Monday, January 25, 2021

Baptizing Jesus

Matthew 3:13-17 / Mark 1:9-11 / Luke 3:21-22…

Jesus was saying something that John didn’t seem to understand. John had been telling people to be baptized and he emphasized how unworthy the religious leaders were. He said come on you snakes, you get baptized too, you are definitely deserving of condemnation, you are definitely not worthy of the kingdom of God. John said they should be looking for the Christ and yet Jesus steps up and says here I am to be baptized.

John started to resist. Jesus is not a sinner, He has not broken God’s law, but Jesus said it must be done. He says that because He is identifying Himself with you. He is proclaiming and dramatizing what will happen to Him when He turns Himself over to be arrested, indicted, crucified, and buried. God is enacting in advance what will happen when He raises Jesus from the dead and declares Him to be the Son of God with power (Romans 1:4). God voices His acceptance of Jesus, visibly sending the Holy Spirit as a sign.

Jesus not only died the death we justly deserve but lived the life we should have lived (Romans 5:10, 19). On the cross, God treated Jesus as if He lived your life so He could treat you as if you lived His life. That’s the Gospel (2 Corinthians 5:21).

The physical represents the spiritual. You are identified with Jesus through water (Galatians 3:27). You are baptized into His body (1 Corinthians 12:13).

Jesus is identified with you through submission (Romans 12:1-2 / 1 Peter 4:12-19). He is baptized into your body (Galatians 2:20).

Are you baptizing Jesus, or do you resist?

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Who are you?

John 1:19-28…

The religious leaders sent delegates to question John the Baptist. He made it clear that he was not the Christ. He was not the physical Elijah, although John was Elijah in the spiritual sense. He was not the prophet that Moses said would come (Deuteronomy 18:15). The Jewish leaders had it wrong (John 7:40-43), Jesus was who Moses and John spoke about (Acts 3:22, 7:37). People who are against God’s will use God’s Word and twist it to their own understanding (1 Timothy 6:3-5 / 2 Peter 3:15-16).

Just as the religious leaders didn’t believe the Messiah when He came, they did not see His herald for who he was. It will be the same for you. People are going to attack the message, and they will attack the messenger. Jesus told us that this would be the case (Luke 6:22-23, 10:16). It has always been that way, from the book of Acts until even this very day. People will question the move of God by questioning the credentials of the messenger, especially when it involves a call to move them into repentance.

They will say, “Who are you to tell me?” No matter who you are there will come times when you witness to someone who is smarter than you, better educated, and so on and so forth. But that isn’t the point. You are the one with the spiritual truth, the eternal truth, the most important truth. You are the most important person they will ever meet, unless and until they meet Jesus in truth. Point the way to Jesus; you don’t think you’re perfect, it means you follow the one who is.

We ought not to be offensive in ourselves, but the message of the cross of Christ is offensive to the natural mind already (1 Corinthians 1:18, 2:14). No matter how passionate our approach, persuasive our arguments, biblical our admonishments, and loving our appeals are, if God does not open the eyes of the spiritually blind, they will not see.

Who are you? You’re God’s messenger, that’s who (2 Corinthians 5:20 / 1 Peter 3:15-16).

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Christ the greater…gatherer

Matthew 3:11-12 / Mark 1:7-8 / Luke 3:15-18…

John the Baptist raised expectations about the coming Christ. In fact, he did it so well that people started to wonder if he was the Christ. Like John, we have to be careful to keep the focus on Jesus, and not what He is doing through us.

John said that if they thought he was making clear distinctions between believers, non-believers, and make-believers, they hadn’t seen anything yet. From the context we see that the Christ will truly separate the wheat from the chaff. He will deliver some to glory and some to doom.

You will see the wrath of man any time you even speak of the wrath of God, let alone making it an object of worship and adoration. However, John said this made the Christ a greater one than himself. John could speak of it; Jesus will do it.

John said Christ will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. The power of the Holy Spirit is what unites all believers (John 3:5-8 / 1 Corinthians 12:13). But what is a baptism of fire?

Perhaps John is referring to one and the same event, with the fire representing the Messiah bringing the purifying fire of God to His people (Malachi 3:2). It may include the persecution that disciples go through (Mark 10:35-40 / 2 Timothy 3:12 / 1 Peter 4:12). If it is some separate event, it would refer to the fact that Jesus was going to baptize some into judgment; they would receive the unquenchable fire of hell. In any event, this isn’t something to achieve, it is something to be recognized. These events will happen.

The point is this: Jesus the Christ is going to make ultimate distinctions. Jesus will gather you one way or another, into the kingdom of light or into the kingdom of darkness. This is actually good news for those who will hear it.