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LOCATION! LOCATION! LOCATION! by Pastor Shah, Clearview Church, Henderson
(This message was recorded by the banks of the Jordan River in Israel.)
Introduction: Hi! As many of you know, Nicole and I are in Israel. We took this trip because we believe that the accounts in the Bible are not fairy tales or myths but real historical events that took place in real time at real places with real people. Needless to say, we have been blown away! We did not realize how much the landscape informs the proper understanding of the Bible! Today I’m preaching a message from Matthew 3 titled LOCATION! LOCATION! LOCATION and yes – we are going to be on location every step of the way! So thank you for being here at Clearview.
Matthew 3 13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him.
For the past two days we have been staying at Kibbutz Lavi. A Kibbutz is a gathering, a collective community that works together and shares with each other. Although it is modernized in many ways, it still lives by some very traditional principles. What’s important for our purpose is that it is in Lower Galilee. There is a good chance that Jesus passed through this region on the way to the Jordan.
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.”
Overall Background: Jordan has much significance in biblical history but the most important is the baptism of Jesus by John the baptizer.
Why was this so significant ? For 4 reasons:
I. A FULFILLMENT WAS RECOGNIZED.
13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him.
Background: We usually just zip past this passage but this was a very critical moment in the history of God’s plan of redemption. It was the changing of the guard.
For e.g. If you ever ever been to the National Memorial, right about dusk, it’s time for the guards to exchange their responsibilities. One guard hands off the responsibility to the other. People come about that time just to see this ritual.
So also there is a passing of the guard here. Listen carefully to the account in John 1 29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
Several things to point out here:
- It’s not one of the Lambs of God. It’s THE Lamb of God. In other words, here He is! The one we’ve been waiting for since the beginning of time has arrived.
- It’s not the “Lion of God” but the humble and meek sacrificial Lamb of God.
- It’s not the “Lamb who is taken away or dragged away” but He takes away the sin. In other words, Jesus was in full control of what He was about to do.
- It’s not just the sin of Israel but the whole world. He came to Israel but He is for all of us.
Application: Which guard are you looking to? The old or the new? What are you trusting in to be saved? Is Jesus the Lamb for your sins?
II. AN EXAMPLE WAS SET
14 And John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?”
Background: What would you have done? Do you think you can baptize God? He made John the Baptist and He made the water!
But listen to Matthew 3 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.” What does that mean?
The key lies in “us.” This is not a generic “us” that we need to fulfill all righteousness. There is more involved here. Jesus is setting the pattern for believers to come. By being baptized, he was setting the model for all of us to be baptized. In fact, in Matthew 28 His final commission to His disciples was 19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
There still remains a question – “Why was baptism so important to Jesus? He wanted to make sure that we stood within the setting of Judaism. We are connected to the Old Testament and the prophets. He was giving us roots. Without roots we cannot grow. We are grafted to the vine, no doubt, but He is the vine. We are to be firmly planted in the soil of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
For e.g. When I went home to visit my parents, they began to tell me about properties and how they were handling it and if I was okay with it. I’ve been gone for so long that I didn’t think it was my business. Their answer – “Son, you left physically but you are just as much a part of this family.”
But don’t miss verse 16 – When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; By the way, that tells you that Jesus was not sprinkled.
Application: Have you been baptized? Jesus did it and He commanded us to be. Have you been baptized by immersion?
III. A DOCTRINE WAS DEMONSTRATED
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.”
Background: Even though Jesus wanted us to be firmly planted within the soil of Judaism and the Old Testament, there was more. Here we meet the Trinity. That God was one and yet there was more was introduced right from the beginning – Genesis 1:26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image.” Again, when after the Great Flood the people began to build the Tower of Babel (temple of sun worship), it says that God said in Genesis 11:7 “Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.” But here we see the plurality of the godhead clearly identified. First, we see Jesus the Son of God coming up out of the water. Second, we see the Spirit of God descending upon Him. Third, we hear the voice of the Father in heaven saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
There you have it – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It’s easy to believe but hard to explain. As someone said, “Try to explain it and you’ll loose your mind but try to deny it and you’ll loose your soul.”
Application: What kind of a God do you believe in? Is He the Triune God? Do you have a relationship with each member of the Trinity.
IV. A PROMISE WAS GIVEN
32 And John bore witness, saying, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him. 33 I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God.”
Background: Once again John reminds the listeners that Jesus will Baptize with the Holy Spirit. What does that mean? It means that our baptism is also a symbol of a much greater baptism, that of the Holy Spirit. By it we are now connected to the Triune God. The Holy Spirit helps us keep our eyes on Jesus. He convicts us of sin in our lives. He assures us that we belong to God. He reminds us of the Word of God – the Bible. He guides and directs our lives.
It is so vital to make sure that we don’t grieve nor quench Him. Daily we must submit to His leadership and follow Him without hesitation. We need to keep the channels clean and not let sin interfere with His work in our lives.
Application: Do you know Jesus as your Savior? Have you been baptized by immersion? Do you realize that the Holy Spirit is now available to you every moment for every need? Are you totally submitted to Him?