Monday, June 9, 2014

Buried With Him In Baptism

Why did Jesus get baptized in Matthew 3? What righteousness was He fulfilling?

That is a great question. We are going to need to remember John, Jesus cousin for this one. According to Dispensationalism ... wait ... what's a dispensation? Glad you asked.

Dispensation is the word used to describe how God communicates with man. The word can be found used throughout the New Testament letters and literally is translated "administration" or "the way one runs a house." Throughout history we see clearly that God changes the ways that He communicates with man. Certain denominations are very strictly literal with their adherence to the dispensations ... that once gone they are forever gone while others are more liberal ... that God can do as He wishes as He sees fit. There are differing views of what those dispensations are that cause more conflict within believers because they become polarized in their Scripture interpretations. Specifically, if any Scripture interpretation goes against their dispensational beliefs it is considered erroneous ... a very dangerous way of dividing Scripture. Dispensations are man's attempts to describe God ... Scripture is His Word. The only source that should be used to counter what is felt to be an error of interpretation of Scripture should be Scripture itself.

The basic rundown of Biblical explanation concerning God's various ways of running His house are:

1 - Direct
2 - Patriarchal
3 - Law
     3a - Priest - Mosaic
     3b - Prophet
     3c - Baptist - Preparing
4 - Grace
5 - Judgment
6 - Eternal

These are not to be seen as anything other than my view on what the Bible says and the basic run down of all of the dispensational explanations I have witnessed. They are a general explanation of where I see the various opinions agree and most importantly where I see them agree with Scripture.

Let's take a close look at what Gabriel told us that John's purpose was to be:

Luke 1:15-17 For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb. 16 And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, 'TO TURN THE HEARTS OF THE FATHERS TO THE CHILDREN,' and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."
This fulfilled the prophesy of Malachi:

Malachi 4:5-6 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD. 6 And he will turn The hearts of the fathers to the children, And the hearts of the children to their fathers, Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.
So John was sent to prepare people for the coming of Jesus Christ. They were so indoctrinated under the external appearance of justification under the Law that their insides needed to be ... primed (for lack of a better word). It is felt by many that those who responded to John's call to be baptized were the remnant spoke of many times throughout the latter parts of the Old Testament. In John's day, the priesthood was thoroughly corrupted .. they were employed and empowered by the Romans so much that many of the priests were not even of the house of Levi! John's call to repentance from the heart was truly unique, and very new! He was telling them for probably the first time that what was inside of a man is what truly counts.

Read Luke chapter 3 ... John's zeal and call to repentance for the soon coming arrival of the Messiah is obvious. Remember that water baptism was the precursor to the baptism of fire John spoke of ... Jesus. Water baptism was a symbolic gesture of what was happening inside ... dying to oneself ... being raised to walk in newness of life (Romans 6:4).

Jesus chose to be baptized to fulfill the righteousness of the Law that John was sent to prepare. So by being baptized, people were submitting to John's calling by God by being washed of their impurities preparing them for the arrival of the Christ. When Jesus was baptized by John (with no sin to be cleansed of) He was submitting to God's calling through John to be prepared to take on the ministry as the Christ.

That all is very interesting but Jesus' baptism was necessary for one more important reason: Jesus was to be the high priest over the house of God. Remember that the high priest was initiated into his office by the washing of water and by the anointing of oil.

Leviticus 8:5-12 And Moses said to the congregation, "This is what the LORD commanded to be done." 6 Then Moses brought Aaron and his sons and washed them with water. 7 And he put the tunic on him, girded him with the sash, clothed him with the robe, and put the ephod on him; and he girded him with the intricately woven band of the ephod, and with it tied the ephod on him. 8 Then he put the breastplate on him, and he put the Urim and the Thummim in the breastplate. 9 And he put the turban on his head. Also on the turban, on its front, he put the golden plate, the holy crown, as the LORD had commanded Moses. 10 Also Moses took the anointing oil, and anointed the tabernacle and all that was in it, and consecrated them. 11 He sprinkled some of it on the altar seven times, anointed the altar and all its utensils, and the laver and its base, to consecrate them. 12 And he poured some of the anointing oil on Aaron's head and anointed him, to consecrate him.
When Jesus was baptized, He was washed in the water and then anointed by the Holy Ghost.

John 1:28 These things were done in Bethabara beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing. 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! 30 This is He of whom I said, 'After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me.' 31 I did not know Him; but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water." 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."
Therefore He fulfilled the righteous ordinance of his initiation into the office of high priest (Hebrews 8&9), and now was prepared to be the atonement for the sins of all people.
That's my take anyways ... awesome question.  So what are your thoughts?

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  1. You totally answered the question as I needed it answered! I knew something was missing in my thinking (specifically the OT/Hebrews connection)! Thank you!

    1. Your leisure is my pleasure ... it was a great question.