him, “Let it happen now, for it is right for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John yielded to him. 16  After Jesus was baptized, just as he was coming up out of the water, the heavens opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming on him. 17  And a voice from heaven said, “This is my one dear Son; in him I take great delight.”

Jesus’ baptism clearly shows his uniqueness: he is without sin. He is God, evident from the three persons of the Godhead being present. But for all that, there are also parallels between Jesus’ baptism and ours.

Opposition: John resisted, however lightly, Jesus’ request for baptism. Our Lord had to reason with him before he yielded. We may encounter light or heavy resistance from others as well, for various motives. We should try reasoning, but insist on obedience whether others accept or not.

Beginning: Jesus’ baptism marks the beginning of his ministry. Ours also marks the beginning of our life in Christ and service to God.

Reunion: Jesus’ immersion marks the presence of the God who is one in three. The Father was present in the voice; the Spirit, in the dove; the Son, in the flesh. When we are immersed in water, the Father voices his approval, the Spirit comes to give us life and strength, and the sacrifice of Jesus washes away our sins.

Identification: Jesus is identified as the Son of God in this beginning act of obedience. In our immersion, we actually become part of God’s family.

Submission: Jesus’ baptism demonstrates his submission to the Father’s will. Even though he did not need the forgiveness of sins that was being offered in baptism, nor did he do it as a sign of repentance from sin, Jesus submitted to God’s commandment through John to be baptized. In this way, he learned obedience (Hebrews 5:9). Immersion in water is God’s command today so that we might be forgiven from sin and saved for eternity. Without that submission, there is no salvation.

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