My Daily Journal:
Forewarning: At the risk of sounding gross… Here is an illustration about the different baptisms of John and Jesus and a perspective on why Jesus decided to be baptized:
Imagine you have a sack or bag made out of cotton, like t-shirt material. You use this sack when “walking your dog” and you use it to pick up the dog poo. You then carry this bag with you wherever you go, and it gets more and more full every day.
As gross as this sounds to be carrying around, this is what sin is in our life. Every time we sin, we scoop a little more gross, offensive material in our bag. That was, in particular, how it was in the time of John the Baptist. Everyone had sin, everyone had a gross, stinky, porous bag of poo.
John called people to recognize they were carrying this around with them every day and to do something about it. They couldn’t get rid of it, but by confessing and being baptized they could at least clean the outside of it. By repenting they could commit to putting less new poo in the bag.
People got the message. They came from near and far. But some people (mostly the leaders) were in denial about their bag of poo. They thought that if their bag was less full than someone else’s, theirs didn’t stink. Some of them tried to dress up their bag of poo to mask or hide it. They would dress it up in pretty robes or sprinkle it with perfume. When they showed up at the river they tried to not even bring their bag of poo with them – pretending it didn’t exist. But it did. John caught a strong whiff of it and rebuked them. He called it what it was!
But here is the deal – John only had the ability to wash the outside of the bag. Then one day, along comes Jesus and an amazing thing happens.
Jesus, the one and only person ever who did not have a bag of poo (because he had no sin), chose to get in the water. Imagine what this water (where all the poo bags where being rinsed) was like. Along comes the King of Kings, perfectly clean, and he made the choice to climb in this filthy water with His subjects, the commoners and all their sin
He chose to take on our filthy rags so that he could “fulfill all righteousness) so we could become clean and enter into His Father’s Palace. This choice was huge – in many ways just as big if not bigger than being born a human, because this marks the start of His choice to His obedience to the Father’s plan of salvation. This is the start to the pain and suffering. This is the start to the path that leads to an undeserved death.
But, in so doing, Jesus is setting the stage for a new baptism. One that doesn’t just clean the outside in water, but through the blood of His sacrifice, it opened the door to the Holy Spirit to do the work in us of cleaning and purifying us inside and out, transforming us into saints, pure and clean.
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
they shall be like wool.”
- Isaiah 1:18
Like the “wool” of the unblemished Lamb of God.
‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’
The voice of God and the spirit came down as a dove and remained on him
“This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
Hear the preaching of baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, Come to the river, Confess their sins, be baptized
He had no sins to confess
To fulfill all righteousness – to submit to the plan of God in obedience as fully human to be joined with mankind.
Ps 40:8 I desire to do your will, my God. Isaiah 11:2 The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him (as he came out of the waters of baptism)