Monday, May 20, 2013

Monday, May 20 - by Pamela

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is 2 Samuel 9-10, Psalm 100, Acts 11
Today's scripture focus is Luke 3:21-22

Luke 3:21-22

English Standard Version (ESV)
21 Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened, 22 and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”

One of the things that stood out for me...probably because of the years of felt board bible lessons or Sunday School pictures or even Children's picture bibles is that Jesus was not baptized alone. He was not alone in the River with John and was not the only one that wanted to be baptized. Huh...interesting how images can stick in your mind.

I like what John MacArthur adds to this and how he explains why people were coming to be baptized:

"When all the people were baptized, Jesus also was baptized..." That just means the crowds. Go back to verse 7, "There were multitudes coming out to be baptized." In fact, Matthew tells us that all Jerusalem and Judea and all the region around the Jordan, Matthew 3:5 I think it is, were coming out to be baptized by him. John was very popular, large crowds were coming day after day after day after day to be baptized by John. John's baptism was the baptism for repentance. They...the people were told that they could get ready for the Messiah, the Messiah was coming. He was the voice of one crying in the wilderness, fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah. He was the one coming in the spirit and the power of Elijah, fulfilling the prophecy of Malachi. He was the one announcing the arrival of the Messiah. And if you wanted to be ready for Messiah's arrival, you had to confess your sin, repent of your sin and go through a baptism that outwardly symbolized the recognition that you needed to be cleansed, that you needed to be washed. And so "all" refers to all who were baptized.
Not everybody was. Not everybody in the nation was baptized. Not everybody who came to John was baptized. In Luke chapter 7 verse 30 it says, "Pharisees and lawyers rejected God's purpose for them, not having been baptized by John." There were people who weren't baptized, so the "all" doesn't mean the whole nation, it may not even mean everybody who came down to the Jordan to listen. But there were many being baptized and at the time when all who were being baptized were being baptized, Jesus also was baptized. At the peak of John's ministry is the idea, when all the crowds were there so that the baptism of Jesus, listen, is a very public event. I read one commentator who said it was after the baptism of the crowds that Jesus came and had a private baptism. Not the case and that is explicitly indicated in Luke 3:21. It was at the time when everybody was being baptized that Jesus also was baptized.

Jesus was ALSO baptized. Also. It wasn't a single act that occurred in isolation and it was a public event and something that others were doing as well. In fact, Jesus was practically ordinary as he arrived that ordinary that John didn't even recognize Him.

MacArthur Says:

Now when Jesus comes from Nazareth to Galilee to be baptized at the age of about thirty, He comes from obscurity. He has lived for thirty years in real obscurity. Obscurity as far as the people of Israel knew, He had no ministry, He had no public persona, He had no public profile. In fact, He was utterly unknown to the people of His own town Nazareth. In fact, when He announced Himself to be the Messiah there, they sought to kill Him. There was nothing about Him that would indicate He was God in human flesh, nothing about Him as you might be surprised to hear, in spite of the Medieval paintings. He didn't have a halo around His head and He didn't wear some special heavenly garb. There was no emanating light coming from Him. He was living in obscurity for thirty years, working in the obscure town of Nazareth as a part of His father's business as a carpenter. But it is time now for Him to begin His ministry, time for Him to start His life work and fulfill His divine commission....

It is conceivable that the children, John being about six months older, at least, than Jesus may have gotten together at some time in their childhood. But through their adult life, they lived in two different places. Jesus lived in the town of Nazareth which is on the northern edge of the area of Israel, or Palestine, up in the north part of the Galilee. And John the Baptist lived in the south and the east part, down east of Jerusalem, down into the wilderness of Judea. And according to chapter 1 and the end of the chapter, he lived there for his entire life, living in the deserts until he launched his ministry about six months before Jesus showed up. So they were in two different places."

So, a seemingly ordinary guy...comes to be baptized by John...along with many the Jordan River. Yet, this was no ordinary man and this was no ordinary baptism. In fact, this is a significant piece of scripture because it perfectly illustrates the oneness of the trinity.

In [these] two verses we have the trinity. We have the Son being baptized. We have the Holy Spirit descending. And we have the Father speaking out of heaven. All three are present. Here is one of the great trinitarian texts of the New Testament. There is the Father's presence, the Spirit's presence and the Son's presence, and here is the key word, simultaneously. And that is very important because there is a heresy that's been around for a long, long time. It's ancient name is "Sabalianism(?)." It's...another name that was was used to refer to it in the "Modelism(?)". It is the idea, it is the heresy that God is one God who sometimes appears as the Father, sometimes appears as the Son, and sometimes appears as the Spirit...that He has different modes. But He is not three in one simultaneously. He is not eternally three persons. He is eternally one person who puts on different masks at different times.

So, it turns out this was not an ordinary baptism like the many John would have done before, this time it was different. This was the Messiah...the one John was here to prepare the way for...the one who would save all human kind. This was different. This was not a baptism for repenting of sin. It was a different kind of submission:

And then God said, "The One I send My Spirit on, He's the Messiah, that's how you'll recognize Him, You'll know that." And, of course, Jesus had already revealed Himself to John and they were having the dialogue and heaven was about to confirm it, as God had said. But the point I want you to see is that John had been sent by God to baptize in water. That's very important. God wanted people baptized by John, that was a command, God sent John to baptize people in water. That's what righteous people were to do, okay? That's what God asked of righteous people. You understand that. So Jesus wanted it done to Him, listen carefully, because Jesus needed to fulfill all righteousness. What that's simply saying is that whatever God required, Jesus did because Jesus would live a life of perfect righteousness. There would be no sins of commission, He would never do what He shouldn't have done, and there would be no sins of omission, He would never fail to do what righteous people did.
This is easy to understand. Did Jesus go to the Passover? Did He? Many times. Did He take of the Passover meal? Many times. Well, did He to participate in a meal that commemorated God's deliverance of His people from Egypt and that looked forward to the expiation of sin by the final lamb that would come? Did Jesus have to partake of a Passover meal as testimony to His need to be delivered from sin? No, but righteous people kept the Passover because God instituted it.

God. instituted. it.

Jesus did what God asked of Him. He was in constant communication with God--even while being baptized. Jesus was always righteous and always obedient to God's instructions. Jesus is righteous. Righteousness is what allows Jesus to be our Saviour. Righteousness is what grants Jesus the ability to pay our debt. Righteousness allows us to switch places with Jesus.

On the cross God treated Jesus as if He lived your life. Turns right around and treats you as if you lived His. That is the amazing reality of the imputation of righteousness. Jesus needed to live a perfect life so that perfect life could be credited to your account. He couldn't just come down on Friday, die on Friday, rise on Sunday and go back. There would have been no righteous life. There would have been no righteous childhood, no righteous teen-aged years, no righteous adulthood, no righteous life in which Jesus never did anything wrong and always did everything that God required. That perfect life is what is credited to your account. That's the righteousness of God in Christ credited to you. It's the righteousness of God lived out in the life of Christ and now put to your account so that when God looks at your name in the book and it says "John MacArthur," under it it says "Lived a perfect life."
You say, "Really." Yes, that's right. What happened to his sin? It was placed on Jesus Christ and He was treated by God as if He had committed it all. So on the cross God treats Jesus as if He lived your life, turns right around and treats you as if you lived His. He needed to live a perfect life to be credited to your account. That's the righteousness of God. That's a righteousness Paul talks about in Philippians chapter 3, he says, "A righteousness not of my own, but which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God." God...according to the words of Isaiah...clothes you in righteousness, the righteousness of Christ.

Wow. We have lived a perfect life. Not on our own, but through our redemption through the righteousness of Jesus. His obedience bought our salvation. It was not our works, not our words, not anything we did but it was because of what Jesus did for us. Through Him we are saved.

Tomorrow's scripture focus: Luke 3:23-28
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage: 2 Samuel 11-12, Psalm 101, Acts 12

1 comment:

TammyIsBlessed said...

Such incredible truths here.

Jesus had to live a perfect life fulfilling all righteousness - circumcision, Passover, baptism, etc. Normally all of those rituals were to remind people of their own sin and utter incapability to save themselves, and to point to Christ, who is the fulfillment of the entire Old Testament.

It is so amazing to me that Christ's perfect life, Christ's righteousness is credited to our account. He took our sin and gave us His righteousness - amazing!