Immersed In His HumanitySeries: Christology
IMMERSED IN HIS HUMANITY
Sermon By Terry Siverd /September 11, 2022 / Cortland Church of Christ - - www.cortlandcoc.org
We are currently engaged in an extended sermon series by which we have been addressing the general topic
of Christology which entails a study of Christ Jesus Christ as One who was both fully Divine and fully human.
In this morning's sermon we want to re-examine or re-think our understanding of THE BAPTISM OF JESUS. In saying that we want to re-examine and/or re-think this subject, I don't mean to imply that we have previously held a faulty view.
From the outset I want to suggest that the preferred understanding of the baptism of Jesus is rooted in His humanity.
I am insinuating here that while our previous and perhaps current view of the baptism of Jesus may not be faulty per se, it may be lacking in breadth and depth which prevents one from properly connecting it to the full humanity of Jesus.
It is true that all of the accounts of the baptism of Jesus close with a postscript that emphasizes His deity.
Immediately after His baptism, the heavens opened and the Spirit of God descended like a dove and came upon Jesus, declaring: This is MY BELOVED SON, in whom I am well-pleased. cf. Mt.3:16-17; Mk.1:1-11; Lk3:21-22 and Jn.1:19f.
What we can note from the start of this study is that the baptism of Jesus was a very clear affirmation of His Divinity.
In words unmistakable, the God of heaven pronounces that Jesus is GOD'S BELOVED SON - - i.e., God incarnate.
Our contention in this sermon is two-fold.
The baptism of Jesus testifies to both the full deity of Jesus Christ and the full humanity of Christ Jesus.
Who among us has not “wondered” (quietly and/or out loud) about the baptism of Jesus?
Because Jesus' baptism is a Scriptural testimony concerning Jesus' full divinity, we cannot help but ask,
“If Jesus was indeed fully God but not also fully human, why did He need to be baptized?”
Since the teachings found in the NT book of Acts depict baptism into Christ Jesus as being for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38) or to wash away your sins (Acts 22:16), we are not inappropriate to ask, Why did Jesus need to be baptized?.
The New Testament repeatedly asserts that Jesus was without sin (Heb.4:15). cf. 12Corl.5:21; 1Pet.2:22 and 1Jn.3:5.
Although John's baptism pre-dated the Lord's crucifixion, it's aim anticipated redemption nonetheless. Mk.1:4 states - -
John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
In pointing to Jesus, John the baptizer refers to Him as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (Jn.1:29) .
Later on the apostle Peter would elaborate on this sacrificial figure describing this Lamb in more detail (1Pet.1:18-19) - -
you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a LAMB UNBLEMISHED AND SPOTLESS, THE BLOOD OF CHRIST.
In the book of Revelation the apostle John describes the followers of Jesus as ones who had endured the turbulent
times that accompanied and characterized the nation of Israel's latter days (Rev.7:14) - - these are the ones who
come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
In Acts 20:28, the text records the apostle Paul directing the elders of the church at Ephesus to
shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.
It might help to clarify at this juncture that Jesus CHOSE to be baptized.
Why would Jesus (Lamb of God) come to John to undergo a baptism of repentance that was for the forgiveness of sin?
Being sinless as He was, Jesus needed neither repentance nor baptism because in Him there is no sin (1Jn.3:5).
So why did Jesus choose to be baptized?
The best way to answer this question is to examine the Scriptures - - in particular to turn to the four gospels.
John's gospel notes the following (Jn.1:31) - - John the Baptizer states:
I did not recognize Him, but in order that He might be manifested to Israel, I came baptizing in water. And John
bore witness saying, 'I have beheld the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven, and He remained upon Him.
Jesus baptism by John made it crystal clear that Jesus was Israel's Messiah, endorsed by God the Father!
Mark's gospel states (Mk.1:9) - -
And it came about in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee, and was baptized by John in the Jordan.
When the Spirit descend on Jesus it revealed that this Jesus (from Nazareth in Galilee) was indeed the anointed One.
This nullifies disputes that would arise later criticizing Jesus' origin (cf. Jn.1:46 and Mt.21:11 with Jn.7:52).
Matthew's gospel includes Jesus' own interpretation of the reason for His baptism.
Although John balked at the idea of baptizing Jesus (Mt.3:13-14), Jesus responded to John saying (Mt.3:15) - -
Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.
This statement is a likely reference to Isa.53:11-12 - - By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant,
will justify the many, and He will bear their iniquities...And (He) was numbered with the transgressors.
The act of John baptizing Jesus (note, it is fitting for US to fulfill all righteousness), was part of God's redemptive plan.
Here again we recollect the words of Heb.2:17 - -
(Jesus) had to become like His brethren in all things (in order) that He might become a merciful
and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.
Jesus' words, to fulfill all righteousness, not only dovetail with Heb.2:17, but also with 2Cor.5:21 - -
(God) made (Jesus) who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
Finally, we turn to Luke's gospel, which makes a statement that might be easily overlooked.
With rather ordinary words Luke's record confirms that Jesus' baptism served TO IDENTIFY JESUS WITH HUMANITY. Lk.3:21 records - - Now it came about when all the people were baptized, that Jesus also was baptized...
To summarize, when the question arises as to why Jesus chose to be baptized, we can rightfully
acknowledge that it was NOT because he needed to repent and obtain forgiveness for sin.
While the baptism of Jesus was a real and actual incident, it was also laden with theological truths.
This morning we have enumerated some sub-points about the baptism of Jesus that are often
overlooked and seldom addressed but truths that are highly significant and vitally important.
Jesus' baptism confirmed that Jesus was indeed Israel's Messiah (the voice of God revealed such).
Jesus' baptism also revealed that something really significant came out of Nazareth in Galilee.
Jesus' baptism was a joint effort by John and Jesus to fulfill God's plan to offer righteousness to all mankind.
Last but not least, Jesus' baptism served to underscore His humanity - - Jesus was immersed in His humanity.
The baptism of Jesus also serves to show us the way.
Throughout His incarnation Jesus was laser-focused on OBEDIENCE - - obeying the will of God.
Jesus commanded the twelve apostles to go and preach the gospel, compelling others:
he who believes and is baptized shall be saved (Mk.16:16).
If you have not been baptized, you need to ask yourself, “Why not?”.
Jesus was immersed in His humanity which included a life that always yielded to the will of God.
When a child wants to be baptized we often ask them questions to make sure that they fully understand.
When an adult refuses to be baptized because they don't understand why they need to be,
our response to them should include an exhortation to obey with faith, because God said to do it!