Sabbath, February 14, 2009
“John had been deeply moved as he saw Jesus bowed as a suppliant, pleading with tears for the approval of the Father. As the glory of God encircled Him, and the voice from heaven was heard, John recognized the token which God had promised. He knew that it was the world’s Redeemer whom he had baptized. The Holy Spirit rested upon him, and with outstretched hand pointing to Jesus, he cried, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.’” –The Desire of Ages, p. 112.
JOHN THE BAPTIST’S MINISTRY
1. Before Jesus began His public ministry, what spiritual awakening took place? Why was this particularly important?
Matthew 3:1, 2 In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Mark 1:4 John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.
Luke 7:29 And all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John.
“John was to go forth as Jehovah’s messenger, to bring to men the light of God. He must give a new direction to their thoughts. He must impress them with the holiness of God’s requirements, and their need of His perfect righteousness. Such a messenger must be holy. He must be a temple for the indwelling Spirit of God.…
“In preparing the way for Christ’s first advent, he was a representative of those who are to prepare a people for our Lord’s second coming….
“John proclaimed the coming of the Messiah, and called the people to repentance. As a symbol of cleansing from sin, he baptized them in the waters of the Jordan. Thus by a significant object lesson he declared that those who claimed to be the chosen people of God were defiled by sin, and that without purification of heart and life they could have no part in the Messiah’s kingdom.” –The Desire of Ages, pp. 100, 101, 105.
THE REASON FOR JESUS’ BAPTISM
2. Why did Jesus go to John the Baptist to be baptized?
Matthew 3:13 Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.
“Tidings of the wilderness prophet and his wonderful announcement, spread throughout Galilee. The message reached the peasants in the remotest hill towns, and the fisher folk by the sea, and in these simple, earnest hearts found its truest response. In Nazareth it was told in the carpenter shop that had been Joseph’s, and One recognized the call. His time had come. Turning from His daily toil, He bade farewell to His mother, and followed in the steps of His countrymen who were flocking to the Jordan.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 109.
3. For John the Baptist, what was amazing about Jesus’ coming to him to be baptized?
Matthew 3:14 But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?
“When Jesus came to be baptized, John recognized in Him a purity of character that he had never before perceived in any man. The very atmosphere of His presence was holy and awe-inspiring. Among the multitudes that had gathered about him at the Jordan, John had heard dark tales of crime, and had met souls bowed down with the burden of myriad sins; but never had he come in contact with a human being from whom there breathed an influence so divine. All this was in harmony with what had been revealed to John regarding the Messiah. Yet he shrank from granting the request of Jesus. How could he, a sinner, baptize the Sinless One? And why should He who needed no repentance submit to a rite that was a confession of guilt to be washed away?” –The Desire of Ages, p. 110.
4. Why did Jesus come to be baptized by John, when He had no sins to repent of or to confess? What did this important step signify in Christ’s mission to the world?
Matthew 3:15 And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness. Then he suffered him.
“Jesus did not receive baptism as a confession of guilt on His own account. He identified Himself with sinners, taking the steps that we are to take, and doing the work that we must do. His life of suffering and patient endurance after His baptism was also an example to us.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 111.
“The divine beauty of the character of Christ, of whom the noblest and most gentle among men are but a faint reflection; of whom Solomon by the Spirit of inspiration wrote, He is ‘the chiefest among ten thousand,… yea, He is altogether lovely’ (Song of Solomon 5:10-16); of whom David, seeing Him in prophetic vision, said, ‘Thou art fairer than the children of men’ (Psalm 45:2); Jesus, the express image of the Father’s person, the effulgence of His glory; the self-denying Redeemer, throughout His pilgrimage of love on earth, was a living representation of the character of the law of God. In His life it is made manifest that heaven-born love, Christlike principles, underlie the laws of eternal rectitude….
“Speaking of the law, Jesus said, ‘I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.’ He here used the word ‘fulfill’ in the same sense as when He declared to John the Baptist His purpose to ‘fulfill all righteousness’ (Matthew 3:15); that is, to fill up the measure of the law’s requirement, to give an example of perfect conformity to the will of God.” –Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, pp. 48, 49.
HIS FATHER’S SIGN OF ACCEPTANCE AND APPROVAL
5. Immediately after Jesus’ baptism, what glorious sign of approval came from heaven and rested upon Him?
Matthew 3:16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:
Luke 3:21 Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened,
John 1:32 And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him.
“When Christ bowed on the banks of Jordan, after His baptism, the heavens were opened, and the Spirit descended in the form of a dove, like burnished gold, and encircled Him with its glory; and the voice of God from the highest heaven was heard, saying, ‘ This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’ The prayer of Christ in man’s behalf opened the gates of heaven, and the Father had responded, accepting the petition for the fallen race. Jesus prayed as our substitute and surety, and now the human family may find access to the Father through the merits of His well-beloved Son.… The light that encircled the divine Son of God will fall upon the pathway of all who follow in His footsteps. There is no reason for discouragement. The promises of God are sure and steadfast.” –My Life Today, p. 260.
6. What other divine testimony was given?
Matthew 3:17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
Luke 3:22 And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.
John 1:33, 34 And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.
“Jesus was our example in all things that pertain to life and godliness. He was baptized in Jordan, just as those who come to Him must be baptized. The heavenly angels were looking with intense interest upon the scene of the Saviour’s baptism, and could the eyes of those who were looking on, have been opened, they would have seen the heavenly host surrounding the Son of God as He bowed on the banks of the Jordan. The Lord had promised to give John a sign whereby he might know who was the Messiah, and now as Jesus went up out of the water, the promised sign was given; for he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit of God, like a dove of burnished gold, hovered over the head of Christ, and a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’… Jesus, the world’s Redeemer, has opened the way so that the most sinful, the most needy, the most oppressed and despised, may find access to the Father–may have a home in the mansions which Jesus has gone to prepare for those who love Him.” –Sons and Daughters of God, p. 133.
SIMULTANEOUSLY MONARCH AND MAN
7. How old was Jesus at the time of His baptism? What was significant about this?
Luke 3:23 And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli.
“… Behold Christ, who was Monarch in heaven, equal with God, coming down to humanity, and working out the plan of redemption, breaking off from man the chains wherewith Satan had bound him, and making it possible for him to regain his godlike manhood. Christ taking upon Himself humanity, and preserving the level of man for thirty years, and then making His soul an offering for sin, that man might not be left to perish, is a subject for the deepest thought and the most concentrated study….” –Messages to Young People, p. 255.
“Christ was the only sinless one who ever dwelt on earth; yet for nearly thirty years He lived among the wicked inhabitants of Nazareth. This fact is a rebuke to those who think themselves dependent upon place, fortune, or prosperity, in order to live a blameless life. Temptation, poverty, adversity, is the very discipline needed to develop purity and firmness.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 72.
“Those who have risen with Christ to walk in newness of life are the elect of God. They are holy unto the Lord, and are acknowledged by Him as His beloved. As such, they are under solemn covenant to distinguish themselves by showing humility of mind. They are to clothe themselves in garments of righteousness. They are separate from the world, from its spirit, its practices, and they are to reveal that they are learning of Him…. If they realize that they have died with Christ, if they keep their baptismal vow, the world will have no power to draw them aside to deny Christ. If they live the life of Christ in this world, they are partakers of the divine nature.” –Sons and Daughters of God, p. 133.