Lesson 15: John Baptized Jesus
Matthew 3:13-17, Mark1:9-11, Luke 3:21-22, John1:29-34
Read and listen at the same time by clicking the > button on the above player.
A_ Blending of The Four Gospel Records. Welcome to lesson # 15. The baptism of Jesus. We will begin this lesson in Luke 3:21. Are you ready to read? Luke 3:21-22, two verses. Let's read. "Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou are my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased" Now, let's read the record of Matthew and Mark before we discuss this. Matthew's record begins in Matt. 3:13 and consumes the rest of that chapter, 5 verses. Let's read Matthew! Beginning in v.13, "Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbade 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 fulfill all righteousness. Then he suffered him. And Jesus, when he was baptized, when 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." O.K. now if you'll flip over to Mark. Mark 1:9-10-11. Are you ready? Beginning in v.9. "And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan. And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him: and there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." O.K., I'm sure you've noticed the similarity in wording in all three records. The gospel of John does not record this event.
Mark said that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee or city # 3 on your worksheet. You already have that on your map. Matthew said, Jesus came from Galilee unto Jordan. Luke does NOT say where Jesus came from, OR where he was baptized. Although in Luke 4:1, reference IS MADE to Jesus RETURNING from the Jordan. This is the first we've read about Jesus since we read about the occasion when Jesus was 12 years old, when he got lost from his parents at the temple in Jerusalem. Thus, what we're just read was about 18 years later. And, Jesus was still in Nazareth. Matt. 13:55 makes reference to Jesus as the carpenter's son. Thus, we get a clue that Joseph was a carpenter by trade. Hence, it is usually assumed that Jesus was apprenticed as a carpenter in those intervening years. Mark 6:3, Jesus himself is referred to as a carpenter. All we know is based upon these two clues. Although, it was the policy of every Jew, I'm told, to teach their son a trade of some kind. It is said, they considered NOT teaching him a trade the same as teaching him to steal. And there's still a lot of wisdom in that. But, what was a carpenter? The word was broader and more inclusive then, than the way we use that term today. But, it still included working with the hands. We know through the scriptures that Mary ( Jesus 's mother) still lived after Jesus was crucified. But, it very well may be that Joseph didn't. No information is given.
From Nazareth to the Jordan river was about 20-25 miles in the closest place; you can see that from your map. But, as was pointed out in our last lesson, the spot where Jesus was baptized was likely down the river some place below Bethabara. Notice in Matt, 3 5 13, if you read it close, there is an expression of intent. Jesus went to the Jordan, "to be baptized of him.", i.e. of John. I'm sure you recall in Luke 1:36, the angel Gabriel referred to John's mother, Elisabeth, as a cousin to Mary. I'm not quite sure what that means when we try to translate it into a family relationship today. But, according to the way we use the term "cousin" today, the CLOSEST RELATIONSHIP that John and Jesus could have been would have been third cousins, and their relation could possibly have been far more distant than that. Their mothers were friends and well acquainted; but: Were Jesus and John personally acquainted? We don't know the answer to that question. They may have been; they MAY NOT have been. If John grew up around Hebron in the hill country of Judah; then John and Jesus lived at least 85 miles apart during their formative years. Hebron is city # 6 on your map-worksheet; so, why don't you post that city now. H-E-B-R-0-N, city # 6. But, remember, we don't know absolutely that John the Immerser was from Hebron. But, he WAS from that general vicinity. I would be inclined to think that Jesus and John had met during that intervening 18 years when both had no doubt attended at least three feast days each year in Jerusalem. But, of course, that's an assumption and assumptions can get you into trouble. On the other hand, their association may have been far more intimate; we don't know. In John 1:31 John the Baptist said with reference to Jesus, "I knew him not." And, John repeated that phrase in John 1:33; but, I'm not sure we're on the same wavelength. That verse has reference to John recognizing Jesus as the messiah. It probably does not mean personal acquaintance; so, we still don't know about those intervening 18 years when Jesus and John both came to the temple on the feast days.
At a very minimum we can be sure that Jesus knew OF John and his baptism. Because Jesus went to Jordan for that purpose; "to be baptized of [John]." Now, look at v.14 in Matthew's account. "John forbade him." i.e. John objected. And, John (there) states the reason for his objection: "I have need to be baptized of thee!" John was a very humble man; he considered himself the lowest domestic servant in relation to the messiah. Thus, John thought, it might be more appropriate if Jesus baptized John. But, Jesus persuaded John that IT WAS proper. So, John decided to serve his master, and thus, immersed Jesus in the Jordan.
Now, before we discuss the actual act of John immersing Jesus; get another insight here. From these very words, we can be sure that John recognized Jesus as the messiah BEFORE John baptized Jesus. How long before, we do NOT know. OR HOW, he recognized Jesus as the messiah, we are NOT told. We must not forget, of course, that the Holy Spirit was upon John. The message came, but we don't know how. Now, do you remember John prologue? The apostle John said in John 1:6-7 that John the Baptizer "came for a witness, to bear witness" of the Christ. So, John's purpose and mission was to introduce Jesus to the world. John the apostle emphasized this aspect of John the Baptist's mission. John the apostle does not record the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist but the emphasis of that book IS that John bare record. "John bares witness of HIM. John 1:15.
So, let's turn to John at this point and read -six verses there, John 1:29-34. The context here was not the day Jesus was baptized. It was some weeks after Jesus was baptized. We talked about that (in our last lesson) all those NEXT DAYS and DAY references in John. Thus, it can be establish by the things that follow here in the book of John, in relation to Matthew ch. 4 and Luke ch. 4; that the time when John saw Jesus coming to him at Bethabara, (v.29) was several weeks after Jesus had been immersed by John. Thus, you might observe also that John's statements here are logically in past tense. But, the REASON we want to read THIS has to do with the WAY John BEAR RECORD. John being an inspired man tells, in retrospect, (in these verses) how he knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that Jesus was and is the Christ. Are you ready? Beginning in John 1:29, Let's read! "The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me; for he was before me. And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water. And John bare record, saying, I say, the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou Shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God." This is the Son of God. John bare record. Now, if you're curious as to when and where John got that information; I would assume it was included in the events of Luke 3:2, where it says, "the word of God came unto John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness."
Now, we said before it is evident from John's objection back in Matt. 3:14 on the day when John immersed Jesus in the Jordan, that John knew that Jesus was the Christ before that event. Then beyond that, this was further confirmed to John beyond any shadow of doubt when Jesus was baptized. We just read that. Look at v.15 in Matthew's account. Why did John baptize? What was John's message? "Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Matt. 3:2). Now, when a subject came to John, heard John's message, and repented at John preached; then, what did John do? Matt. 3:6 says they were baptized confessing their sins. Why were they baptized? The answer is SIN. Mark 1:4 said, "John... preached the baptism of repents [What for?] for the remission of sins." i.e. that their sins might be forgiven. Now, notice something here; Jesus was NOT baptized for remission of sins. Why? Because Jesus had no sins. Heb. 4:15 says Jesus "was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin." Now, here's a question. SHOULD and WOULD John baptize one who had no sins to be remitted and one that needed no repentance? You see, Jesus was an exception. Can you see why John objected? John's baptism did not apply to Jesus' case. And, Jesus DID NOT argue that it DID. But, Jesus persuaded John it was proper. Why? Not for remission of sins. But, Jesus said, "to fulfill all righteousness." So, John baptized Jesus to fulfill all righteousness. It was contrary to John's thinking; but, John obeyed Jesus. Jesus' baptism was NOT based upon repentance and it was NOT for the remission of sins. It was NOT because of John's preaching. V.13 makes it clear, Jesus intended to be baptized before he left Galilee. Now, what does it mean to fulfill all righteousness? In other words, WHY was Jesus baptized? Jesus didn't say it was to fulfill prophecy- So far as I know, there is no prophecy in the O.T.that said Jesus would be baptized of John in the Jordan. To fulfill righteousness apparently means it was the right thing to do and Jesus wanted to set an example in this respect such that the Pharisees or the Sadducees or anybody else could not use it against him at some later time; saying he required something he wouldn't do himself. Jesus wanted all the cracks filled-in before the storm came. Apparently, that's the idea of fulfilling all righteousness. Now, observe something else right here; Jesus' baptism did carry the idea of example, we've just said. But, not in the total sense. You see, you and I CANNOT be baptized for the purpose for which Jesus was baptized. WHY? Because we SIN! Thus, great commission baptism today is for the remission of sins. Just last week a lady called me and told me about a woman who said she wanted to be baptized just like Jesus was baptized. Now, obviously that lady being a normal human being and therefore a sinner; did not want to be baptized to fulfill all righteousness as Jesus was baptized. Thus, she obviously didn't understand baptism. She was trying to express that she wanted to be baptized scripturally. But, I think you see, that would NOT be exactly like Jesus' baptism; I refer to purpose. Now, the mechanics of the process, an immersion in water, would be the same of course. And, I'm sure that was what the lady had in mind. But, remember, purpose is just as important AS, if not more important, than the mechanics of the process. Yet, there's a great temptation to get all tied up in the mechanics of the process and over look purpose. Thus, you should understand, neither John's baptism nor Jesus' baptism are valid today in the total sense.
O.K., now let's get down to the water. Look at Matt. 3:15. "Then he suffered him." i.e. when Jesus insisted, John proceeded with the baptism. The NIV here simply says, "Then John consented." You might do a little comparison here. Luke simply said, "It came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized..." and Luke passed on. Mark says, "Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and WAS baptized of John in the Jordan." Case closed! They did NOT elaborate. Now, Matthew doesn't give us very many details. There's no record of John and Jesus entering the water. But, v.16 says, "And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water..." And, of course, if Jesus WENT UP OUT of the water, he must have gone down INTO the water. But, you might notice; the Bible doesn't over burden us with facts. These books are NOT just a bunch of repetition as some people think. What happened while Jesus was in the water? John baptized Jesus. If baptize means to "cover wholly with a fluid" as James Strong says in his dictionary; then I think you get the picture. The fluid that John used was water. That's what John himself said up in Matt. 3:11.
Now, let's finish up v.16, "and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him." O.K. the heavens were opened unto him. Luke didn't put an "s" on heavens (Matthew did); but, we won't make a scene out of that. I think it is significant to notice; Luke said: "being baptized, and PRAYING, the heaven was opened." Thus, we learn that prayer was offered between the actual immersion and the voice. If you consider this the official beginning of Jesus' earthly ministry; then observe, Jesus’ ministry started with a prayer here on the bank of the Jordan and ended with a prayer on the cross of Calvary a little over three years later (Luke 23:46). Notice, Matthew said Jesus saw, and Mark said Jesus saw: the Spirit of God descending upon himself. Luke said it happened, but he didn't say who saw it. John said the Spirit descended LIKE a dove. (John 1:32). Luke said it "descended in a BODILY SHAPE like a dove." Some have tried to give significance to the dove shape, but, I'll leave that to your expertise. It does fulfill Isa. 11:2.
V.17, let's read it again! "And lo a voice came from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." Obviously, this was the voice of God, or provided by God to confirm that Jesus was (and is) the messiah. Thus, this fact was confirmed both audible and visibly. Now, what was the last part of the message? God said, "I am well pleased." I think this implies that if God was pleased with Jesus, then we should listen to Jesus. This was the climax of John's career. But, John continued his spiritual highway building. Undoubtedly there were a few roadside shoulders that still needed to be seeded. But, in our study we’re going to leave John for the time here on the bank of the Jordan river, dripping wet.
Again, all four gospel records have given witness that Jesus was the Christ, “that ye might believe…” (John 20:30). Until our next lesson, have a good day!