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HG023-24. Mark 1:7-11, Matthew 3:11-17, Luke 3:15-18, 21-22

Harmony of the Gospels  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  22:01
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Mark 1:7–11 NKJV
7 And he preached, saying, “There comes One after me who is mightier than I, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to stoop down and loose. 8 I indeed baptized you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” 9 It came to pass in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 And immediately, coming up from the water, He saw the heavens parting and the Spirit descending upon Him like a dove. 11 Then a voice came from heaven, “You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
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Matthew 3:11–17 NKJV
11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” 13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. 14 And John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?” 15 But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him. 16 When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. 17 And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
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Luke 3:15–18 NKJV
15 Now as the people were in expectation, and all reasoned in their hearts about John, whether he was the Christ or not, 16 John answered, saying to all, “I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17 His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather the wheat into His barn; but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire.” 18 And with many other exhortations he preached to the people.
Luke 3 21-23
Luke 3:21–22 NKJV
When all the people were baptized, it came to pass that Jesus also was baptized; and while He prayed, the heaven was opened. And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said, “You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased.”
Luke 3:21–23 NKJV
21 When all the people were baptized, it came to pass that Jesus also was baptized; and while He prayed, the heaven was opened. 22 And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said, “You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased.” 23 Now Jesus Himself began His ministry at about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, the son of Heli,
There was an expectancy in the air perhaps because of John’s preaching or maybe they had heard the story of his birth that had been announced by an angel and born to elderly parents, kind of reminiscent of Abraham and Sarah. Or it may have been the situation the Jews found themselves in under the hand of an oppressor, the Romans. Whatever the case there was an anticipation and hope was rising. And in the midst of this John the Baptist was baptising.
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Was this the Man they were expecting? Was this the Christ? Was this the one who had been prophesied right from the beginning, found in and in and and and numerous other passages? Well, we saw last week he was indeed prophesied of in that he was the preparer of the way, the herald, the Town Crier. Repent and be baptised! He was pointing the way to One other than himself.
Every time someone mentioned it or said to him are you the One to come? Are you the Christ? Are you the chosen one, the Anointed One? He would always reply in the negative. No! I am not. Oh, yes, I baptise you with water but He, on the other hand, will baptise with the Holy Spirit and with fire. What I do is symbolic but what He can do is powerful and authentic for He is the real deal. He is coming not only to bless but to judge.
John paints a picture of Jesus as One who is awesome for not only is He mightier than him but it is He who is coming to reap from the harvest field. The wheat gets put into the barn and whatever is left over is consigned to the fire. There will be nothing left for the threshing floor will be swept out so that no grain gets lost and all the dust ends up being destroyed.
[SLIDES] It is a fitting picture for an agrarian culture for everyone in those days would have seen a threshing floor and wheat fields and the process for making bread. It is a vivid picture. And what is it a picture of?
It is of a Judge who is coming and finding out if the people are ready and the result of this coming will be to designate the destination of all that is in the field, that is, the world. Only two places are mentioned, no refining fire of purgatory, no second chance: as wheat is gathered into a barn so the prepared are gathered into Heaven and as the chaff is dumped into the fire so the unprepared will be cast into Hell.
Like many Old Testament prophecies there are two parts: one that will be fulfilled now or soon and the other still distant; one will will be fulfilled in the first advent and the other in the second. The prophecy will be presented as one prediction but has two parts.
How do we know? Well, we know that in the first part many Old Testament prophecies have already been fulfilled…about 300 literally fulfilled in Jesus’ birth, life, death and resurrection. This is our history, prophecy fulfilled. We know that Jesus has not yet come to reap his field for we are still here and when Jesus came the first time He said:
John 12:47–48 NKJV
And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.
There is a judgement to come but it did not happen during Jesus’ lifetime on earth but it will come as assuredly as Jesus’ first advent was predicted.
Why did so many come out to John? We wondered last week whether it was his demeanour or clothes but really it was really his preaching. And many did repent of their ways. His message was that the Kingdom of Heaven was at hand. It is on its way. He was a hell and damnation preacher. Yes, we should preach about the love of God for God is love. But the consequences for rejecting Him are severe, in fact, they have judged themselves unworthy of salvation and worthy of hell. Am I a hell and damnation preacher? Yes, I am. I have warned many, many people of the consequences of rejecting Jesus in face-to-face conversations as well as from the pulpit. Why? Because life is not a game…it is certainly not a game of chance. The stakes are too high and has far more serious outcomes.
I cannot believe that there would be those here who have not asked Jesus into their life to be their Lord and Saviour but there might be. God loves you enough to give His Son to take your place, to pay the price for your sins, your faults, your error, your guilt. He paid it in full. Don’t wait another day, not another minute for one day to the next we do not know what is going to happen. Those in that tower block in London did not know it was going to be the last day on earth. Life is so fickle and unpredictable. Don’t die before giving your life to Jesus and following Him. Why pay for your sins when someone else has already done so? You can be forgiven. You can have life with no fear of death. Ask Him right now into your life.
As for those of us who have Jesus as Lord in our lives already know that this is the message, the good news that we can share with our neighbour, our friend, our colleague, our relatives, our Swansea - that Jesus died to save people from a fate worse than death.
This is why John was so humble a man knowing His God and the One to come. I am not worthy to unstrap His sandals. I am not worthy to carry His shoes. In those days of slaves and masters the slave was expected to take off the sandals of their masters and carry them away but here is One who is more than a master. Before Jesus all pride dissipates, there is no room for it, for before One as mighty as He then there is the realisation that, in comparison, we are as nothing. Whilst John had come baptising and calling people to repentance and get ready for the One who was on His way he knew that he himself was not perfect.
And suddenly Jesus was there, right in front of him. How can I baptise you? You need to baptise me! This is all back-to-front. I am the sinner. You are the perfect lamb of God! No! I will not baptise you! This is all wrong! Why do you need to be baptised? And a curious answer is given: to fulfil all righteousness.
What do we think that this means? Why was Jesus baptised? The explanation is multiple but the overriding one is that Jesus was identifying Himself with all of sinful humanity bringing together God and people. That is what baptism is all about - identification. He had no need to repent, obviously. But it was so that His purpose in coming was to place Himself in our place. To fulfil all righteousness is about obedience to God’s will.
What does baptism signify? Going down under the water is a sign of death something He had come to do, to die. Christ’s death was a baptism as He alluded later in Matthew in:
Matthew 20:22 NKJV
But Jesus answered and said, “You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” They said to Him, “We are able.”
So, He was baptised to completely identify with humanity and to enter into death for you and me.
We, ourselves, are commanded to be baptised. It is in this act that we are showing our obedience to Him. It is showing our identification with Christ. When you have accepted Jesus into your life then you are to be baptised. As was said by an old sailor to a young one: it is duty or mutiny. It is our duty to be baptised otherwise we are saying my rules, not yours, which is mutiny. We are to fulfil all righteousness by obeying God’s will, which is to repent, believe and be baptised.
John consented to Jesus being baptised for it was a necessary act to show the purpose to all humanity why He had come. And coming back up out of the water revealed that He would also be resurrected. And so as Jesus prayed the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus in physical form like a dove. The dove, a symbol of peace. Where did this idea come from? Well, most people would not know the answer these days but it comes from Noah’s ark. The world had been devastated by a flood and at the end of it Noah released a dove that came back with an olive leaf signalling a new dawn for all life on earth.
And here, in our passage, was the declaration of another new dawn for humanity, the last great hope for all.
This is my beloved Son, in You I am well pleased.
The Heavens were opened, oh that you would rend the heavens and come down Isaiah declared, and indeed heaven opened for the Spirit to come down and a voice coming down to Him out of Heaven in the hearing of all who were present, a new Moses had arrived who would deliver His people.
And we see the whole of the Trinity, the Godhead at work here revealed for the first time in the New Testament: The Son who was baptised, The Holy Spirit descending and the Father speaking. This is another 3:16 passage. There are a lot of great verses which are 3:16 like
John 3:16 NKJV
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
2 Timothy 3:16 NKJV
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,
But this 3:16 and verse 17 should also be remembered when talking with JWs or Muslims and any other denier of the Trinity:
Matthew 3:16 NKJV
When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him.
Matthew 3:16–17 NKJV
When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
Should also be remembered
Matthew 3:17 NKJV
And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
3:17
This was 30 years in the making. We had glimpses of the life of Jesus, from His birth, His dedication to Him being in the temple at 12 years old. Now a further 18 years on Jesus had arrived from Nazareth at the River Jordan to show that there is a turning from the old to the new, to show that He was in a right relationship with God. And to prove that these things were true we hear the Father publicly declaring that this is His Son quoting from
This is my beloved Son, in You I am well pleased.
This was 30 years in the making. We had glimpses of the life of Jesus, from His birth, His dedication to Him being in the temple at 12 years old. Now a further 18 years on Jesus had arrived from Nazareth at the River Jordan to show that there is a turning from the old to the new, to show that He was in a right relationship with God. And to prove that these things were true we hear the Father publicly declaring that this is His Son quoting from
Isaiah 42:1–4 NKJV
“Behold! My Servant whom I uphold, My Elect One in whom My soul delights! I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles. He will not cry out, nor raise His voice, Nor cause His voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed He will not break, And smoking flax He will not quench; He will bring forth justice for truth. He will not fail nor be discouraged, Till He has established justice in the earth; And the coastlands shall wait for His law.”
Isaiah 42:1 NKJV
“Behold! My Servant whom I uphold, My Elect One in whom My soul delights! I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles.
Jesus is declared to be the Son of God by His Father and His Spirit has come upon Him to the new work of ministry which we see expanded upon by Isaiah.
And this ministry was to add to the family of God so that we could also be called sons of God. God was well pleased with His own Son. How can we please our God? By trusting Him explicitly through Jesus, for without faith it is impossible to please God, and then we are to do the will of God:
Mark 3:35 NKJV
For whoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister and mother.”
When Jesus came it was not to have a cosy life, for 30 years He was being prepared to take on the role for which He came. For He came to seek and save the lost. He became human so He could see through our eyes. He was baptised to be identified with us. Then He did what none of us could do which was go and pay the penalty for sin in full. His care. His love. His desire was that we could be set free. Not only He came but the Godhead was completely involved in every step to bring reconciliation between God and all humanity. It’s not His desire to see people perish or be lost but for us to be saved through the sacrifice on the cross. Today He took the step to be baptised to fulfil all righteousness and the Spirit and the Father got involved, got their hands dirty to reach people and bring Good News.
Today we have heard that Jesus was baptised to identify Himself with us who are sinful though He Himself was sinless. He identified Himself with death which is what happened when the sins of the world were laid upon Him, for the earnings of sin is death. He had you and me in mind when He was about to go through the suffering He would rather not go through. If only there had been some other way but there wasn’t. God and man meet at the birth of Jesus, His baptism, His life and His death. To prove that the penalty for sin was paid for, that death has no longer any hold over us, that we can be reconciled to God and live forever, Jesus rose from the grave. The victory was won. The victory was all the sweeter for the hell He had gone through for us. Man of Sorrows! What a name! Oh! What a Saviour!
1 Corinthians 11:24–26 NKJV
and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.
Prayer of John Knox
1 Corinthians 11:22–26 NKJV
What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you in this? I do not praise you. For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.
1 Corinthians 11:23–26 NKJV
For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.
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