Matthew 3:7-17 "Good Heavenly Relationship Good Response"
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Good Morning CCLC! Please open your Bibles to Matthew 3. We are continuing in our journey chapter and verse through the Gospel of Matthew. Last time we met, Matthew presented the forerunner to Christ, John the Baptist. At the beginning of Chapter 3, John proclaimed the coming of the King...preparing the hearts of the people with his baptism unto repentance...making straight the way of the Lord. Today, we will see the Coronation of the King or the Anointing of the King. All of these symbolic acts were extremely important to Matthew's Jewish audience to understand that Jesus is their King and their Messiah. And, we will see a stark contrast in John the Baptist's response as he is approached by the Religious Leaders, and when he is approached by Jesus. A key theme I see in today's message is, "Good Heavenly Relationship, Good Response." Well, let's pray, and then we will finish Chapter 3 of Matthew. Matt 3:7 "But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, "Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 1. As mentioned last week, John the Baptist was a straight shooter, he called it like it is...no padded message...just a man with an authentic message. 2. I find John's response to the religious leaders extremely fascinating. Only Matthew and Luke record this conversation of John calling the religious leaders a 'Brood of Vipers." 3. I am not surprised that Matthew would note this conversation. If you recall from our introduction on Matthew, there is a decent amount of evidence that Matthew was a Levite. Yet Matthew does not embrace the Levitical call...instead he becomes a tax collector...why? We cannot say for certain, but we do know that repeatedly Matthew uses the word "hypocrite" in reference to the religious leaders (15x in Matthew...only 1x in Mark; 4x in Luke; 0x in John). Did the hypocrisy of the Religious Leader drive Matthew from the priesthood? Perhaps...a good possibility. 4. And, I see a bit of a parallel between Matthew and John the Baptist. 5. John was born into a priestly family, yet was the antithesis to the Religious Leaders. The Religious Leaders came with pomp/arrogance/pride, fancy clothes...they looked good on the outside...had nice sounding prayers...but they lacked authenticity...especially in their relationship with God... 6. John was just the opposite. Humble in his appearance; he did not eat the choice meats being sacrificed, but ate locust and wild honey; he was not in the upper rooms nor sitting in the choice seats...he was in the desert. 7. I do wonder if John and Matthew observed hypocrisy in the priesthood that drove them away from serving in the priesthood. 8. In this scene here in Matt 3, John is baptizing a lot of people and saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming... 9. There were 4 major sects in Judaism...Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, and Zealots. 10. The Pharisees and Sadducees were often divided, such as when Paul was on trial before the Sanhedrin in Acts 23. 11. Acts 23:6-9 "...when Paul perceived that one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, "Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee; concerning the hope and resurrection of the dead I am being judged!" 7 And when he had said this, a dissension arose between the Pharisees and the Sadducees; and the assembly was divided. 8 For Sadducees say that there is no resurrection-and no angel or spirit; but the Pharisees confess both. 9 Then there arose a loud outcry. And the scribes of the Pharisees' party arose and protested, saying, "We find no evil in this man; but if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him, let us not fight against God." 12. So, in this example we clearly see the Pharisees and Sadducees divided. 13. The Pharisees sided with Paul and I imagine they said about his trial, "It's not fair-u-see." 14. I also imagine the Sadducees were emotionally distraught over the whole affair...they were "Sad-u-see." 15. #dadjokes 16. So, who were these Pharisees and Sadducees who came to John's baptism. 17. Pharisees were pious and legalistic...devoted to the Mosaic law, oral traditions, and they controlled the synagogues. They held to strict separation from Gentiles, Samaritans, tax collectors, and sinners. They looked good externally, but ironically, they were corrupt, hypocritical, self-righteous, and prideful. They numbered about 6,000, and identified with the working class, thus they had the greatest influence over the people, and could influence major decisions because of the support of the masses. 18. Sadducees were the social aristocrats and more accommodating to Roman rule, thus they dominated the number of seats in the Sanhedrin (the Jewish high council... seventy-one members with the High Priest as the chief officer). They were religious skeptics...and as we read earlier they rejected the resurrection, angels and spirits, plus they were anti-traditional, did not believe in an afterlife, and only accepted the first 5 books of the Bible...the Torah...the writings of Moses or the Mosaic Law. 19. After the Romans destroyed Jerusalem in A.D. 70, the Essenes and the Sadducees no longer existed. 953 Zealots (men, women, and children) fled to the mountain fortress by the Dead Sea, Masada until A.D. 73. They were surrounded by Roman Soldiers and chose ceremonial suicide over capture. Truly a horrific and tragic end for the Zealots. 20. Only the Pharisees continued as a sect after A.D. 70, and were responsible for documenting Jewish oral traditions...a work called the Mishnah completed around AD 200. The Mishnah and additional commentaries on the Mishnah, written from AD 200-500 (called the Gemara) form the Talmud...the central text of Judaism. Rabbinical Jews and modern synagogues, to this day, base their religion on the Hebrew Bible (Generally what we call the OT) and the Talmud. And, they have the Talmud thanks to the Pharisees. 21. Getting back to Matthew...in this scene we have the Pharisees and Sadducees coming together, which, now you understand, is an interesting union...despite their history of conflicts with one another, they come out to the Jordan to investigate John the Baptist and the stir he is causing. 22. And, I do think they were there to investigate as opposed to just being curious, or interested personally in getting baptized because in John 1:19-27 they drill John the Baptist with questions...listen to this paraphrase... 23. "Who are you?" ... "I am not the Christ." 24. "What then? Are you Elijah?" ... "I am not." 25. "Are you the Prophet?" ... "No." 26. "Who are you, that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?" ... "I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness..." 27. "Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?" 28. John seems to share equal disregard, as he calls them a "Brood" which denotes "the offspring of." "vipers," - a venomous snake. John call them "Children of venomous snakes." 29. Jesus twice more would echo this phrase , both times captured by Matthew...who likely delighted in these rebukes... 30. Matt 12:34 "Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks." A rebuke after the Pharisees blaspheme the Holy Spirit. 31. Matt 23:33 "Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell?" Another rebuke to the Pharisees and scribes as Jesus condemns them with 7 "woes." 32. What exactly does "Brood of Vipers" imply? Why do John and Jesus refer to the religious leaders as snakes? 33. Likely the religious leader thought of Gen 3:1... "Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field..." 34. The serpent was Satan...and calling the religious leaders a "Brood of Vipers" denotes they display Satanic characteristics. 35. This thought is further confirmed In John 8:44 when Jesus said to the Pharisees, "You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning..." 36. Satan was cunning, deceitful, a liar, a murderer, and sadly throughout Jesus' ministry, the Religious leaders displayed these same qualities...even as observed by their insincere presence at John's baptism. 37. You and I need to be careful never to be caught up in the routine of religion, where we appear religious, but in our hearts and our actions we are acting like a child of the devil. Many people start out sincere in their relationship with the Lord, and fall away as they pursue lusts of the flesh or succumb to cares of the world. 38. John questions these religious leaders, "Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?" 39. John is no fool, and does not trust the motives of the Pharisees and Sadducees. He asks "who warned you" because he knows it wasn't God who guided them into the wilderness, or warned them to flee wrath. 40. Coming to the Jordan river, may have made the Religious leaders appear anxious for the coming Messiah, but they were not sincerely repentant...they were not down in the water, confessing sins...nor did they cry out to God...they were not preparing the way for the King to come into their hearts. Their presence was deceitful and self-serving...satanic qualities. 41. John indicates divine wrath was coming. The religious leaders desired to escape divine wrath, but lacked true repentance...if you light a field on fire, a snake will flee, but it does not want to stop being a snake. The religious leaders were just the same. 42. This is the only time in Matthew's gospel the word "wrath" is mentioned. Wrath is God's divine judgment...it is a settled position God holds toward sin and evil because God is holy...set apart from sin and evil. God is absolutely opposed to everything evil, and this is expressed by His wrath. 43. All of us are guilty of sin, and the only salvation we have from sin is faith in Jesus Christ...as His sacrifice on the cross propitiated or satisfied God's wrath on sin for all who believe. 44. For the religious leaders, and anyone unwilling to repent and believe in Jesus...wrath is coming. John was giving the religious leaders a stern warning, and if you are listening today and you are not saved, I am giving you the same warning..."Repent, and believe in the gospel!" continue to verses 8-10 John continues challenging the Religious leaders in verses 8-10, "Therefore bear fruit worthy of repentance, 9 and do not think to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. 10 And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire." 1. John warns the leaders that wrath is coming, "Therefore bear fruit worthy of repentance..." 2. God will judge all unholiness, so now is the time to bear fruit...to get right with God and repent, not just audibly, but to bear fruit...to display an authentic change in one's life as evidenced by action...to change one's mind about sin...to prepare the heart to believe in Jesus. 3. The religious leaders must have been somewhat perplexed by John's Baptism as this was not a normal practice. 4. What was normal for Jews was ceremonial cleansing and bathing as part of the levitical system... 5. Or a baptism for non-Jews who desired to convert to Judaism...they had to study the Torah, get circumcised, and have a ritual bath to wash away impurities/defilement from their gentile and pagan background. 6. But, John was baptising Jews who were confessing their sins and crying out to God. In contrast, the Religious leaders, display no need to repent...they do not humble themselves, but only observe and question. But, why would they need to repent??? They were the religious leaders and they were descendent of Abraham! 7. John seems to anticipate the objection 'We have Abraham as our father' 8. in other words, "What need have we of repentance? We are righteous Jews...children of Abraham!" 9. So, John takes away the objection of their pedigree before the religious leaders even raise this objection. 10. To say, "I have no need of repentance, because I am a child of Abraham, I am an Israelite, " is like saying "I'm saved because I was raised in a Christian home." Neither national identity nor family heritage saves you. But, people today and the Jews in John's day mistakenly thought their religious family background excluded them from eternal punishment...which is wrong. 11. Only Jesus saves, and every one of us has to have a personal relationship with Him, a personal encounter where we cry out to Him in repentance and ask Him to save us. 12. Jesus told Nicodemus, a Pharisee and a member of the Sanhedrin, "...unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." 13. Don't be like the religious leaders... unwilling and unable to humble themselves to say, "I am a sinner and in need of a Savior." If you are religious, but Christ is not a reality in your life...you are on dangerous ground. 14. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gave this warning, "21 "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' 23 And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'" Matt 7:21-23 15. John continues the warning, "...God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones." 16. John, likely looking down at the stones in the Jordan river or on the riverside...which using surroundings to illustrate a point is a masterful way to teach...Jesus did this often... 17. John makes a point to the Pharisees and Sadducees that God does not need them. Just because they are Israelites and descendents of Abraham, they are in danger of being removed...their national pride was a haughty spirit and would lead to their fall. And, the nation indeed fell in AD 70. 18. God is all powerful (omnipotent) and could raise up stones to follow Him...meaning God can raise up anyone or anything to be His followers...to be His family...even Gentiles because genuine children of Abraham come by faith...not heredity. 19. Gal 3:7-8 tells us "...know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. 8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, "In you all the nations shall be blessed." 20. Presently, we are in the church age, which began at Pentecost and ends at the Rapture, where the followers of Jesus (who are predominately Gentile Christians) are the salt and light in the world. After the rapture of the church, Israel will once again take on this role in the tribulation...proclaiming the name of the Lord to the world. But, presently you and I carry the call to be a voice for the Lord. 21. To further illustrate his warning, John says, verse 10, "And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire." 22. God was about to bring judgment upon the family tree of Abraham...laying the ax to the root of this tree. The ax symbolized destruction in scripture, and this ax was destroying all the way down to the root of the trees...total destruction was impending. 23. The religious leaders were entrusted to bear fruit...to lead people to God and bring glory to God's name. 24. Pr 11:30 "The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, And he who wins souls is wise." The religious leaders were failing in this, and obviously the people were hungry for truth, repentance and relationship with God...droves of people journeyed out to the wilderness to see John the Baptist. 25. Not only would the ax destroy the root...the foundation and nourishment for the tree, but the unfruitful tree would be thrown into the fire. 26. Similar to John, Jesus also was stern in His rebuke. 27. He was stern to the fig tree, which many take as representative of the nation of Israel... 28. Matt 21:19 "...seeing a fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing on it but leaves, and said to it, "Let no fruit grow on you ever again." Immediately the fig tree withered away." 29. Jesus was stern regarding false prophets... 30. "Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. [Quoting John the Baptist] 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them." Matt 7:19-20 31. Jesus is also stern to anyone who would not have faith in Him... 32. Jn 15:5-8 "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. [Do you get that? As a believer you can do nothing without Jesus. A mutual in-dwelling in necessary] 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, [unsaved] he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples." 33. As a person has faith in Jesus, the Holy Spirit in-dwells them. The person who does not have faith in Christ does not abide in Him, and that person will be cast out and burned. 34. When you profess belief in Christ, you bear fruit, both in salvation and sanctification...as you exhibit the fruits of the spirit, and serve as a witness for Christ. 35. Abide in the vine. You are a Christian...abide or stay in your position in Christ to bear much fruit. Your daily walk with Him in fellowship, in prayer, in the reading of His word, and obeying His leading in your life...all of these spiritual acts will bear the fruit of you having a Christ-like character, and being effective in reaching the lost. 36. The religious leaders of John's day lost their way. They became corrupt and caught up in religion...they did not abide in God, but only had a religious routine...they were fruitless and in danger. continue to vss 11-12 Matt 3:11-12 "I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire." 1. John now speaks about 3 Baptisms. 2. The first baptism is John's Baptism. 3. John is the baptizer, the element is water, and the issue is repentance. 4. This baptism is a baptism of heart preparation by confessing to God about sin. Confession homologeō means to speak the same, to agree... 5. As one repents (has a change of mind and a change of action), and confesses (agrees with God that sin is wrong)...they have prepared the way of the Lord in their hearts... 6. In between verses 10 and 11 of Matthew 3, Luke gives us details of people at John's baptism seeking how to be right with God... 7. Luke 3:10-14 "So the people asked him, saying, "What shall we do then?" 11 He answered and said to them, "He who has two tunics, let him give to him who has none; and he who has food, let him do likewise." 12 Then tax collectors also came to be baptized, and said to him, "Teacher, what shall we do?" 13 And he said to them, "Collect no more than what is appointed for you." 14 Likewise the soldiers asked him, saying, "And what shall we do?" So he said to them, "Do not intimidate anyone or accuse falsely, and be content with your wages." 8. People were hungry to get right with God. And, John's baptism was one of heart preparation and pointing people to Jesus for salvation. 9. And, there are people out there today with this same hunger, and we need to point them to Jesus. 10. In verse 11 of Matt 3, John also humbly speaks about the coming Messiah who is mightier than John...John said he was not worthy to carry His sandals...a role of the most menial slave. 11. John was incredibly humble. John would later point his own disciples to Jesus, essentially telling them to leave him and follow Jesus. And, In John 3, when other disciples seemed concerned that many people were going to Jesus instead of John, John replied, "He must increase, but I must decrease." 12. John's humble heart and desire for Jesus to be magnified is a great example of how we should live our lives. 13. The second baptism, in verse 11, is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. 14. Jesus is the baptizer, the element is water, and the issue is miraculous power. 15. In Acts 1:8 Jesus said, "But you shall receive power [dunamis- miraculous power] when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." 16. There are 3 experiences with the Holy Spirit that can be identified in scripture by the prepositions "with," "in," and "upon" or in Greek "para," "en," and "epi." 17. The Holy Spirit is with unbelievers, doing His work of regeneration to draw them to Jesus. 18. When a person has faith in Jesus, the Holy Spirit in-dwells them. They are now saved and sealed by the Holy Spirit. They become the temple of God, and if they engage in acts of the flesh they grieve the Holy Spirit who will convict them of sin, and sanctify them to be more like Christ. 19. The 3rd experience is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, where the Holy Spirit comes upon a person to empower them for ministry. It's an overflowing of the Holy Spirit for the purposes of ministry...to be witnesses to Jesus. 20. If you think of the Holy Spirit as pitcher of water and you as a vessel...let's say a drinking glass. When unsaved, your glass is empty, and the pitcher of water is next to you. When you have faith in Jesus, the pitcher fills your glass with water. The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is like the pitcher just pouring and overflowing your glass where now that water flows out of you to impact others. 21. A good example of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is Acts 19:1-6 22. "...Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples 2 he said to them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" [note: they are already saved...they believed...they were disciples]. So they said to him, "We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit." 3 And he said to them, "Into what then were you baptized?" So they said, "Into John's baptism." 4 Then Paul said, "John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus." 5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied." [evidence or a sign of the upon experience] 23. It's important to note that the Baptism of Holy Spirit does not have a set pattern. 24. In Acts 10:44, the Holy Spirit was poured out on the Gentiles prior to baptism. 25. In Acts 19:6, we just read the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples during their baptism and when Paul laid hands on them. 26. In Acts 8:17, the Samaritans received the Holy Spirit after baptism when the apostles laid hands on them. 27. So, don't think there is a formula for how the Holy Spirit will come upon a person. I prayed with my Pastor for the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, and 6 months later the Holy Spirit came upon me when I got baptized for the 2nd time. My Pastor was baptizing my kids and explained the purpose of the ordinance of baptism, and the Holy Spirit spoke to me, "You need to put to death the old man, and you need to get baptized again!" 28. John tells the people at his baptism that Messiah is coming and He will baptize with the Holy Spirit....and fire...which is separate. And, not to be confused with Acts 2 at Pentecost when the 120 disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit and "...there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire..." 29. It was "as of" fire. Some people confuse this and say in Matt 3:11 the John is speaking about the "Holy Spirit Fire!" No. It's different. 30. The Baptism of the Holy Spirit speaks of blessing and the Baptism of Fire speaks of judgment (you don't want the Baptism of Fire...it's a baptism reserved for unbelievers and it's punitive). 31. Some people don't like that... "I don't like punishment"... "I reject that a loving God will send people to hell." 32. Well, if there is not judgment...if there is no hell...than what is the purpose of the Gospel? Why did Jesus need to die for and pay the price for our sins? 33. With that in mind, the third baptism is the Baptism of Fire. 34. Jesus is the baptizer, the element is fire, and the issue is judgement. 35. Some scholars believe the Baptism of Fire speaks about purifying believers. I do not because of the context. Verse 12 speaks about the winnowing fan which is used to separate the wheat from the chaff. Wheat symbolizes the good...believers; and chaff the wicked...unbelievers (Ps 1:4, Isa 17:13, Hos 13:3, etc). 36. Fire symbolized judgement in scripture culminating at the Great White Throne Judgment (Rev 20:15) "And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the Lake of fire." 37. John says Messiah will "gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire." He speaks of separation here of believers and unbelievers. 38. He is warning the religious leader of what will happen when Messiah is revealed. Some will accept Him and will be Baptized with the Holy Spirit. Other will reject Him, and will be Baptized with Fire. continue to verse 13 Matt 3:13 "Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him." 1. From vss 13 to 17, we now specifically see Jesus being baptized and being revealed as Messiah, and being anointed as King. 2. We need to move quickly through these next verses, so buckle up... 3. In verse 13, we see the geography of where Jesus was baptized. 4. Verse 13 tell us "Jesus came from Galilee"...potentially from Nazareth, as Nazareth was a city in the Galilee Region...just as Warsaw is a city in Kosciusko County. 5. John 1:28, tells us specifically where John was baptizing. John 1:28 "These things were done in Bethabara beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing." 6. In other Bible translations, "Bethabara beyond the Jordan" is translated "Bethany beyond the Jordan." 7. Now, there was more than one city named Bethany. In the region of Judea, just a couple miles East of Jerusalem there is a town called Bethany where Mary, Martha, and Lazarus were from. 8. But Bethabara or Bethany beyond the Jordan, was North of Judea...just South of the Sea of Galilee in the Decapolis Region, and bordering the Region of Galilee. This is where John was Baptizing...and where Jesus met John to be baptized. 9. We saw in verse 5 of Matthew 3 people were traveling from "Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan" to be confess their sins and be baptized by John. 10. Jerusalem to Bethabara is about 89 miles...a 30 hour walk. Can you imagine people taking that trek today? What a beautiful revival picture! continue to verses 14-15 Matt 3:14-15 "And John tried to prevent Him, saying, "I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?" 15 But Jesus answered and said to him, "Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." Then he allowed Him." 1. This is an interesting scene...Jesus and John were relatives, though likely not very close as Lk 1:80 tells us about John "...the child grew and became strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his manifestation to Israel." 2. But, it does appear that John recognizes the holy quality of Jesus, thus he objects to baptising Jesus. 3. Up to this point John only knows Jesus the man...He does not yet know that Jesus is the Messiah. 4. John 1:31-34 "I did not know Him; but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water. 32 And John bore witness, saying, "I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him. 33 I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, 'Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.' 34 And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God." 5. Whatever the exact situation in verse 14, Jesus responds in verse 15, "Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." 6. It's important to note that Jesus was not baptized to repent of personal sin...He was sinless... 7. 2 Cor 5:21 He "...knew no sin..." 8. Heb 4:15 He "...was in all points tempted as we are, 'yet without sin." 9. 1 John 3:5 "...in Him there is no sin." 10. Jesus had nothing to repent of. 11. But, It was fitting for John to baptize Jesus to fulfill all righteousness...for several reasons: 12. In His baptism Jesus identified with sinners. We see his identification with us sinners at His baptism, and ultimately on the cross as "...He was numbered with the transgressors, And He bore the sin of many..." Isa 53:12 13. His baptism would foreshadow His redemptive work for mankind. His immersion in water and emergence from the water would symbolize His death, burial, and resurrection which would satisfy (or propitiate) God's wrath on sin with Jesus' perfect sinless sacrifice. 14. Jesus' baptism was also righteous as it affirmed John's ministry as the forerunner to the Christ. John was the messenger to announce the King. 15. It was also righteous for this public declaration of baptism to be performed before the King began His ministry. 16. Lastly, it is also righteous as we will observe the Triune God revealed. The Holy Spirit anoints the King, and the Father validates the King. This account is in eternal scripture for all future generations to recognize the righteousness of God. Finish in verses 16-17 Matt 3:16-17 "When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. 17 And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." 1. In these final marvelous verses of Chapter 3, we observe a few things: 2. First, "Jesus came up immediately from the water..." By definition, baptism is a dipping or sinking, to immerse or submerge. Jesus came up out of the water, and this is why we ascribe to full immersion water baptism verses a sprinkling of water. 3. Second, "...the heavens were opened to Him..." Jesus is validated by the Highest authority. It's very interesting the heaven is opened here, because next week in Chapter 4, Satan comes on the scene to tempt Him. What a contrast! 4. Third, "...the Spirit of God descended like a dove and alighting upon Him." 5. The Holy Spirit descends and alights or settles/rests upon Him, which confirms to John that Jesus is Messiah/ the King. 6. And, this fulfills Isa 11:2 "The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him..." 7. Notice, the Holy Spirit is UPON Jesus...Jesus is now Baptized with the Holy Spirit...empowered for His ministry which would shortly begin. 8. In the OT, things in the temple and the priests would be anointed with Holy anointing oil (Ex 30:25-33). The oil was a type of the Holy Spirit. Kings, were also anointed with oil, and in certain cases, like David, the Spirit of the Lord came upon him. 9. Here, Jesus is also anointed as King, not with oil...a representation of the Holy Spirit, but actually with the Holy Spirit. 10. Fourth, we see Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and the Father (the voice from heaven in verse 17) all represented here. 11. The word "trinity" is not in the Bible, but it the Doctrine of the Trinity is derived from verses like this. The Trinity is one God existing in three persons...The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit... all are distinct, eternal, co-equal, infinite Persons. This is an amazing mystery that is beyond our comprehension...which is good, because we are just flawed humans. If an eternal God could be fully comprehended by our limited understanding, what kind of God would He be? 12. Lastly, the Father announces from Heaven, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." 13. Jesus was loved by and was pleasing to the Father. The Father was content with His Son. 14. Jesus had been living an average life, as a carpenter, caring for His mother and His siblings. He had not yet healed anyone nor performed any miracles. He had not yet preached or taught the word of God. Jesus had not even begun His ministry. 15. But, as Jesus is getting baptized and beginning His ministry, the Father affirms Him and in the Father's proclamation, He identifies Jesus with the Messiah (Ps 2:7) and the Suffering Servant (Isa 42:1). 16. The Father will again affirm Jesus with similar words in Matt 17:5, at the transfiguration, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!" 17. You do not need to be a Billy Graham, or a Chuck Smith to be pleasing to God. 18. Hear Him! Abide in Him, commune with Him, be obedient to His leadings. Don't fall into the traps of the world and the flesh...the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. 19. God is well pleased with all His children who remain in relationship with Him. Today, we have seen quite the contrast between the Religious Leaders, who only had religion, but lacked authentic relationship. They were in danger of God's wrath because they were not truly saved...they had a fruitless relationship with God, despite all their religious works. And, we see Jesus who, after age 2, lived a relatively obscure life, but He was pleasing to God. And, I have to think the key contrast between Jesus and the Religious Leaders was abiding...it was relationship with the Father. We are called to be fruit bearers for the Kingdom. This happens in salvation, and continues the rest of our lives, especially as we abide in...are nourished by God and His word. This week, abide in the vine...bear much fruit. Let's pray!