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Discussion in 'Baptist History' started by Alan Gross, Nov 7, 2020.

  1. Alan Gross

    Alan Gross Well-Known Member

    Oct 16, 2018
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    By Ron Crisp, 2012

    8.0.0 iii: THE BAPTISM OF JESUS

    Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.

    But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?

    And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now:
    for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness.

    Then he suffered him.

    And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

    (Matthew 3:13-17)

    The baptism of our Lord is strangely neglected in evangelical circles. Even the man who baptized Christ is neglected. The prophet Elijah is a favorite subject for a series of biographical sermons. But John the Baptist, the New Testament Elijah, is almost never the topic of such a series.

    Sadly we must confess that the word "strange" does not fully describe the situation. The word "tragic" truly applies. Even a little study reveals that God has given a surprising emphasis to the ministry of John the Baptist and the baptism of Jesus. Surely our generation has missed something of great importance. God has shouted, but we have not heard. What the Almighty has punctuated with exclamation marks, we have relegated to a footnote. Is it not time to return to Jordan for another look?


    Our first task is to prove our assertion that God gives great emphasis to the baptism of his Son. This should secure the attention of reverent Bible students. We must all agree that where God gives emphasis, we should give attention.

    A. Repetition in the Scriptures is a means of emphasis, and this method of emphasis is plainly used in the accounts of the baptism of Jesus and the circumstances surrounding it.

    1. The baptism of Christ is described in all three synoptic gospels. The ministry of John the Baptist is recorded in all four gospels. By way of contrast, the very birth of Christ is recorded in only two gospels. Likewise, the model prayer and the Sermon on the Mount are recorded in only two gospels.

    Consider how many important events in the life of Christ and many of his memorable words are found in only one gospel. For example:

    - The coming of the wise men.
    - The infant Jesus recognized as the Messiah by Simeon and Anna.
    - Our Lord's activity and words at the temple when he was twelve.
    - Christ's first miracle.
    - Christ's conversations with Nicodemus and the woman at the well.
    - Parables like the Prodigal Son and the Good Samaritan.

    When we consider how much attention all these items receive in evangelical pulpits in contrast with the baptism of Christ, surely we must admit that our priorities are out of alignment!

    2. Emphasis by repetition is certainly evident in the prophecies that speak of John the Baptist's ministry. That ministry obviously includes our Lord's baptism. Consider the following texts:

    - Isaiah 7:14, which foretells the virginal conception and birth of Christ, is quoted only once in the New Testament.

    Isaiah 40:3-5, which prophecies of John's work, is quoted five times in the New Testament.

    - Micah 5:2, which foretold the birth of Christ in Bethlehem, is quoted only once in the New Testament.

    On the other hand, Malachi 4:5-6 is repeatedly quoted and alluded to in the New Testament.

    It speaks of John as Elijah, who would precede the coming of Messiah.

    B. The baptism of Jesus receives emphasis in that God chose it as the occasion to greatly advance special revelation.

    The truth of God's triune nature, while hinted at in the Old Testament, was plainly manifested at Jordan.

    Not only were the three Persons of the Trinity clearly revealed, but they were also seen in their covenantal roles in salvation.

    The Father appeared as the One who sent the Son and was well pleased in his obedience.

    The Son was revealed as the servant of Jehovah.

    His baptism manifested his willingness to die.

    The Holy Spirit was revealed anointing Christ.

    No wonder the ancient Arian heretics were told to "go to Jordan and there learn the doctrine of the Trinity."

    Would we ourselves understand Christ's words in the Great Commission apart from the revelation given at his baptism?

    Go ye therefore, and teach all nations,
    baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost

    (Matthew 28:19).

    Three Persons but one name!

    Those who understand the meaning of the
    name know that it teaches that the three Persons of the Godhead are one in essence, in glory and in all of the divine attributes.

    C. Other events accompanying Christ's baptism give weight to that occasion.

    The heavens were opened and the Holy Spirit visibly descended on Christ - the barrier of invisibility was breached.

    (Only here and at Pentecost do we read of the Spirit being visibly manifested.)

    The Father spoke audibly - the barrier of silence was broken.

    (Only three times during Christ's public ministry do we read of the Father speaking audibly.)

    Surely heaven viewed the activities at Jordan as great ones!

    D. All the Persons of the Trinity treated the baptism of Jesus as significant.

    The Father spoke audibly and was well pleased with Christ.

    Jesus walked many a weary mile to obey the Father and submit to baptism.

    Upon that baptism, the Spirit manifested Christ as the Anointed One.

    And John bare record, saying,

    I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove,
    and it abode upon him.

    And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water,
    the same said unto me,

    Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending,
    and remaining on him,

    the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.

    (John 1:32-33)

    Christ (Greek) and Messiah (Hebrew) both mean "the anointed one."

    That Jesus was demonstrated to be the Anointed One at his baptism is highly significant.

    E. We see the importance of Christ's baptism in that it preceded his public ministry.

    This is an example to us.

    Baptism is still the first duty of those who, being converted,
    would serve the Lord.

    (See Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 8:36-37.)

    con't 8.0.0 iii: THE BAPTISM OF JESUS