John the Baptist said to Jesus who came to be baptised, “Do you come to me? It is I who needs to be baptised by you”. We would have said the same, because when the one without sin, God’s holy one, Jesus comes to be baptised by John the Baptist, everyone knows that John’s baptism is for those who repent of their sins and need to be washed clean – so why is God’s Holy one coming for baptism?
Firstly, Jesus has come to identify himself with those who fall short of Gods will for themselves. HE has come to carry the sins of many and you cannot do that without being made one with sinners first. Being baptised by John the Baptist seals that profound truth – that Jesus identifies Himself with sinners. His name means “Saviour” and He has come to save us from our sins.
Secondly, Baptism for Jesus marks a new beginning in his work. – he is switching his role in mid-career from being a master carpenter to representing his Heavenly father in a unique rescue mission to save all who will come to believe in God in a new way. ‘No one comes to the father except by me’. That’s the bottom line. Three years of undiluted consecrated obedience to his fathers will.
Jesus was given his name 8 days after his birth when, as was expected of every Jewish boy, he was circumcised and became part of the covenant God made with Abraham. Jewish/ Christian parents would expect their children to be part of the family of believers in the new covenant. So the baptism of infant into the Christian family was a natural progression in the life of believers.
This morning G and N (a South African family living in Australia), will present their twin daughters for baptism. Their family members are with us, including two of the grandparents.
Both parents, G and N, are committed members of the Christian church and so we ask the Lords Blessing on the whole family.
Today’s baptism will remind us of our own baptism when we became members of the body of Christ. Baptism into Christ is not a once off ceremony, it is the beginning of a process in which each one will learn and be challenged to die to the old self-centred way of living and to tap in to the resurrection’s life of Jesus Himself – every day of our life.
By God’s grace – with his spiritual power – we are able to do what the world thinks impossible!
Now we can love with Christ’s self-sacrificial love, we can forgive to the innermost.
We can be divinely creative, even in mature age, able to think and do great things for God and our neighbours/ we can face adversity with courage and faith and inner joy. Moreover, we can face that most frightening of events, death, as the martyrs did, with long term foresight and patience. The baptised person may be in this world for a few months or a few years or for 90 years, but on the other side of death there is a continuation of a life with God in a way now partially hidden from us, but a life which is real and true and joyful and eternal. 1 Corinthians 2:9 “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him.”
All this began in Holy Baptism when God the Holy Spirit in his creative, dynamic gentle way begins the relationship with each one which has to be nurtured, encouraged and received personally. Here is no greater gift, anywhere, ever. John the Baptist was spot-on when he told Jesus “I need to be baptised by you.” Jesus Himself was the baptiser this morning.
Welcome J and M to a real life – a new life with God forever.