INTRO: There are not doubt critical events which punctuate the life of Jesus Christ. During the early years, there was the flight of Jesus and His family into Egypt. Then, there was the visit to Jerusalem and the temple when He was twelve years of age. After John the Baptist's ministry began, there came another of those critical events ... the baptism of Jesus. Already multitudes of people had been going out of the cities to the place where John was preaching and baptizing. Even the Pharisees and Sadducees went out to hear John ... and heard him speak in uncompromising terms of God's judgment upon their contrived religion. Then, there came that day when Jesus appeared to baptized of John.
I. THE RELATIONSHIP OF JOHN AND JESUS
A. Begin with Elizabeth and Mary ... the mothers
1. Lk 1:36 - cousins - Elizabeth was "6 months" when became pregnant
2. Lk 1:39-44 - "...the babe leaped in her womb..."
3. notice that Elizabeth said of Mary, "...the mother of my Lord..."
4. how much did the two women understand? (Lk 2:48-52)
B. Then, of John and Jesus?
1. although cousins, did John know "always" about Jesus? His Deity?
2. John certainly knew he was the preparer of the way and that the Messiah would follow him - Mk 1:7
3. John and Jesus were very different in manner - Lk 7:33,34
4. John, because of his likeness to Elijah, certainly arrested attention!
C. Mark reminds us that "Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee"
1. Jesus apparently lived most of his life in the town of Nazareth
2. people there knew him as "the carpenter" (Mk 6:3)
3. Nazareth was not an important town - unsophisticated, etc.
4. Jno 1:45,46 - this was its reputation
II. BUT JOHN DID RECOGNIZE A SIGNIFICANCE ABOUT JESUS
A. Mt 3:13,14 - "I have need to be baptized of thee..."
1. remember, Elizabeth had referred to unborn Jesus as "my Lord"
2. could John be remembering something his mother had told him?
3. whatever, at this point John is seeing Jesus as his "superior"
B. From this time forward John will attest to the Messiahship of Jesus
1. Jno 1:29,30,35,36 - "Behold the Lamb of God..."
2. Jno 5:32,32 - "...he bare witness unto the truth"
3. John apparently never sought any glory, attention for himself ... what an amazing trait in such an important, significant person ... true humility
III. WHY WAS JESUS BAPTIZED?
A. John's baptism necessitated repentance
1. Mk 1:4 - "...of repentance for the remission of sins"
2. it was evident, of course, that the Son of God had no sins to confess
3. is there more to this, then, than the problem of sin?
B. Mt 3:15 - "...it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness"
1. notice Lk 7:29,30 - rejecting baptism was rejecting the counsel of God
2. keep in mind, too, Ps 119:172 - "for all thy commandments are..."
3. had Jesus not been baptized, He would have sinned - righteousness necessitated His being baptized
IV. THE HEAVENLY TESTIMONY TO THE SONSHIP OF JESUS
A. Mk 1:10,11 - The unmistakable testimony!
1. Mark's gospel began with "Jesus Christ, the Son of God..."
2. his recording of this amazing testimony gives credibility to his assertion
3. notice "Thou art my beloved Son..." - Markand Luke note the very person nature of these words ... to Jesus!
4. fulfilling all righteousness, he is well pleasing to the Father
B. The power of the testimony?
1. I have no idea how many people may have seen and heard
2. but John the Baptist saw and heard ... and could give assurance that Jesus was indeed the Son of God
3. Jno 1:32-34 - perhaps the most credible eye witness of that time!
4. and he was not timid about sharing that testimony and his belief that Jesus was indeed the Son of God
CLOSE: The baptism of Jesus marked the beginning of His public life and ministry. From the time the work of John the Baptist and the preaching of Jesus overlap somewhat. But John's ministry will begin to diminish as the Son of God engages in His great, redemptive work.
Cecil A. Hutson
12 February 2006
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)