I’ve often been intimidated while leading worship. When someone, whom I know to be a great musician or great worship leader is in the congregation, it’s hard for me to not to try to live up to their expectations. I’m sure the same is true for many of you. Whatever work you perform, if you find yourself doing it in front of someone you know to be great, you’re likely to step up your game a little bit.
I can’t imagine just how John the Baptist would have felt, Baptizing Jesus. For that matter, I can’t imagine how any of the people would have felt who actually knew that Jesus was the Messiah. Mary, Joseph, John, Peter. But, John the baptizer had the special privilege of baptizing Jesus. Can you imagine that? The guy who created the whole concept of baptism was going to be wading into your water to be baptized by you.
I also imagine the others who were there to witness Jesus’ baptism would be a little miffed when the clouds didn’t part for them like they did for Jesus.
All that aside, this was a significant event. It was the culmination of thousands of years of prophecy. It was the beginning of the end of the old covenant. This baptism was kind of like being knighted or ordained. Or like, cutting the ribbon at a grand opening, except the ribbon was the sky. It gave validity to what John the baptist was doing, but it also launched the ministry of Jesus in a big way.
For those who were there, hearing a voice from heaven and seeing a dove descend on Jesus would be something they would never forget. There were witnesses to the triune God beginning the world of the new covenant. It was historical.
Some also see Jesus baptism as bringing Jesus into the Melchizedek priesthood to be the great high priest for all. While the priest of the Old Testament would be washed with water and then sacrifice animals, Jesus would be baptized and then offer himself as a sacrifice for all our sins. Once, for all mankind.
The amazing thing is that Jesus also made the way for us to become a part of this royal priesthood:
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own, so that you may proclaim the virtues of the one who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. You once were not a people, but now you are God’s people. You were shown no mercy, but now you have received mercy.” (1 Pet. 2:9-10)
Matthew 3:13-17 (NET)
The Baptism of Jesus
13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to John to be baptized by him in the Jordan River. 14 But John tried to prevent him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and yet you come to me?” 15 So Jesus replied to him, “Let it happen now, for it is right for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John yielded to him. 16 After Jesus was baptized, just as he was coming up out of the water, the heavens opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my one dear Son; in him I take great delight.”
Luke 3:21-23 (NET)
The Baptism of Jesus
21 Now when all the people were baptized, Jesus also was baptized. And while he was praying, the heavens opened, 22 and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my one dear Son; in you I take great delight.”
The Genealogy of Jesus
23 So Jesus, when he began his ministry, was about thirty years old. He was the son (as was supposed) of Joseph, the son of Heli…
John 1:32-34 (NET)
32 Then John testified, “I saw the Spirit descending like a dove from heaven, and it remained on him. 33 And I did not recognize him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘The one on whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining—this is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 I have both seen and testified that this man is the Chosen One of God.”
Since we have been shown mercy, been made Christ’s people and royal priesthood, let’s seek to:
…keep away from fleshly desires that do battle against the soul, and maintain good conduct among the non-Christians, so that though they now malign you as wrongdoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God when he appears.
Seek God’s help in being a good witness to those whom God has placed in your world, so that they may see your good deeds and glorify God. Repent of anything that may keep them from seeing Christ in you. Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.