Notes: July 18, 2009

“Would you baptize Jesus?”

No, you aren’t likely to be asked that question any time soon; but, hypothetically, what would your response be if Jesus, Himself, asked?

In today’s reading we look at three gospel accounts of the baptism of Jesus. Be sure to read all three in order to get the complete picture of what happened in the wilderness of Judea that day.

Mark 1:7-11

When the people wondered aloud whether John was the Messiah (Luke 3:15), John quickly denied the possibility and declared that the One to come was much greater (v. 7).

So great was the Messiah, that John considered himself unworthy to untie (v. 7) or carry (Matthew 3:11 the Savior’s sandals.

Moreover, John could only baptize his listeners with water; whereas the Messiah would baptize them with the Holy Spirit (v. 8) and fire (Matthew 3:11; Luke 3:16).

Matthew 3:11-17

The Savior, like a lumberjack, would chop down bad trees (v. 10); and like a harvester He would separate good grain and burn the rest with unquenchable fire (v. 12, Luke 3:17).

When Jesus presented Himself before his cousin John to be baptized, John tried to prevent Him (v. 13-14), suggesting that Jesus should be the one to baptize John.

Jesus replied that it was right for John to baptize Jesus, that the act would fulfill all righteousness (v. 15); so John baptized Jesus.

Luke 3:15-23

Immediately after Jesus came up out of the water of the Jordan River (Mark 1:9, Matthew 3:13), Jesus prayed (Luke 3:21), the heavens opened, and the Spirit of God descended on Him like a dove (v. 22). Do NOT draw a picture of a bird sitting over a man standing in water lest you be found to be an idolater.

From the opened skies came a voice (Luke 3:22; Mark 1:11; Matthew 33:17). Did this voice speak once or twice? Once to Jesus, and a second time to the crowd?

Jesus was about 30 years of age when these things which began his ministry took place (v. 23). Remember the age requirement of Old Testament priests (Numbers 4:3, 35-43).