Year 2 Day 21
Read - Mark 1:9 and Matthew 3:14-15
Message - Alan Burke
Think of the announcement of Gabriel to Mary that she was highly favoured (Lk 1:28), the birth of Jesus announced to the shepherds (Lk 2:8-20), a couple of years later the visit of the wise men (Mt 2:1-12), the young Jesus getting left behind at the temple (Lk 2:41-52), Mark tells us nothing of this. He simply passes over thirty years of Jesus life because he doesn’t want to preoccupy us with the details about the circumstances for Jesus' birth and background. What Mark wants to do is to take us to the good news, to Jesus and this seminal event in everything that unfolds. This is Jesus’ transition into public ministry that would end in his exhalation seated on the Father’s right hand that would also be his coronation, but only after his humiliation on the Cross dying for the sin of those who he came to save.
These three verses that tell us of the baptism of Jesus act as the starting point for the ministry of Jesus, as the heavens were torn open, the Spirit descends into him and the Father declared from heaven that this is this is my Son whom I love. Think back to v4, John was proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, but Jesus was without sin (Heb 4:15). Jesus who was without sin, went to be baptised with a baptism that was of repentance for the forgiveness of sins but he was without sin, why is Jesus baptised if he is sinless?
In Matthew 3:14, we are told that initially John tried to deter Jesus. John understood that Jesus who came before him was the one who would baptise with the Holy Spirit, the one who he was not worthy to untie his sandals, but then in verse 15, Jesus replies “Let it be so now (speaking of baptism); it is proper for us to do this to fulfil all righteousness”. To fulfil all righteousness, Jesus was doing this, was being baptised, he who was without sin, to fulfil all righteousness, and that righteousness is that of obedience. Jesus received baptism so that he might render full obedience to the Father.
In order to secure a perfect righteousness for us, to bring salvation for sinners, Jesus had to keep every stipulation the Lord has given His people. God sent John the Baptist, the last prophet to command the Jews to be baptised in preparation for the arrival of His kingdom, so Jesus, as our Savior, had to keep that command. In everything single thing he did, Jesus was keeping the law of God perfectly, this is called his active obedience. It was not enough for Jesus to suffer and die as the substitute for sinners, the atonement provides for our forgiveness, which is of course necessary, but the Lord demands more than a clean slate from us, rather what is required is perfect obedience, active obedience to every jot and tittle of the law.
Here in his baptism Jesus is humbling himself by entering the ranks of sinners, by identifying with them. Do we get the sheer gravitas of this, of what Jesus was doing by identifying as a sinner. The Son of God who was with God and was God, the second person of the Trinity, who helped set the stars in their place, and he identified with us sinners, and he died in our place that we might live.
Q34 What is adoption?
Adoption is an act of God’ s free grace, (1 John 3:1) whereby we are received into the number, and have a right to all the privileges of the sons of God. (John 1:12, Rom. 8:17)