Monday, September 29, 2008

Four Reasons Jesus Had To Be Baptized: Introduction


Nikki and I spent three semesters of our college years at Montreat College, a small school nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Everything about this school was beautiful. Hiking trails, enjoyable classes, close proximity to Asheville. Well, almost everything was beautiful. There were the dreaded trips each day to the school cafeteria to eat our meals. I can’t even describe for you how bad the food at Montreat was. It was so bad, that there were days we used the waffle iron to make waffles for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They served Frito Pie at least once a week which was code for “go back to your room and make some oodles of noodles.” We looked forward each month to a care package sent by Nikki’s mom which included in each box Gas X and Tums, to fight the damage the food did on our digestion. In fact, during that time, we ate Tums like they were candy.

            During those few semesters I developed a new appreciation for home cooking. To this day, I am very thankful every time I eat a meal made by my wife, not only is she a great cook, but I don’t have to eat that horrible food from Montreat every again. I have a new appreciation. Have you ever had an experience that gave you a new appreciation for something? This week, I had another experience like that from Mark’s gospel. I developed a new appreciation for baptism and especially my own baptism. This week I will give a series of blog posts from Mark 1 answering the question, "Why did Jesus have to be baptized?" Here is the text:

 

Mark 1:9-11  In those days Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.  10 Immediately coming up out of the water, He saw the heavens opening, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon Him;  11 and a voice came out of the heavens: "You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased."

The obvious question that arises from our text is this, “Why in the world did Jesus need to be baptized?” I  mean, He’s sinless, He does not need to be saved. This is a question that even John the Baptist asked and is recorded by Matthew in his account of this event. Read  the words of an early church Father:

 

He began his ministry by being hungry, yet he is the bread of life.

Jesus ended his earthly ministry by being thirsty yet he is the living water.

Jesus was weary, yet he is our rest.

Jesus paid tribute, yet his is the king.

Jesus was accused of having a demon, yet he cast out demons.

Jesus wept, yet he wipes away our tears.

Jesus was sold for thirty pieces of silver, yet he redeemed the world.

Jesus was brought as a lamb to the slaughter, yet he is the good shepherd.

Jesus died, yet by his death he destroyed the power of death.

 

Yet this man, the God man, the Son of God, submitted to the baptism of John the Baptist in the Jordan River. It’s the first event in the life of Jesus that Mark records for us. Why was Jesus baptized? We could give many more reasons than this, but this week I will be giving four reasons. Tomorrow we begin with reason #1: Jesus had to be baptized to identify with sinners.