JESUS ALSO BEING BAPTIZED
Luke 3:21 Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, 22 And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased. 23 And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli,
We must give careful consideration to the wording of verse twenty one in order to see the message concerning the glory of Christ. For the scriptures are they which testify of him! John 5:39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
This verse sets a time of occurrence and an event’s accomplishment. That which was accomplished was that all the candidates for John’s baptism were baptized. No one was left to be baptized! And when that last one was baptized then next thing to “come to pass” was the arrival of the Lord Jesus to be baptized. Why is this important? It is important in order to show that he was “separate from sinners.” Hebrews 7:26 For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;
The Lord Jesus was to be baptized by the same man as they were. He was to be baptized in the same water. And it was the same mode of baptism by immersion. And it was at the same time as John was baptizing in the Jordan. But it was not for the same reason!
All others were baptized for the “remission of sins!” Luke 3:3 And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins;
Their baptism regarded confession and repentance of sins. Matthew 3:6 And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins. 8 Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: 11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:
But the Lord Jesus Christ had no sin! Hebrews 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 1 Peter 2:21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: 22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:
Then why was the Lord baptized? At first, that seemed to be even a problem to John the Baptist. Matthew 3:13 Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. 14 But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? John being placed in the very presence of the Lamb of God and therefore realizing his own sinful nature, caused him, temporarily, to misjudge his responsibility of baptizing the Lord.
But in the very next verse our Lord raises John’s mind to their higher pursuit into the realm of righteousness. Matthew 3:15 And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. Being for only the second time in the actual presence of the God-man, he was as overcome as he had been the first time when both were brought together, as yet still in the womb. Luke 1:41 And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: 44 For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.
Truly, looking into the very face of the Lord, it must have been as Mr. C. H. Gabriel’s song states,
“I stand amazed in the presence
Of Jesus the Nazarene,
And wonder how He could love me,
A sinner, condemned, unclean.”
But we can thank our Lord for keeping us all in the proper spiritual mind-set. We are so easily distracted by things around us that we often fail to be directed by Him who is above us! But obedience to the awareness of the Father’s will is the very nourishment of our Savior! John 4:32 But he said unto them, I have meat (food) to eat that ye know not of. 34 Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.
And a continued God-consciousness is also our greatest prevention from growing weary in our own faithfulness. Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.
Therefore when questioned by those sent to him by the “priests and Levites from Jerusalem,” (John 1:19), John then clearly sets forth to them the overall reason of his baptizing everyone. It was for the specific reason that in doing this, the Lord God would reveal to him alone his actual presence in human form! John 1:31 And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water. 34 And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.
The revelation of Jesus Christ to the soul of man, by the Holy Spirit, brings the newness of life which we call salvation. John 6:40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.
And as the believer attains justification by that first spiritual sight, so he progresses in sanctification by continually doing the same. 2 Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. 4:6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
And so it shall be for our glorification! It will require a look at Him in his highest glory, laying aside his mediatorial present reign, and returning as God all in all, which shall be the very means of our being finally changed into our eternal state! 1 John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
But notice in that John 1:31 verse John states, I knew him not. What he is stating there, and in the same words again in verse thirty three, is that since he is the only man on earth who is given to recognize Creator, Redeemer God in human form, he wants it known that this was not done through personal familiarity! For the only other time that it is recorded the two of them were in each others presence, was when both were in their mother’s womb!
Both grew up separately, and at distances from the other. Of John’s situation we read: Luke 1:80 And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel.
And of the Lord Christ it is recorded: Luke 2:39 And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth. 40 And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.
The phrase in John 1:29, John seeth Jesus, is very important. For in seeing the Lord face to face, there was a powerful spiritual impulse within John causing him to exclaim, “Behold the Lamb of God!” The same thing occurred to John’s mother, Elizabeth, when she came into the presence of her cousin, the virgin Mary, who was carrying the Christ child. Luke 1:41 And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:
And we also find John’s “record” of his ability to recognize the Lord. Consider these verses that set forth his testimony. John 1:32 And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. 33 And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. 34 And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.
John came to know the Lord Jesus in the same way every believer comes to know Him – by the Holy Spirit! 1 Corinthians 12:3 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. Of the work of the Holy Spirit the Lord gave the following instructions: John 16:14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
For his faithfulness in this unique task, the Lord Jesus proclaims John to be the greatest man, then born of woman! He was the greatest produce of the natural birth! However, in that statement the Lord also reveals that even the least of those soon to be born of the Holy Spirit would be greater than him! Matthew 11:11 Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
And in that same discourse the Lord even clears up the mystery surrounding the prophesy of Malachi concerning the sending of Elijah the prophet, as recorded in chapter four and verses five and six of Malachi’s writings. Malachi 4:5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: Matthew 11:13 For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. 14 And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come. That is just as plain as it could possibly be. John the Baptist’s coming IS the fulfillment of the prophesy of Elijah coming!
The prophesy is spoken of by the angel Gabriel as he announces the birth of John the Baptist to his father, Zacharias. And there Gabriel speaks of John coming in “the spirit and power of Elijah,” but not that Elijah himself should come! Luke 1:17 And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.
Therefore when the boys who were sent from Jerusalem to question John of his person, John is not untruthful to them in his answer. They asked, “Are you Elijah?” For he was not the person of Elijah! But he was similar to the spirit and power of Elijah! John 1:21 And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No. 22 Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself? 23 He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.
One other thing should be noted from the Lord’s word as listed above in Matthew 11:11. Just take note of the word, “notwithstanding.” The very least of those born of the Spirit in the spiritual kingdom of God would be far greater than any that the natural birth had produced. John powerfully and publicly states, “Behold the Lamb of God,” twice. (See John 1:29,36). Yet we find him in a far different state after his task has been accomplished.
Matthew 11:2 Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, 3 And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another? It seems almost impossible that this in the one who has come in the spirit and power of Elijah. Just keep in mind that his greatness was only within the realm of the natural birth! For the workings of the Holy Spirit before Pentecost, and before redemption had been accomplished, was much different than afterward.
Before that, the Spirit came on those like John. But afterward, the Spirit dwelt IN even the least of the believers in the, then present kingdom! John 14:17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
The Lord even teaches the disciples that the day of the Holy Spirit’s dwelling within them would be far differently expressed, even in their prayer life. John 16:23 And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. 26 At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you: 27 For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.
Therefore once John had accomplished his task of manifesting that Jesus of Bethlehem was very God, he is even plagued with doubts concerning that proclamation! And Christ’s comforting answer was to “show John again” that he was the Messiah, by relating the characteristics of the Lamb of God that were clearly seen by John’s remaining disciples. See Matthew 11:4-6.
Pastor Gene Breed
April 28, 2017