Understanding the Baptisms – Part 3

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THE BAPTISM OF JESUS

Matthew 3:13-17 — 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.

In the beginning, we see that John was humble in the way he responded to Jesus’ request to baptise Him by saying that the superior should benefit the lesser and not the other way around, which is in accordance with what the Bible says.

Hebrews 7:7 — Now without dispute, the inferior is blessed by the superior…”

John was confident in his own identity, and he was conscious of the fact that he was a voice calling out in the desert, paving the way for the Lord to come.

Matthew 3:3 — For he is the one about whom the prophet Isaiah had spoken: “The voice of one shouting in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make his paths straight.’”

Mark 1:3 — the voice of one shouting in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make his paths straight.’”

Luke 3:4 — As it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah, “The voice of one shouting in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make his paths straight.

John 1:23 — John said, “I am the voice of one shouting in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”

Due to the fact that he was the inferior one who required the blessing of the superior one, John the Baptist refused to baptise Jesus.

UNWORTHY JOHN

John likewise meekly declared that he was not even worthy to untie the straps of the sandals that belonged to the bigger one. John said this in a very humble manner.

Matthew 3:11 — “I baptize you with water, for repentance, but the one coming after me is more powerful than I am – I am not worthy to carry his sandals! He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

Luke 3:16 — John answered, saying unto [them] all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire,,,”

John 1:27 — He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose.
John was also aware that his baptism would only include water, but the baptism of the One who was to come after him would involve the Holy Spirit and fire.

GREATER THAN ME

John had a very good understanding of the grandeur that Jesus had, which is why he was able to say that “He who comes after me ranks before me because he was before me.”

John 1:15 — John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me.

John 1:30 — This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me.

Jesus tells John in Matthew 3:15, “Let it be so now because thus it is suitable for us to fulfil all righteousness,” despite the fact that John has refused to follow him. This is the most important part of what happened and having a correct grasp of what Jesus meant when He said this will liberate us from having a carnal perspective on baptism.

FULFILLING ALL RIGHTEOUSNESS

When Jesus speaks to John about fulfilling all righteousness, He has in mind the entire history of the righteousness of the law that was given under the old covenant.

This righteousness must be brought to its completion in Christ because He is the only one who is righteous before God. It was necessary to do away with the previous system of righteousness in order to inaugurate the new righteousness that comes from God, who is Christ.

ABOLISH THE LAW

At this point, it would be important to remember the words of Jesus. In the verses below, Jesus states that he has not come to abolish the law or the prophets, but rather to fulfil them.

Matthew 5:17-18 — “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have not come to abolish these things but to fulfil them. I tell you the truth until heaven and earth pass away not the smallest letter or stroke of a letter will pass from the law until everything takes place.

A cursory reading of this verse would lead us to the conclusion that the mission of Jesus’ arrival on earth was not to do away with the law or the prophets but rather to bring about their full and complete fulfilment.

SCRIPTURE IS FULFILLED

We have seen the occurrence in which Jesus went into the synagogue on the day of the Sabbath and read a passage from the prophet Isaiah. In doing so, he revealed the fact that he had come to earth to fulfil every law and every prophecy.

This is the reason why Jesus repeats the phrase “in so that the Scripture could be fulfilled” so often. Now, one of the questions that immediately comes to mind is how it is possible to believe that Jesus can fulfil the law. In light of the fact that Christ was foreshadowed in the old covenant by way of types and shadows, it is important to recognise that the law was merely a type that pointed to Christ.

ABOUT THE LAW

The Law Was A Shadow

Hebrews 10:1 — For the law possesses a shadow of the good things to come but not the reality itself, and is therefore completely unable, by the same sacrifices offered continually, year after year, to perfect those who come to worship.

Christ Is The End Of The Law

Romans 10:4 — For Christ is the end of the law, with the result that there is righteousness for everyone who believes.
The One Who Is Dead Is Liberated From Sin.

Romans 6:7 — (For someone who has died has been freed from sin.)

Paul’s explanation is found in the verse when he says that the one who is dead is freed from sin.

The Primary Goal Of The Law Was To Educate People About Sin

Romans 3:20 — For no one is declared righteous before him by the works of the law, for through the law comes the knowledge of sin.

Romans 7:7 — What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Absolutely not! Certainly, I would not have known sin except through the law. For indeed I would not have known what it means to desire something belonging to someone else if the law had not said, “Do not covet.”

Furthermore, Paul explains that the law is the source of sin’s power, which is a crucial point to keep in mind.

1 Corinthians 15:56 — The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.

Paul reveals the truth that Christ, through the death of the Cross, has brought the law to its total completion in Him by taking the man who is subject to the law and having him crucified with him on the cross.

As a result, the cross is the end of the law because the cross has done away with the man who is subject to the law. When Paul says that Christ is the end of the law, he is disclosing the fact that Christ has brought the law to its total completion in him through the death of the cross.

Christ’s death on the cross is an objective act, but what we need is for ourselves to have a subjective experience of His death.

OBJECTIVE AND SUBJECTIVE

There are two facets to Christ’s death: the first is the objective reality of Christ’s death, and the second is our subjective experience of his death, in which we identify ourselves with him in his death and bear his death within us.

One of these facets is the objective reality of Christ’s death, and the other is our subjective experience of his death. Putting a stop to our own soulish existence paves the way for us to experience the reign of Christ that is already present inside us.

Within ourselves, we have the ability to cope with the law by coming to the realisation, the insight, or the comprehension that we are dead; dead to sin, dead to ourselves, and dead to the world.

WORK OF THE SPIRIT

This is a work of the spirit, and when such insight as “my death” takes place inside us, the law will no longer apply to us since we will regard ourselves to be dead. Given that a deceased person is no longer subject to the law, this means that the law is null and void in relation to us now that we have passed away.

Paul wants us to understand that we are not breaking the law, but rather that we are dead to the law because Christ lives in us. Because Christ lives in us and we live in him, the law is null and void in us, which is confirmed scripture.

Galatians 5:18 — But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

THE NEW COVENANT

As a result, we can observe that Jesus satisfied every requirement outlined in the Law and the Prophets. When Jesus talks of completing all righteousness, he is referring to the righteousness of the law, from which Christ, as the real righteousness of God, would rescue people. This is an unequivocal statement concerning the righteousness of the law. John served as the last connecting link between the old and new testaments.

Christ is not the link; rather, He is the New Covenant, and since John the Baptist ministered under the old covenant, Jesus had to nullify the old covenant righteousness of the law by bringing it to completion in himself. This was necessary because John served under the old covenant.

This point is made clear in Hebrews that the “new” could not take effect while the “old” was still standing, therefore the “old” had to make way for the “new.”

Hebrews 10:9 — then he says, “Here I am: I have come to do your will.” He does away with the first to establish the second.

Hebrews 9:8 — The Holy Spirit is making clear that the way into the holy place had not yet appeared as long as the old tabernacle was standing.

It is for these particular reasons that the Father selected Jordan as the spot where the baptism of Jesus would take place and this process of transitioning from the old to the new was to begin.

Blessings,

Godwin.

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Godwin Shon Sequeira
Godwin Shon Sequeira
Articles: 123

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Blessings to you.