Category Archives: Jesus’ Baptism

Pastor John’s Bible Stories For Grownups – 559 – Jesus’ Baptism

Pastor John’s Bible Stories For Grown-ups
09/02/16 – 559 – Jesus’ Baptism


Matt 3:13-17
Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. 14 But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”
15 Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.

16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
NIV

Luke 3:21-22
When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened 22 and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
NIV

The gospel of Mark also includes an account of Jesus’ baptism, it’s probable that Matthew used Mark’s as his model. The 3 accounts do vary though, just enough to tell us they were written by people with 3 different views of the event. But notice the background, and the most important ‘take-aways’.

First, the ritual of baptism itself. From the earliest days of the tabernacle, there were basins (lavers) for ritual cleansing before making certain sacrifices or participating in certain rituals. Then John came along, and seems to have been going down a different road.

He wasn’t cleansing people for the purpose of performing some ritual, he was hearing their confessions and baptizing them by immersion in the Jordan river! He spent his life declaring that he was preparing a way for the promised Messiah. Some believed him, some thought he was just crazy. But, he was pretty much universally accepted as a prophet/rabbi sent by God Himself. Because of this he drew enough attention that he apparently had a good audience of people waiting to be baptized plus Pharisees and Sadducees that had come to watch one day when Jesus came walking up.

The importance? Many witnesses – which would become extremely significant later on. John recognizes Jesus not as his cousin, but obviously as the Messiah, and protests that it should be Jesus baptizing him, not the other way around. This is important point #2. Of course Jesus insisted. Have you ever noticed that He never asked us to do anything that He didn’t do Himself?
Then the miracle – in front of all those witnesses. The sky opened up, and the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form, landed on Jesus, and everyone heard in an audible voice those famous words – “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”.

I noted 2 points as being very important. Here’s why. When Jesus’ authority is challenged later on, He has to show that His rabbinical authority to interpret scripture comes from the endorsement of 2 other authorities. So later on, after Jesus had been teaching and performing miracles, we read this:

Matt 21:23-25
Jesus entered the temple courts, and, while he was teaching, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him. “By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you this authority?”
24 Jesus replied, “I will also ask you one question. If you answer me, I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. 25 John’s baptism — where did it come from? Was it from heaven, or from men?”

NIV

They knew that John’s authority was recognized as having come directly from God, and that John had recognized Jesus’ authority. The second ‘endorsement’ was the one that came from heaven, in front of too many witnesses to be ignored. They knew it, and Jesus knew it. That’s why they had no answer.

It’s always important – even critical – to know where your authority lies. To know why you believe what you believe. It takes more than emotions, more than a warm fuzzy on Sunday morning. Let’s pray today for that deep pull of the Holy Spirit to take root in us, that we would truly want to know.

Pastor John’s Bible Stories For Grownups – 557 – Jesus’ Return to Israel

Pastor John’s Bible Stories For Grown-ups
08/31/16 – 557 – Jesus’ Dedication To God

Good morning, everyone. I think I finally figured out where the Spirit is taking us with this one. We’ve already done the Christmas story (available here for those that missed it), and now the story of His family’s flight to and return from Egypt, we are going to keep right on going on the story of Jesus’ life on earth.

I’ll try to keep it as chronologically accurate as possible, but we’ve already skipped one important event, so just this once (maybe) I’d like to jump backwards a little bit. We did touch on this and the flight to Egypt in the Christmas story also, but not in this much depth. The event was Jesus’ circumcision.

Circumcision has become quite the controversial procedure today. Not so then, and not so for the devout Jew. God commanded Abraham that, as a mark of their covenant with Him, He and all male members of his family be circumcised. It would later become a controversy even among the first Christians, causing a major rift between Peter and Paul when the church doors were opened to Gentiles, but we can talk about that another time.

For Jesus, there was no question. He would be circumcised and dedicated to God when He was 8 days old.

Luke 2:21-32
21 On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.

22 When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”), 24 and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”
25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace.
30 For my eyes have seen your salvation,
31 which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.”

I remember a Christmas choir cantata some years ago in which we sang a song about this. I had a hard time singing it, just putting myself in the place of this man who had been waiting his entire life asking for only one thing from God, and believing with all his heart that his prayer would be answered. He just wanted to see the Messiah before he died. And somehow, when he saw the baby Jesus, he knew. It was He.

This kind of knowledge only comes from one place, and that’s what I wa talking about the other day. It’s being in tune with God’s voice, so that when He speaks, even though it may be through the cries of an infant, you recognize it. Just as the sheep recognize their master’s voice, Simeon knew that this little one was the promised One. I’m pretty sure that’s not what He was expecting, but he was willing to hear. That is what made all the difference.

How is your communication with God going? Have you been able to hear Him lately, or are your conversations still pretty much one-sided? If so, Ask Him again to speak to you. Then BE QUIET AND LISTEN!!!!! If you do hear His voice (no matter which form He chooses to use) thank Him for that and keep up the good work.