Coram Deo: Thursday Matins

Rev. Brent Kuhlman

Matthew 3:13-17

Well, there you are! Man alive, it’s really good to see you again! Where have you been Jesus? We’d lost track of you. It’s been eighteen years since we’ve last heard from you. You were a twelve-year old kid amazingly wowing the Bible teachers and seminary professors at Temple Jerusalem with your knowledge of the Scriptures! Then you went back home and lived in Nazarene obscurity. TMZ Palestine couldn’t even keep tabs on you! And now here you are! Thirty years old! The clock is ticking! Are you finally ready to crank up a kingdom of heaven on the earth? Are you at last going to get all this Messiah business off the ground? You are? That’s great! It’s about time!

Hold on! Wait a minute Jesus! What are you doing? Don’t go there! John, aren’t you going to say something? Get Jesus away from the riverside! Somebody stop Him! This is the last place in the world Messiah should be!

John, your baptism is for sinners! Losers! Screw-ups! Flunkies! Greasers! Critters! Deadbeat sinners that deserve the wrath of God! Brood of viper reprobates that have earned eternal damnation! The Jordan River is teeming with their filthy, foul, rotten, salacious, nasty, obscene sin! And you, Jesus, want to get hip deep in that? Up to your armpits?

That’s it John! Keep Him out! Don’t you dare baptize Jesus! Tell Him John! He should baptize you. He should baptize all of us chief of sinners! He is the Holy One!

And to our dismay, Jesus keeps insisting on it! “Baptize me John,” Jesus says. “After all, this IS all part of getting my Messiahship in gear. All part of cranking up a kingdom of heaven on the earth! Of doing a salvation that only I can do!” And that’s when John finally caves!

You’re freakin’ us out here John! Jesus doesn’t belong here we tell you! Sin and Jesus don’t go together! Stop John! You just can’t let this happen! Surely you are smart enough to know that if you let Jesus step into that toxic and polluted water, it will kill Him! What then of His Messiah business? His kingdom of heaven on the earth? You’ll be flushing all that down the toilet because He’ll end up graveyard dead if He’s baptized in that sin-infested water!

John doesn’t listen to us. He listens to Jesus. And he does it! He baptizes Jesus in the Jordan!

And yes, all the contaminated, toxic, poisonous, noxious water full of sin will be lethal. Totally deadly!

And that doesn’t bother Jesus one bit! In fact, He is quite bullish about it. This is precisely why He’s there in the water. To absorb all deadly sin in His body like a sponge! Seriously! Yours. Mine. The entire world’s. Why?

In order to take it to Calvary to do a Good Friday! That’s an afternoon you can call “good” for a reason. For on the tree He who knew no sin was made to be sin! On Him was laid the iniquities of us all. You name them. He doesn’t leave any out! So that He is counted as MAXIMUM SINNER! The greatest thief, murderer, liar, adulterer, idolater with all sin borne in His body! Shedding His blood as the atoning sacrifice for sin – once for all! For you! And for the world!

And that’s precisely why heaven breaks wide open! That’s why the Father is delighted! “Do you see that Jesus? He’s MY Son! I love Him! I couldn’t be more pleased with Him! After all, He’s doing exactly what I sent Him to do! To be the sin bearer! To be the Savior!”

And for such Messiah work – for getting His kingdom of heaven business cranked up – the Holy Spirit descends upon Jesus in dove form. Jesus is anointed, consecrated (set apart) and empowered by the Spirit for doing the salvation job. That Jesus takes sin, all your sin and all its damnation, in order to answer for it is a Holy Spirit- filled ministry!

Would you still try to keep Jesus out of the water?

I didn’t think so. Time to repent of all that. And all the rest of your sin while you’re at it. For I have good news for you!

This Jordan River Baptism leads to dark – deadly -- but Good Friday. Jesus: Savior – FOR YOU SINNER!

His Baptism and Good Friday count for you. You, sinner, are died for. And you are baptized. Yes, you too, were plunged into the water. A baptismal font! And there Jesus pulled you into the only death that answers for all your sin, its condemnation, and God’s wrath! In Holy Baptism you have been baptized into Jesus’ death! “Buried with Him through baptism into death.” And then “raised .. to new live a new life.” All your sin is forgiven. For the blood of Jesus in the baptismal water cleanses you from all sin.

In the Name of Jesus.

Created: August 15th, 2011