Happy Jesus’ Baptism Day yesterday! We had another rich, rich sermon from Pastor Douthwaite. In fact, I think I’ll start a brief series on baptism this week based on excerpts from that sermon. John’s baptism is described as being a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. But Jesus didn’t have any sins! So what does it mean that He came to be baptized?
Everyone else, we heard earlier in the Gospel, was baptized by John as they were “confessing their sins.” But Jesus did not have any sins to confess. He did not inherit any sin, nor commit any sins. In fact, He should have been repulsed by that water! Talk about a cesspool! That water was filled with just about every sin imaginable. Sins washed off the multitude of sinners. You name the sin, and Jesus is hip-deep in it. Idolatry, adultery, sexual immorality, murder, theft, hate, prejudice, lying, selfishness, coveting, pride, greed, lust – and Jesus jumps right into that putrid, toxic water! And lets it be poured all over Him. All the filth. All the sin. It’s disgusting.
But His Father’s not disgusted, but delighted! So is the Holy Spirit! The First and Third Persons of the Holy Trinity are thrilled that the Second Person of the Trinity, the Son of God, receives John’s baptism. They’re elated that He’s drenched in this sin-infested water. And so the Holy Spirit descends upon Jesus, and the Father speaks His approval: “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” He doesn’t say (as we probably would): Get out of that disgusting water! Go clean yourself up! No, this is exactly right. This is the will of God. For Jesus to stand with sinners. For Jesus to be washed in our sin, to take our sin, to become the sinner. For Jesus to take our place.