St. Matthew 3:13-17 – The Baptism of Our Lord Jesus – 2012
Zion Ev. Lutheran Church, McHenry, IL
January 14-15, 2012
In the name of Jesus, who is coming. Amen. St. Matthew says that Jerusalem, and all of Judea, and all the region about the Jordan were going to John to be baptized. Confessing their sins, they were baptized in the Jordan River.
Like bath water that gets dirty from dirty people, that water must have been teaming with the filth of all those sinners. The idolatry, materialism, finding comfort in the things we possess, the despising of God’s Name and His preaching, disobedience of parents, hate, murder, harming others, lust, adultery, porn, lude comments, unspeakable sins that after we do them and then can only say, “did that really happen?”
Stealing, cheating, cutting corners with unfair measurements, gossip, tearing people up, ripping them up behind their backs leaving only the tire tracks of our rolling over them on their backs.
Grumpy. It’s the rat poison of the Jordan. We’re not happy in our world, so no one else gets to be. Not content. No happy. They were better before.
Coveting. Coveting a better life, more, that one thing or someone that God hasn’t given us that if He would only give to us everything would be okay.
And the only people who weren’t in the water were the Pharisees. They didn’t think they had sins. They were gawking at the dirtiness of the water – the people going in.
Hypocrisy. Their hypocrisy in the water too. The deadly virus of doing evil things, living in them, while condemning others for doing the very same things. For when they do it, it’s worse.
Then comes Jesus to the Jordan River to be baptized. As He approaches the water, you can hear the Baptist…
“Stay out of the water, Jesus. Cousin, don’t go there! This water is dirty and filthy with sin. It’s overflowing with all that is fallen with God’s creation. You get in that water, Jesus, it’ll kill you!”
John the Baptist is right. Jesus doesn’t need to be baptized. He has no sins. John and you and me would do well to be baptized by Jesus not the other way around.
But in the water with you is where Jesus wants to be. He is there to fulfill all righteousness – all that God requires of you and that all that God would punish for you not doing.
He is where you are, in solidarity with you, on your team as you lose, numbered with the transgressors – with you and me.
Christ wants your sins, your failures, and your death. He wants all that you are that isn’t of God. He wants all that you want that is against God.
To redeem all that you are and all that you have done against God on the Cross. To buy you back “from your sins, from death, and the power of the devil, not with gold or silver but with his holy precious blood and innocent suffering and death.”
You are baptized. You are washed. You have made clean in His blood. The blood which cleanse you from all your transgressions.
You are given forgiveness. Your sins are taken away. Cleansed. Left in the waters of your baptism.
He takes them upon Himself at His Baptism. He carries them to the Cross. All your sins and the sins of the world die with Him.
You live. You are raised to new life. Life no longer in your sins, but life in His righteousness.
Die to your sins, dear friends. Leave them with Jesus in the water. Leave the poison of how you used to live behind. Leave them with Jesus.
Raise to new life. No longer finding fault with others but living each day in the confession that Jesus took on your sins and the sins of your neighbor too.
For the Father is overjoyed with Jesus today. Well pleased. He announces to the world, “This is my Son, whom I love, with whom I am well pleased.”
He’s excited because you are saved. You are forgiven. You are His. Those around you are too.
He’s well pleased that His Son is in the water with you taking the death of your sin upon Himself “so that you would be His own and live under Him in His kingdom and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence and blessedness. Just as He is risen from the dead, lives, and reigns to all eternity.”
Then comes Jesus to the Jordan River to be baptized. As He approaches the water…
Get in the water, Jesus. Take upon my sins. Let it be so in order to fulfill all righteousness. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.