The Appearance of Jesus At the Jordan River
Text: Matthew 3:1-17
As John preached to the multitudes, his eyes must have searched for the Messiah. Foremost in his mind must be the question, “When would He appear?” John’s wait was not in vain. One day, the Messiah appeared at the Jordan River.
“Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the
Jordan to be baptized by him.”
THE BAPTISM OF JESUS
John was taken aback when Jesus stepped forward to be baptized by him! How was he to understand Jesus’ request for baptism? The thought of baptizing Jesus was the farthest from his mind! John was not prepared to baptize the Person whom he declared was the mighty Messiah.
“And John tried to prevent Him, saying,
‘I need to be baptized by You, and are
You coming to me?'”
AN UNDERSTANDING OF JOHN’S HESITATION TO BAPTIZE JESUS
1. John’s Baptism of Repentance
John had urged people to be baptized as an expression of their genuine repentance. As far as John knew, the Messiah had no sin in His life to confess! Why would He seek baptism? The answer to this and other questions were not forthcoming immediately.
2. John’s Sense of Unworthiness
Though John preached powerful messages of repentance, nevertheless he was conscious of the fact that he too was a sinner before God! How could a mere human being even think about giving baptism to the Son of God? John struggled with this thought.
3. John’s Comprehension of the Greatness of Jesus
John had proclaimed long and loud the greatness of Jesus! Though He may have appeared as one of the multitudes, John recognized Him for His true worth! The Messiah had come and He was totally unassuming! The multitudes may have failed to recognize who Jesus was, but not John! As Jesus stood before him, John felt that he needed to be baptized and be cleansed from his sins! Such was the presence of the holiness of Jesus as He stood before John to be baptized!
THE COMMANDING PERSONALITY OF THE MESSIAH
John’s task was very clear. He was to be the forerunner of the Messiah. But he did not know that it would include baptizing Jesus! Jesus immediately took charge of the whole situation with this simple but totally authoritative word to John.
” ‘Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting
for us to fulfil all righteousness.’ Then he
What was Jesus talking about? Of course Jesus was not participating in the baptism of repentance, for there were no sins to confess! What then could He mean?
ORDAINED TO ENTER INTO HIS ROLE AS MESSIAH
Jesus’ baptism is best understood as His consecration to enter into His Role as Messiah. One of the most helpful text that we may look at to help us understand the cryptic words of Jesus is found in the Book of Hebrews.
“For every high priest taken from among men
is appointed for men in things pertaining to God,
that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins…
And no man takes this honour to himself,
but he who is called by God, just as Aaron was.
So also Christ did not glorify Himself to become
High Priest, but it was He who said to Him:
‘You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You.’
As He also says in another place:
‘You are a priest forever
according to the order of
who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered
up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries
and tears to Him who was able to save Him from
death, and was heard because of His godly fear…'”
Hebrews 5:1, 4-7
One of the roles of the Messiah was to be a special Priest of God! This text from the Book of Hebrews gives us a good glimpse of one of the ministries that Jesus would enter into. He would have a special ministry of prayer. He would, as High Priest, have compassion on the multitudes laden down with sins and the troubles of life.
Another role that the Messiah would play would be that of a Prophet of God. Jesus would teach and preach like no other! John would consecrate Him to His role as Messiah!