< Matthew 3:13-17 >
Is There Anyone Who Still Suffers from Sin?
Our Lord God has cut off the shackles of sin for all people. All those who have a hard time under sin are slaves of sin, but With His redemption, our Lord cut them off absolutely. He removed all our sins. Is there anyone who still suffers from sin?
We have to understand that our warfare against sin has ended. We shall never suffer in sin again. Our bondage to sin ended when Jesus redeemed us with His baptism and blood. All our sins ended then and there. The Son of God has expiated all our sins. God paid for all our sins through Jesus, who set us free, forever.
Do you know how much people suffer from their sins? It started from the time of Adam and Eve. Mankind suffers from the sins inherited from Adam.
But our God made a covenant which is written in Genesis 3:15, and the covenant was that He would deliver all sinners. He said that humans would be redeemed of their sins through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ by the water and the Spirit. When the time came, God sent our Savior, Jesus, to live among us.
He also promised to send John the Baptist ahead of Jesus and He kept His promise.
Mark 1:1-8 states, "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in the Prophets: 'Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, who will prepare Your way before You.' The voice of one crying in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the Lord, make His paths straight.' John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. And all the land of Judea, and those from Jerusalem, went out to him and were all baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel's hair, and with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. And he preached, saying, 'There comes One after me who is mightier than I, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to stoop down and loose. I indeed baptized you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.'"
John the Baptist, the Witness and Forerunner of the Gospel, John the Baptist
Baptism in Greek, 'baptizo,' essentially means to 'submerge', but it also implies 'to be washed, to be buried, to be immersed, or to pass on to.' When Jesus was baptized, the righteousness of God was fulfilled. 'Righteousness' is 'dikaiosune' in Greek, which means 'to be just,' and it also means 'most proper,' 'most fitting,' or 'the fairest state'
Jesus was baptized so that He could become the Savior in the most fitting and proper manner. Therefore, those who believe in Jesus' baptism and the Cross receive the gift of redemption from God.
In the New Testament, John the Baptist is the last High Priest of the Old Testament. Let's look at Matthew 11:10-11. The Scripture says that John the Baptist is the representative of mankind and as the High Priest in the era of the New Testament, he passed all the sins of the world onto Jesus; thus ministering the high priesthood of the Old Testament.
Jesus Himself bore witness to John Himself. He said, in Matthew 11:13-14, "For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah who is to come." Therefore, John the Baptist, who baptized Jesus, was a descendant of the High Priest Aaron and the last high priest. The Bible also testified to John's being a descendant of Aaron in the Old Testament (Luke 1:5, 1 Chronicles 24:10).
Then why did John live in the wilderness alone, dressed in a cloth made from camel's hair? It was to assume the high priesthood. As the representative of all mankind, John the Baptist could not live among people. So, he cried out to the people, "Repent, you brood of vipers!" and baptized them for the fruit of repentance in order to return people to Jesus, who would take away all their sins. Most of all, John the Baptist passed the sins of the world onto Jesus for our salvation when he laid his hands on Jesus' head.
Two Kinds of Baptism
John the Baptist baptized people and then baptized Jesus. The first was 'the baptism of repentance,' which called upon sinners to return to God. Many people who heard the words of God through John abandoned their idols and returned to Him.
The second baptism was the baptism of Jesus, the baptism that passed all the sins of the world onto Jesus. John the Baptist baptized Jesus to fulfill the righteousness of God. In other words, Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist to save all people from their sins (Matthew 3:15).
Why did John have to baptize Jesus? In order to blot out the sins of the world, God had to let John pass all sins onto Jesus so that people who believed in Him could be saved.
John the Baptist was a servant of God whose mission was to pass all the sins of the world onto Jesus through the baptism, and to bear witness to Jesus in order for all of mankind to repent and be washed of their sins by believing in the gospel of redemption. Therefore, John had to live alone in the wilderness. In the time of John the Baptist, the people of Israel were all corrupt and rotten to the core.
So God had said in the Old Testament, Malachi 4:5-6, "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. 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."
In the eyes of God, all the people of Israel who had worshiped Jehovah before were corrupt. No one was righteous before Him. The religious leaders of the temple, for example, priests, lawyers and the scribes were especially rotten to the core. Israelites and their priests did not offer the lawful sacrifices according to the law of God.
The priests had abandoned the laying on of hands and the ritual of the offering of blood, which God had given them for the atonement of their sins. It is recorded that the priests in the days of Malachi had abandoned the lawful sacrificial system, the laying on of hands and the offering of the blood of the sacrificial animal.
Therefore, John the Baptist could not stay with them. He went out to the wilderness and cried out. What did he say?
It is written in Mark 1:2-3, quoting the words of the prophet Isaiah, "Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, who will prepare Your way before You. The voice of one crying in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the Lord, make His paths straight.'"
The voice in the wilderness cried out to people for the baptism of repentance. What is the 'baptism of repentance' the Bible talks about? It is the baptism which John the Baptist cried out for; the baptism that called people back to Jesus so that they would believe in Him, who would take away all their sins and be saved. The baptism of repentance was to lead them to salvation.
"Repent and be baptized. Our Savior Jesus will be baptized in the same way to take away all your sins." The cry of John the Baptist was that Jesus would take away the sins of the world and be judged on the Cross to save all people, so that they might come back to God.
"I indeed baptized you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit." 'Baptize you with the Holy Spirit' means to wash away all your sins. To baptize means 'to wash.' The baptism of Jesus at the Jordan River tells us that the Son of God was thus baptized and took away all our sins to save us.
Therefore, we are to turn back from our sinful lives and believe in Him. He is the Lamb who took away the world's sins. This is the gospel of redemption to which John the Baptist testified.
The Task of the High Priest for the Atonement of Sins
The Prophet Isaiah had prophesied, "Speak comfort to Jerusalem, and cry out to her, that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned; for she has received from the Lord's hand double for all her sins" (Isaiah 40:2).
Jesus Christ took away all our sins without exception; original sin, present sins, and even future sins were washed away through His baptism. He redeemed us all. We should all know about God's redemption.
To be saved from all our sins, we must believe in the gospel that states that John the Baptist passed all sins onto Jesus through the means of baptism.
We should not misunderstand, thinking, "Since God is love, we can enter the Kingdom of Heaven only by believing in Jesus, even if we have sin in our hearts."
In order to be redeemed of all our sins, we have to believe in His baptism, through which John the Baptist passed all the sins of the world onto Jesus and the Cross. It is by 'the water' that John the Baptist passed all the sins of mankind onto Jesus.
The first thing God did to save us was to send John to this world. As the messenger of God, John the Baptist was sent as the ambassador to the King, who passed all the sins of the world onto Jesus through baptism. He ministered the high priesthood of all mankind.
God told us that He sent His messenger, John the Baptist, to us. "I send My messenger before Your face." Before Your face means before Jesus. Why did God send John before Jesus? It was to pass on all the sins of the world onto Jesus, the Son of God, through baptism. "He will prepare Your way before You." This is what the passage really means.
Who is the one who prepared the way so that we could be redeemed and go to Heaven? John the Baptist. 'Your' means Jesus and 'My' means God Himself. Therefore, when He said, "I send My messenger before Your face, who will prepare Your way before You," what does it mean?
Who is to prepare our way so that we may go to Heaven? John the Baptist passed all our sins onto Jesus so that we would believe He washed them all away; his task was to pass on the sins by baptizing Jesus Christ. It was Jesus and John who made it possible for us to believe in the truth and be redeemed.
On what does our salvation depend? It depends on whether we believe in the righteous acts of Jesus, the Son of God, and the fact that the messenger of God, John the Baptist, had passed all the sins of the world onto Him. We should all know the gospel of the remission of sins. God the Father sent His messenger ahead, the one who would baptize His Son, and made him the representative of mankind. Thus, He completed the work of redemption for us.
God sent His servant John the Baptist to baptize His Son so that he could prepare the way for salvation for those who believed in Jesus. That is the reason why John baptized Jesus. The baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist was the fulfillment of God's redemption through which all the sins of mankind were passed onto Him so that all people might believe in Jesus and go to Heaven.
Even the future sins of mankind were passed onto Jesus through His baptism. Jesus and John the Baptist together prepared the way to Heaven for all of us. In this way, God revealed the secret of redemption through John the Baptist.
As the representative of humankind, John baptized Jesus so that we might believe in our redemption and go to Heaven. He passed all sin onto Jesus through baptism. This is the joyous news of redemption, the gospel.
Why Was John the Baptist Born?
In Malachi 3:1, it is written, "Behold, I send My messenger, and he will prepare the way before Me." You have to read the Bible carefully. Why did God send His messenger before Jesus? Why was John the Baptist born prior 6 months to Jesus?
We have to understand what the Bible is all about. The Old Testament states the task of the High Priest Aaron. Aaron was the older brother of Moses. God anointed him and his sons as priests. The other Levites worked under them, bringing them assorted utensils, mixing the batter for the bread and such, while the sons of Aaron offered the sacrifice inside the holy tabernacle.
Aaron's sons were anointed to share an equal amount of work among them, but on the Day of Atonement, the tenth day of the seventh month, the High Priest alone offered the sacrifice of atonement for his people's yearly sins.
In Luke 1:5, there is a story about the lineage of John the Baptist. We have to correctly understand this messenger of God to understand Jesus properly. We tend to think a lot about Jesus, but ignore much about John the Baptist, who came before Him. I would like to help you understand.
"The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in the Prophets, Behold I send My messenger before Your face, who will prepare Your way before you" (Mark 1:1-2). The gospel of Heaven always starts with John the Baptist.
When we fully learn about John the Baptist, we can clearly understand and believe in the gospel of the redemption of Jesus. It is similar to listening to the ambassadors we have dispatched all over the world in order to understand the situations of all nations. When we know about John the Baptist, we can understand the redemption of God very well.
What a pity it is, however, that so many Christians these days do not see the importance of John. God didn't send John the Baptist because He was bored and had nothing else to do. All the four Gospels of the New Testament talk about John the Baptist before talking about the redemption of Jesus.
But the evangelists of today ignore him completely and tell people that just believing in Jesus is enough to be saved. They are in fact leading people to live as sinners all their lives and end up in hell. If all the Christians just believe in Jesus without understanding the role of John the Baptist, Christianity would be depraved into a worldly religion. How can you be redeemed of your sins if you do not know the truth? It is impossible.
The gospel of redemption is neither that simple nor that easy. So many people think that redemption lies in our faiths in the Cross because Jesus died on the Cross for us. However, if you believe only in His crucifixion without knowing the whole truth of the passing on of sins, such faith will not lead to complete redemption, no matter how strong your faith may be.
God sent John the Baptist to let the world know how redemption was to be accomplished and how Jesus would take away the sins of the world. Only when we know the whole truth will we understand that Jesus is the Son of God, who took all our sins onto Himself.
John the Baptist tells us about the truth of redemption. He tells us how he came to testify that Jesus was God and the true Light. He clearly asserted that he was not that Light, but the witness of the Light. He also testified in John 1 that it was he who prepared the gospel of redemption by baptizing Jesus Christ.
If we didn't have the testimony on redemption by John the Baptist, how could we believe in Jesus? We have never seen Jesus, and when we come from different cultures and religions, how is it possible to believe in Jehovah as our God?
Having such diverse religions throughout the world, how could we know Jesus Christ? How could we know that Jesus was in fact the Son of God, who redeemed us by taking all the sins of the world upon Himself?
We have to look into the Old Testament to find the words of redemption from the beginning and to know that Jesus is our Savior. We have to obtain the correct knowledge to have the correct faith. There's nothing we can do without true knowledge. In order to believe in Jesus and be saved, we have to know the gospel of the redemption that John the Baptist testified to and his role in it. To have complete faith in Christ, we have to know the truth about redemption.
Therefore, as Jesus said, "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free," we have to know the truth of redemption in Jesus.
The Proofs in the Bible
Let us go ahead to explore all the proofs of redemption in the Bible. Let us uncover what the four Gospels say about John the Baptist, about who he was, why he was called 'the representative of mankind' or 'the last High Priest,' how all the sins of the world were passed onto Jesus through him, and whether Jesus took away all our sins onto Himself or not.
We should pay attention to the fact that all four Gospels start with John the Baptist. John 1:6 states one of the most important facts in the gospel. It tells us who performed the task of passing all the sins of the world onto Jesus. "There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe" (John 1:6-7).
It says, 'all through him might believe,' and that he was 'to bear witness of the Light.' The Light is Jesus Christ. It means that John was to bear witness to Jesus so that all might believe through him. Now, let's take a closer look at Matthew chapter 3.
In Matthew 3:13-17, "Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. And John tried to prevent Him, saying, 'I have need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?' But Jesus answered and said to him, 'Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.' Then he allowed Him. Then Jesus, when He had been baptized, came up immediately from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, 'This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.'"
John the Baptist baptized Jesus to accomplish the remission of all the sins in the world. The baptism that Jesus received from John was the most important event for our salvation. But to understand and believe the whole truth in full detail, we should closely study John the Baptist first.
In Luke 1:1-14, "Inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative of those things which are most surely believed among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus, that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed. There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah. His wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both well advanced in years. So it was, that while he was serving as priest before God in the order of his division, according to the custom of the priesthood, his lot fell to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. And the whole multitude of the people was praying outside at the hour of incense. Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said to him, 'Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth.'"
Here, Luke, a disciple of Jesus, tells us in detail the lineage of John. Luke, a disciple of Jesus, explains the lineage of John from the beginning. Luke had taught the gospel to a man named Theophilus, who was from a different culture and didn't know about the Lord.
So, in order to teach him about Jesus, the Savior of sinners, Luke thought that he needed to explain the lineage of John the Baptist in detail. As we are also Gentiles from different races, we cannot understand the salvation of Jesus if it isn't specifically explained, step by step. Let's find out what the details are.
In Luke 1:5-9, he narrates, "There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah. His wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both well advanced in years. So it was, that while he was serving as priest before God in the order of his division, according to the custom of the priesthood."
Here, an incident occurred while Zacharias was serving God, according to the custom of the priesthood. Luke testified clearly that Zacharias was a descendant of Aaron. Then, what division did Zacharias belong to? This is a very important point.
He explained, "While Zacharias was serving as priest before God in the order of his division." We can see that Luke knew about Zacharias so well that he explained the gospel of redemption by mentioning both Zacharias and Elizabeth.
John the Baptist was born to Zacharias and his wife Elizabeth, who was one of the daughters of Aaron. Now, let's look at the lineage of Zacharias, the father of John.
The Lineage of John the Baptist
To understand the lineage of John the Baptist, we have to read the Old Testament, 1 Chronicles 24:1-19.
"Now these are the divisions of the sons of Aaron. The sons of Aaron were Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. And Nadab and Abihu died before their father, and had no children; therefore Eleazar and Ithamar ministered as priests. Then David with Zadok of the sons of Eleazar, and Ahimelech of the sons of Ithamar, divided them according to the schedule of their service. Now there were more leaders found of the sons of Eleazar than of the sons of Ithamar, and thus they were divided. Among the sons of Eleazar there were sixteen heads of their fathers' houses, and eight heads of their fathers' houses among the sons of Ithamar. Thus they were divided by lot, one group as another, for there were officials of the sanctuary and officials of the house of God, from the sons of Eleazar and from the sons of Ithamar. And the scribe, Shemaiah the son of Nethaneel, one of the Levites, wrote them down before the king, the leaders, Zadok the priest, Ahimelech the son of Abiathar, and the heads of the fathers' houses of the priests and Levites, one father's house taken for Eleazar and one for Ithamar. Now the first lot fell to Jehoiarib, the second to Jedaiah, the third to Harim, the fourth to Seorim, the fifth to Malchijah, the sixth to Mijamin, the seventh to Hakkoz, the eighth to Abijah, the ninth to Jeshua, the tenth to Shecaniah, the eleventh to Eliashib, the twelfth to Jakim, the thirteenth to Huppah, the fourteenth to Jeshebeab, the fifteenth to Bilgah, the sixteenth to Immer, the seventeenth to Hezir, the eighteenth to Happizzez, the nineteenth to Pethahiah, the twentieth to Jehezekel, the twenty-first to Jachin, the twenty-second to Gamul, the twenty-third to Delaiah, the twenty-fourth to Maaziah. This was the schedule of their service for coming into the house of the Lord according to their ordinance by the hand of Aaron their father, as the Lord God of Israel had commanded him."
Let's read verse 10 again. "The seventh to Hakkoz, the eighth to Abijah." In the days of King David, there were numerous priests, so there was also a need to establish a regulation for their systematic services. Thus, David assigned lots to each of the sons of Aaron so that the sacrifice was offered in order. (As you all know, Aaron was the older brother of Moses. God ordained Moses as His agent, and Aaron as the High Priest of the Holy Tabernacle before the people of Israel.)
All the other Levites were put under the priests and Aaron and the priests, his sons, took charge of all the sacrifices before God. Before David assigned lots, the priests, who were the descendants of Aaron, had to draw lots each time and it had caused much confusion.
Therefore, David arranged a system by putting each division in order. There were 24 divisions in an order, originating from the grandsons of Aaron, and the eighth was Abijah. It is said, "A certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah." So Zacharias was a priest of the division of Abijah, and they were both descendants of Aaron the High Priest.
It was Zacharias, a priest of the division of Abijah, who was John the Baptist's father. We know from the Bible that they used to marry within their families.
So, Jacob married his uncle's daughter from his mother's side. It is this explanation of the lineage that has profound importance. It says, "A certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah."
Therefore, he was definitely a descendant of Aaron. Who? Zacharias, John the Baptist's father. This is an important fact in explaining the redemption of Jesus, and the ministry of John the Baptist, and the passing of the world's sins onto Jesus.
Only the Sons of Aaron Shall Minister as Priests
Then, where in the Bible does it specify that the sons of Aaron should minister as priests? Let's look it up.
In Numbers 20:22-29, "Then the children of Israel, the whole congregation, journeyed from Kadesh and came to Mount Hor. And the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron in Mount Hor by the border of the land of Edom, saying: 'Aaron shall be gathered to his people, for he shall not enter the land which I have given to the children of Israel, because you rebelled against My word at the water of Meribah. Take Aaron and Eleazar his son, and bring them up to Mount Hor; and strip Aaron of his garments and put them on Eleazar his son; for Aaron shall be gathered to his people and die there.' So Moses did just as the Lord commanded, and they went up to Mount Hor in the sight of all the congregation. Moses stripped Aaron of his garments and put them on Eleazar his son; and Aaron died there on the top of the mountain. Then Moses and Eleazar came down from the mountain. Now when all the congregation saw that Aaron was dead, all the house of Israel mourned for Aaron thirty days."
In Exodus, the law of God is recorded, saying that the sons of Aaron, the High Priest, should assume the priesthood, and an appointed son had to assume the high priesthood, as his father did, when they came to the age of 30.
In Exodus 28:1-5, "Now take Aaron your brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister to Me as priest, Aaron and Aaron's sons; Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. And you shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother, for glory and for beauty. So you shall speak to all who are gifted artisans, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron's garments, to sanctify him, that he may minister to Me as priest. And these are the garments which they shall make: a breastplate, an ephod, a robe, a skillfully woven tunic, a turban, and a sash. So they shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother and his sons, that he may minister to Me as priest. They shall take the gold and blue and purple and scarlet thread, and fine linen."
God clearly assigned Aaron, the brother of Moses, to the high priesthood. The priesthood was not open to any other man. God ordered Moses to consecrate Aaron as the High Priest, and to make proper attire for him as defined by Him. We should never forget the words of God.
Also in Exodus 29:1-9, "And this is what you shall do to them to hallow them for ministering to Me as priests: Take one young bull and two rams without blemish, and unleavened bread, unleavened cakes mixed with oil, and unleavened wafers anointed with oil (you shall make them of wheat flour). You shall put them in one basket and bring them in the basket, with the bull and the two rams. And Aaron and his sons you shall bring to the door of the tabernacle of meeting, and you shall wash them with water. Then you shall take the garments, put the tunic on Aaron, and the robe of the ephod, the ephod, and the breastplate, and gird him with the intricately woven band of the ephod. You shall put the turban on his head, and put the holy crown on the turban. And you shall take the anointing oil, pour it on his head, and anoint him. Then you shall bring his sons and put tunics on them. And you shall gird them with sashes, Aaron and his sons, and put the hats on them. The priesthood shall be theirs for a perpetual statute. So you shall consecrate Aaron and his sons."
Gird them with sashes, Aaron and his sons, and put the hats on them.... The priesthood shall be theirs for a perpetual statute. So you shall consecrate Aaron and his sons.... God specified that only Aaron and his sons were to be consecrated to perpetually minister the priesthood. When He specifically said, "for a perpetual statute," it implied that the priesthood was effective even after Jesus came into this world.
Luke explains in depth that Zacharias was a descendant of Aaron the High Priest. When Zacharias was serving as the priest in charge in front of God in the temple of the Lord, an angel appeared and told him that his prayer was heard; that his wife Elizabeth would bear him a son.
Zacharias could not believe this and said, "My wife is well advanced in years, how could she bear a son?" Because of his doubt, God made him mute for a while to show that His words were true.
In due time, his wife became pregnant and after a while, the Virgin Mary, a virgin, also became pregnant. Both incidents were the prepared works of God for our salvation. In order to save the wretched mankind, He had to send His servant John and His only begotten Son Jesus into this world.
Therefore, God had His Son baptized by John in order to pass on all the sins of the world, so that those who believed in Him would be saved.
The Special Providence of God!
Jesus Christ was the Savior of mankind, who was born of the body of the Virgin Mary. Mary was betrothed to Joseph, who was a descendant of Judas. Jesus had to be born through the descendants of Judas to fulfill the Covenant of God, just as John the Baptist had to be born in the house of Aaron, the High Priest.
God prepared these two to be born into this world, in that order, John before Jesus. John was born so that he could baptize Jesus and pass all the sins of the world onto Him. A descendant of the High Priest had to offer the sacrifice of atonement in order to fulfill the Covenant of God, made in the Old and New Testament; the gospel of the redemption of Jesus had to be carried out correctly so that all the people would be delivered.
In Exodus, God gave Israel His Law and Covenants; the laws of God and the sacrificial system of the tabernacle, down to the attire of the priests, details of the sacrifices, and the succession of the priesthood to the sons of priests. God appointed Aaron and his descendants to the high priesthood in perpetuity.
Therefore, all descendants of Aaron could offer sacrifices and the high priests could come only from the house of Aaron. Do you see why this was so?
Among many descendants of Aaron, God chose a certain priest named Zacharias and his wife Elizabeth. He had said, "Behold, I send My messenger before Your face." When God told Zacharias that He would enable Elizabeth to have a son, and that He was to name him John, he was so astonished that he became a mute at His command until the son was born and named.
Indeed, a son was born to his house. When it was time to name the baby according to the custom of Israel, the son was named after his father, or one of his relatives.
"Now Elizabeth's full time came for her to be delivered, and she brought forth a son. When her neighbors and relatives heard how the Lord had shown great mercy to her, they rejoiced with her. Now so it was, on the eighth day, that they came to circumcise the child; and they would have called him by the name of his father, Zacharias. And his mother answered and said, 'No; he shall be called John.' But they said to her, 'There is no one among your relatives who is called by this name.' So they made signs to his father—what he would have him called. And he asked for a writing tablet, and wrote, saying, 'His name is John.' And they all marveled. Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, praising God. Then fear came on all who swelt around them; and all these sayings were discussed throughout all the hill country of Judea. And all those who heard them kept them in their hearts, saying, 'What kind of child will this be?' And the hand of the Lord was with him" (Luke 1:57-66).
Zacharias was still mute when his son was born. When it was time to name the baby, the relatives suggested that the baby should be called Zacharias. But his mother insisted that his name should be John. At this, the relatives said that there was no one by that name in the family and that the baby should be named after his father.
When Elizabeth kept on insisting on the name, the relatives went to Zacharias and asked what the name of the baby should be. Zacharias, since he could not yet speak, asked for a writing tablet and wrote 'John'. All the relatives wondered at this unusual choice of name.
But after the naming, Zacharias' mouth opened immediately. He praised God and he was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied.
Thus, Luke tells of the birth of John the Baptist in the house of Zacharias. "There was a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah." In the special providence of God, John the Baptist, the representative of mankind was born to Zacharias, a descendant of Aaron.
Through John the Baptist and Jesus Christ, God had accomplished the salvation of mankind. We are saved from all our sins by believing in the work of redemption, carried out through John and Jesus Christ.
The Baptism of Jesus
John the Baptist testified that Jesus was the Son of God and He took away all our sins. He was John the Baptist, the servant of God who was sent to bear witness to God's salvation. It does not mean that God doesn't tell us Himself that He is our Savior. God works through His servants in the church, and through the mouths of all His people who have been saved.
God says, "Speak comfort to Jerusalem, and Cry out to her, that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned; for she has received from the Lord's hand double for all her sins…The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever" (Isaiah 40:2, 8).
God had already promised about seven hundred years before the birth of Christ, "You are not sinners anymore. I have atoned for all your sins and the warfare has ended." Thus, the voice of the gospel of redemption keeps crying out to us. This is what is called the prepared gospel.
When we understand the works of John the Baptist and really understand that all the sins of the world were passed onto Jesus through John the Baptist, we can all be freed from our sins.
All four Gospels tell us about John the Baptist, and Malachi, the last prophet of the Old Testament also testifies that John the Baptist is the prepared servant of God. The New Testament begins with the birth of John the Baptist and the passing on of sins through him.
Then why do we call him John the Baptist? It is because he baptized Jesus. What does baptism mean? It means 'to pass on to, to be buried, to be washed'—the same as 'the laying on of hands' in the Old Testament.
In the Old Testament, when a man sinned, he passed his sins on to the sacrificial animal without blemish by laying his hands on the head of it, and the sacrifice died with those sins. 'The laying on of hands' means 'to pass on to.' Therefore, 'the laying on of hands' and 'baptism' has the same implications, even though they are apparently different.
Then, what was the meaning of the baptism of Jesus? His baptism was the only way for us to receive the remission of sins. God had established the law that sin might be transferred to a sacrifice through 'the laying on of hands.' Thus, in the days of the Old Testament, sinners had to lay their hands on the head of a sacrifice in order to pass their sins onto its head. After that, they had to cut its throat and the priests placed the blood on the horns of the altar of the burnt offering. This was the way to atone for daily sins.
Then, how did they atone for yearly sins?
In this case, Aaron the High Priest offered the sacrifice for all the people of Israel. Because John the Baptist was born to the house of Aaron, it was proper for him to be the high priest, and God predestined him to be the last High Priest, according to His promise of redemption.
John the Baptist was the representative of all mankind and the last high priest because the Old Testament ended when Jesus Christ was born. Who else but John the Baptist could have passed all the sins of the world onto Jesus in the New Testament, just as Aaron had atoned for the sins of his people in the Old Testament? As the last high priest in the Old Testament and the representative of all mankind, John the Baptist passed all the sins of the world onto Jesus when he baptized Him.
Because John passed all the sins of the world onto Jesus, believing in the gospel of the water and Spirit can redeem us. Jesus became the Lamb in order to save all sinners, thus carrying out the work of redemption as God had planned. Jesus told us that John the Baptist was the last prophet, the last high priest who passed all the sins of the world onto Him.
Why couldn't Jesus do it by Himself? Why did He need John the Baptist? There was a reason for John the Baptist to be born six months prior to Jesus; it was to fulfill the law of the Old Testament, to accomplish its promises.
Jesus was born to the Virgin Mary, and John the Baptist was born to an old and barren woman named Elizabeth.
These were the works of God and He planned them to save all sinners. To save us from a perpetual war against sin, along with all the sufferings of our sinful existences, He sent His servant John, and then His Own Son, Jesus. John the Baptist was sent as the representative of all mankind, the last High Priest.
The Greatest Man Born of Women
Let's look at Matthew 11:7-14. "As they departed, Jesus began to say to the multitudes concerning John: What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Indeed, those who wear soft clothing are in kings' houses. But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and more than a prophet. For this is he of whom it is written: 'Behold, I send My messenger before your face, who will prepare Your way before You.' Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah who is to come."
People went out to the wilderness to see John the Baptist, who cried out, "Repent, you brood of vipers!" And Jesus said, "But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Indeed, those who wear soft clothing are in kings' houses."
Jesus Himself testified to John's greatness. "What did you go out to see? A barbarian who dresses in camel hair and shouts at the top of his lungs? He must have worn the hair of a camel. What did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Those who wear soft clothing live in kings' houses. But he is greater than the king," testified Jesus. "Indeed, those who wear soft clothing are in kings' houses. But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and more than a prophet."
In the old days, prophets were considered to be greater than kings. John the Baptist was more than a king, and more than a prophet. He was more than all the prophets of the Old Testament. In fact, John, the last high priest and the representative of mankind, was more important than Aaron, the first High Priest. Jesus Himself testified that John was as such.
Who is the representative of mankind? Except Christ Himself, who is the greatest man on earth? John the Baptist. "I say to you, and more than a prophet. 'Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, who will prepare Your way before You.'"
John the Baptist testified that the war against sin had ended. "Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" It was John the Baptist who testified that Jesus took away the sins of the world.
In Matthew 11:11, "Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist." Has there been anyone greater than John the Baptist among those born of women?
What does it mean to be 'born of women?' It refers to all humankind. Except for Adam and Eve, all human beings were born from women. Yes, among those born of women, there has not risen a greater person than John the Baptist. Therefore, he is the last High Priest and the representative of mankind. John the Baptist was the High Priest, prophet and the representative of all humankind.
In the Old Testament, Aaron and his sons were ordained by God to serve in perpetuity. All sins had to be washed away through Aaron and his sons. It was as God had ordered.
If some other Levites had come forward and dared to step into their priesthood, they would have certainly died. All they were able to do was to collect wood for the fire on the altar, skin the animals, pick out the fat, clean the intestines and bring its offal outside the camp. If they had been presumptuous enough to try to physically do the work of priests, they would have died. It is the law of God. They could not cross the line.
On earth, there has not risen a man greater than John the Baptist. He was the greatest among all mortals. "And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force."
The redemption of mankind was accomplished when John the Baptist baptized Jesus, and those who believe in Jesus can enter the Kingdom of Heaven because they become righteous by faith.
Now, let's see how John's father testified to his son.
The Testimony of Zacharias, the Father of John
Let's read Luke 1:67-80. "Now his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying: 'Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited and redeemed His people, and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David, as He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets, who have been since the world began, that we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us, to perform the mercy promised to our fathers and to remember His holy covenant, the oath which He swore to our father Abraham: to grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life. And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest; for you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways, to give knowledge of salvation to His people by the remission of their sins, through the tender mercy of our God, with which the Dayspring from on high has visited us; to give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.' So the child grew and became strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his manifestation of Israel."
Zacharias prophesied two things. He prophesied that the King of all people would come. From verses 68 to 73, he prophesied with joy that God did not forget His promises and that Jesus, as God promised to Abraham, was born to the Virgin Mary in order to save his descendants from their enemies' hands.
From verse 74, "To grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve Him without fear." This is a reminder of the Promise of God to Abraham and the people of Israel, and he prophesied, "to grant us that we might serve Him without fear."
From verse 76, he prophesied to his son. "And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest; for you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways, to give knowledge of salvation to His people by the remission of their sins, through the tender mercy of our God, with which the Dayspring from on high has visited us; to give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace."
Here he said, "To give knowledge of salvation to His people by the remission of their sins." By whom did he say the knowledge of salvation was to be given? John the Baptist. Can you all see this? John the Baptist, through the words of God, was to give us the knowledge that Jesus is God's Son, who took away the sins of the world.
Now, let's look at Mark 1. "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in the Prophets: 'Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, who will prepare Your way before You. The voice of one crying in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the Lord, make His paths straight.' John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. And all the land of Judea, and those from Jerusalem, went out to him and were all baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins" (Mark 1:1-5).
When the Israelites heard from John the Baptist, they turned from worshipping the idols of Gentiles and were baptized by John the Baptist. But John testified, "I baptize you with water so that you may return to God. But the Son of God will come and be baptized by me so that all your sins will be passed onto Him in this same manner. And if you believe in His baptism as you are being baptized by me, all your sins will be passed onto Him, just as the sins were passed on through the laying on of hands in the Old Testament." That was what John testified to.
The fact that Jesus was baptized in the Jordan means that He was baptized in the river of death. We sing at a funeral, "In the sweet by and by, we shall meet on that beautiful shore. We shall meet on that beautiful shore." When we die, we will cross the Jordan River. The Jordan River is the river of death. Jesus was baptized in this river of death, for He took all the sins of the world there and "the wages of sin is death."
The Baptism That Passes on Our Sins
In Matthew 3:13-17, we read, "Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. And John tried to prevent Him, saying, 'I have need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?' But Jesus answered and said to him, 'Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.' Then he allowed Him. Then Jesus, when He had been baptized, came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, 'This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.'"
Jesus went to the Jordan and was baptized by John the Baptist. He ordered John, "Baptize Me." John replied, "But I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?" The high priests of heaven and earth met together.
As stated by Hebrews, Jesus Christ is the High Priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek. This means that Jesus is without human genealogy. He is not a descendant of Aaron, or of any person on earth. He is the Son of God, our Creator. He is who He is; therefore, He has no genealogy. Jesus threw away the glory of heaven and came down to earth to save His people.
The reason He descended into this world was to save all sinners who suffered from the deception of Satan. In addition, He took away all the sins of the world by being baptized by John the Baptist. "But Jesus answered and said to him, 'Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.' Then he allowed Him."
"Permit it to be so now." Permit it! Jesus ordered the representative of all mankind and bowed His head to be baptized. In the Old Testament, when a sacrifice was offered to God, either the sinner or the high priest laid his hands on its head and passed on the sins. 'To lay one's hands on' means 'to pass.'
John the Baptist baptized Jesus. It was the same as the laying on of hands in the Old Testament. 'To pass on to,' 'to be buried,' 'to be washed,' and 'to sacrifice' are also the same. The New Testament is the reality while the Old Testament is its shadow.
When a sinner laid his hands on a lamb in the Old Testament, his sin was passed onto the lamb and the lamb had to be killed. When the lamb was dead, it was buried. The sins of the one who laid his hands on the lamb were passed onto the sacrificial animal, so the lamb was to be killed due to the sins! If the sins were passed onto the lamb, could the one who offered the lamb according to the sacrificial system be without sin? Yes.
Let's say that this handkerchief is sin and this microphone, the lamb. When I lay my hands on this microphone, this sin is passed onto it, the lamb. God Himself decided that it would be so. "Lay your hands on." In order to be redeemed of sins in the days of the Old Testament, one had to lay his hands on the head of a sacrifice. After that, he could be without sin. Likewise, the baptism of Jesus was to wash, bury and pass the sins of the world onto Him. This is exactly what it means.
So, when Jesus was baptized to take away all the sins of the world, were they all indeed passed onto Him? All the sins of the world were passed onto Jesus and all people were redeemed. It is the same as the passing of sins to the sacrifices in the Old Testament. Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan and said to John, "Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness" (Matthew 3:15).
Then, John baptized Jesus. He told John that it was fitting for them to fulfill all righteousness by His baptism. 'All righteousness' means 'the most proper and fitting.' 'For thus,' in other words, by the means of baptism, all righteousness was fulfilled. This meant that it was right for John to baptize Jesus, and Jesus to be baptized by John, so as to pass all the sins of the world onto Him.
God grants redemption on the basis of Jesus' baptism, His sacrifice on the Cross and our faiths. "All people suffer from sin and are tormented by the devil because of their sins. Therefore, in order for them to be saved and sent to Heaven, you, as the representative of mankind and a descendant of Aaron, should baptize Me for all people. I shall be baptized by you, John. Then, the work of redemption will be fulfilled."
"I understand," replied John.
So John baptized Jesus. He laid his hands on Jesus' head and passed all the sins of the world onto Him. Thus, Jesus became the Savior who washed away all our sins. Now, believing in His redemption can save us. Do you believe?
After His baptism at the Jordan, through the hands of the representative of all mankind, Jesus traveled and preached the gospel for three-and-a-half years with all the sins of the world on His body as His first public works in ministry.
He told the woman who was caught in the act of adultery, "Neither do I condemn you." He could not condemn her because He had taken all her sins onto Himself and was about to die on the Cross for them. While He was praying at a place called Gethsemane, He prayed three times, begging for the Father to let the cup of God's judgment pass from Him, but soon gave up and said, "Not as I will, but as You will."
"Behold! The Lamb of God Who Takes Away the Sin of the World!"
John 1:29 states, "The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, 'Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!'" John the Baptist baptized Jesus and the next day, Jesus came toward him, so he told people, "Behold! the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!'" It was his testimony.
The Son of God came to this world and took away all its sins. John the Baptist testified again. In John 1:35-36, "Again, the next day, John stood with two of his disciples. And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, 'Behold the Lamb of God!'"
The Lamb of God refers to the fact that Jesus is the true and real entity of the sacrifice mentioned in the Old Testament, which died for the sins of Israel. For you and I, the Son of God and our Creator, came down to this world to take away all our sins; all sins from the creation of the world until the day that it ends, from original sin to all our iniquities, from our shortcomings to our faults. He redeemed all of us with His baptism and blood on the Cross.
Jesus took away all our sins and gave us, the believers, perfect redemption. Do you understand this? "The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world."
About 2000 years has passed since He was born into this world and in 30 A.D., Jesus took away all our sins. The year 1 A.D. was the year that Jesus was born. We call the time before Christ: B.C. Almost 2000 years has passed since Jesus came to this world.
In 30 A.D., John the Baptist baptized Jesus and the next day, John cried out to the people, "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" "Behold!" He told people to believe in Jesus, who took away all their sins. He testified that Jesus was the Lamb of God, the One who saved us from all our sins.
Jesus took away all our sins and ended our perpetual war against sin. We are now without sin since the Son of God took them away. John the Baptist testified that Jesus had taken away all our sins, the sins of both you and I. "This man (John) came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe" (John 1:7).
Without the testimony of John, how could we have known that Jesus took away all our sins? The Bible tells us often that He died for us, but only John the Baptist clearly testified that He took away all our sins.
Many testified the fact after Jesus' death, but only John testified it while He was alive. Of course, the disciples of Jesus also testified to the redemption of Jesus. They testified that Jesus took away our sins, that He is our Savior.
Jesus took away the world's sins. Now reader, you are not yet 100 years old are you? Jesus took away the sins of the world when He was 30 years old. Consider this diagram.
Let's say that it was 4,000 years before Jesus came that the first man was created. And it has been just a little over 2000 years since Jesus came. We do not know how long the world will last, but the end is sure to come. He says, "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last" (Revelation 22:13).
So, there will surely be an end. We are now at the point indicated by the year 2002. Christ took away our sins in 30 A.D., and it was 3 years before He died at the Cross.
"Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world." He took away the sins of the world, the sins of you and I. We are over 2000 years away from the birth of Jesus and are living our lives about 2000 years after Jesus took away our sins. We still live and commit sins day in and day out, however, Jesus is the Lamb of God who already took away the world's sins.
We begin to live and sin in this world from the moment we are born. Do we all sin from the moment we are born, or do we not? —We do.— Let's go through the whole process. From the day we are born until we are 10, do we sin, or do we not? —We do.— Then, were those sins passed onto Jesus or not? —They were.— Since all sins were passed onto Jesus, He is our Savior. If not, how could He be our Savior? All the sins were passed onto Jesus.
From the age of 11 to 20, do we sin, or do we not? We sin in our hearts and in our acts.... We are very good at it. We have been taught not to sin, but are prone to commit sins by nature.
God tells us that all those sins were passed onto Jesus. He knew what we were sinful, so He took away all those sins beforehand.
And how long do we usually live in this world? Let's say it is about 70 years. If we added together all the sins we committed during those 70 years, how heavy would our load be? If we packed them into 8-ton trucks, we would probably end up with more than 100 truckloads.
Try to imagine how much sin we will commit during our whole lifetimes. Are those the sins of the world, or are they not? They are a part of the sins of the world. We sin from birth, up to 10, 10 to 20, 20 to 30... until the day we die, but all those sins are included in the sins of the world that already passed onto Jesus through His baptism.
The Savior of Man, Jesus Christ
Jesus tells us that He came in flesh to wash away all those sins. But, Jesus couldn't baptize Himself, so God sent His servant John ahead, the elected representative of all human beings. As it is written, 'His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God.' By Himself, by His wisdom and by His council, He sent the representative of mankind ahead, and Jesus Himself, the Son of God, came in the flesh to take away all the sins of the world. Isn't this a wonderful salvation of God's profound providence?
It is wonderful, isn't it? So, just by being baptized by John the Baptist, He washed away all of mankind's sins throughout the whole world and delivered everyone from sin by being crucified, once and for all. He delivered us all. Think about it. Let's take a look at all your sins from 20 to 30, 30 to 40, 40 to 60, to 70, to 100, and also those of your children. Did He blot out all those sins, or did He not? Yes, He did. He is Jesus Christ, the Savior of mankind.
Since John the Baptist passed all our sins onto Jesus, and because God had planned it so, we can be delivered by believing in Him. Are you and I sinners? Were all our sins passed onto Jesus or not? —We are not sinners anymore because our sins were already passed onto Jesus.—
Who dares to say that there's sin in this world? Jesus took away all the sins of the world. He knew that we would sin, and thus, also took the sins of the future. Some of us are not yet 50 and some haven't even lived half of our lives yet, but some of us we talk about ourselves, including myself, as if we would live forever.
There are so many of us who lead turbulent lives. Let me explain it this way. What is half the life span of a mayfly? It is about 12 hours.
"My goodness! I met such and such a man and he swung a flyswatter at me! I was almost crushed to death, and you know, I've never met such a cruel man during my half life." It had only lived 12 hours and couldn't stop talking. But already, half of its life had passed.
By 7 or 8 in the evening, it faces the twilight of its life, and in a short while, death. Some mayflies survive for 20 hours, some 21, and some live to the ripe old age of 24 hours. They may talk of their lifelong experiences, but what does it look like to us? As we live to 70, or 80 years old, we may say, "Don't make me laugh." Their experience is nothing at all in our eyes.
Let's apply this parable to the relationship between God and us. God is eternal. He lives for eternity. He decides the beginning and the end of the world. As He lives forever, He lives in eternity beyond the time frame of eternity. He looks at us from the position of His eternity.
Once upon a time, He took away all the sins of the world, died on the Cross, and said, "It is finished." He was resurrected after 3 days and went up to Heaven. He now resides in eternity. Now, He is looking down at each of us.
One man might say, "Oh, dear, I have sinned so much. Even though I have lived only 20 years, I have sinned so much." "I have lived for 30 years and have sinned too much. It is just too much. How can I ever be without sins?"
But our Lord in His eternity would say, "Don't make Me laugh. I have not only redeemed your sins up to now, but also the sins of your ancestors before you were born, and the sins of all the generations of your descendants who will live after your death." He says this to you from the eternal time frame. Do you believe this? Believe it and receive the gift of salvation given freely to you. Enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
Do not bound yourself with your thoughts, but believe in the words of God. 'It is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.' The Lamb of God, who took away the sins of the world, already fulfilled all righteousness. Jesus took away all the sins of the world. Did He, or did He not? He did.
Jesus Christ took away all the sins of the world through His baptism, was sentenced to death in the court of Pontius Pilate and was crucified on the Cross.
"And He bearing His Cross, went out to a place called the place of the Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha, where they crucified Him, and two others with Him, one on either side, and Jesus in the center. Now Pilate wrote a title and put it on the Cross. And the writing was: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS. Then many of the Jews read this title, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin" (John 19:17-20).
Let's take a look at what happened after He was crucified on the Cross. "After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled." He had taken over all our sins according to the Scripture. "He said, 'I thirst!' Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth. So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, 'It is finished!' and bowing His head, He gave up His spirit" (John 19:28-30).
After He had received the sour wine, He cried out, "It is finished!" and bowed His head and passed away. He was actually dead. Jesus Christ resurrected after 3 days and ascended to Heaven.
Let us turn to Hebrews 10:1-9. "For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purged, would have had no more consciousness of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins. Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but a body You have prepared for Me. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure. Then I said, 'Behold, I have come—in the volume of the book it is written of Me—to do Your will, O God.' Previously saying, 'Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them' (which are offered according to the law), then He said, 'Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.' He takes away the first that He may establish the second."
The Eternal Redemption
The law, in other words, the sacrificial system, was a shadow of the good things to come. The sacrifices of the Old Testament, of sheep and goats, revealed to us that Jesus Christ would come and take away our sins in the same manner in order to blot out all our sins.
All the people of the Old Testament, David, Abraham, and all the others, knew and believed what the sacrificial system meant to them. It revealed that the Messiah, Christ (Christ means 'the Anointed King') would come some day to wash away all their sins. They believed in their redemption and were saved by their faiths.
The law was a shadow of the good things to come. Offering sacrifices for their sins day after day, year after year could never completely redeem them. Therefore, the complete and eternal Being, the One without blemish, the Son of God, had to come to earth.
Jesus said that He had come to do His Father's will, as written in the Book, which was written of Him. "And then I said, 'Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.' He takes away the first that He may establish the second." We are redeemed of our sins because Jesus Christ took away our sins, as written in the Old Testament, and because we believe in Him.
Let's read Hebrews 10:10. "By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all." By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Have we been sanctified or not? —We have.—
What does this mean? God the Father sent His Son and passed all our sins onto Him through the baptism. He received and judged Him once and for all on the Cross. Thus, He delivered all of us who were suffering from sin. It was the Will of God.
In order to deliver us, Jesus offered Himself as the eternal sacrifice, once and for all, so that we could be sanctified. We have been sanctified because Jesus sacrificed Himself for all our sins and died for us so that we need not be judged.
The sacrifice of the Old Testament was offered every day because all the daily sins needed another offering to be washed away.
The Spiritual Meaning of Jesus' Washing Peter's Feet
In John 13, there's a story of Jesus washing Peter's feet. He washed Peter's feet in order to show him that Peter would commit sins in the future and to teach him that He had already redeemed all those sins too. Jesus knew that Peter would sin again in the future, so He poured water into a basin and washed his feet.
Peter tried to refuse, but Jesus said, "What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this." What this passage means is, 'You will sin again after this. You will deny Me and sin again after I wash all your sins. You will sin even after My Ascension. Therefore, I wash your feet to warn Satan not to test you because I have already taken away even your future sins.'
Do you think He washed Peter's feet in order to tell us that we have to repent everyday? No. If we had to repent everyday to be redeemed, that means that Jesus would not have taken away all our sins once and for all.
But Jesus said that He sanctified us once for all. If we were to repent every day, we might as well go back to the time of the Old Testament. Then who could become righteous? Who could be redeemed completely? Even if we believed in God, who could live without sin?
Who can become sanctified by repentance? We sin ceaselessly each day, so how can we ask for forgiveness for each and every sin? How can we become so thick-skinned and pester Him every day for our redemptions? We tend to forget our sins committed in the mornings by the end of the day, and the sins of the evening by the next morning. It is impossible for us to completely repent for all our sins.
Therefore, Jesus was baptized once and offered Himself on the Cross once so that we might become sanctified all at one time. Can you understand this? We were redeemed from all our sins once and for all. We are not redeemed every time we repent.
We have been saved from our sins by believing that Jesus took away all our sins, yours and my sins.
"And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. And the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after he had said before, 'This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,' then He adds, 'Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.' Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin" (Hebrews 10:11-18).
What does it mean, "Now where there is remission of these" in verse18 above? It means that the sin itself, any sin at all, was expiated forever, without exception. God has blotted them out and forgiven us all. Do you believe this? "Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin."
Let us summarize everything so far. If John the Baptist had not laid his hands on Jesus, in other words, if he had not baptized Jesus, could we have been redeemed? No, absolutely not! Let's think backwards. If Jesus had not elected John the Baptist as the representative of all human beings and taken away all sin through him, could He have washed away all our sins? He couldn't have.
The Law of God is just. It is fair. He could not just say that He was our Savior and that He took away all our sins. He had to take away our sins practically. Why did Jesus, God, come to us in the flesh? He came in order to take away all the sins of mankind through His baptism. Jesus knew that all the sins from our hearts and flesh could not be blotted out, unless He came in the flesh to be offered as the eternal sacrifice.
If Jesus Christ had not been baptized, our sins would still remain. If He had been crucified without first taking away our sins, His death would have been meaningless. It wouldn't have had anything to do with us. It would have been completely meaningless.
So, when He started His public ministry at the age of 30, He went to John the Baptist at the Jordan to be baptized. His public ministry started at the age of 30 and ended at 33. When He was 30, He went to John the Baptist to be baptized. "Permit it to be so now, for it is fitting for us to do thus so that all people can be saved and become righteous. It is the proper thing for us to do. Now, baptize Me." Yes, Jesus Christ was baptized for the redemption of all people.
Since Jesus was baptized and took away all our sins, and because all our sins were passed onto Him through the hands of John the Baptist, God Himself turned His eyes away when Jesus was dying on the Cross. Even though Jesus was His only begotten Son, He had to sacrifice His Son.
God is love, but He had to let His Son die. So, for three hours, there was darkness over all the land. Jesus cried out just before He died, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" that is, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" Jesus shouldered all our sins and received the vicarious judgment on the Cross for us. Thus, He saved us all. Without the baptism of Jesus, His death would have been meaningless.
If Jesus had died on the Cross without taking away all our sins through His baptism, His death would not have accomplished the redemption. In order to perfectly redeem us, Jesus was baptized by John, the representative of all human beings, and received the judgment on the Cross so that all those who believe in Him might be saved.
Therefore, from the days of John the Baptist until now, the Kingdom of Heaven has suffered violence. Because John the Baptist passed all the sins of the world onto Jesus, our sins have been atoned. You and I can now call God our Father and boldly enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
In Hebrews 10:18, "Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin." Are you still a sinner? Now that Jesus has already paid off all your debts, do you still have to pay debts?
There was a man whose heavy drinking put him in debt to many creditors. Then, one day, his son made a fortune and paid off his father's entire debts. His father would no longer have a debt no matter how much he had owed every public house there.
This is what Jesus did for us. He paid more than enough in advance for all our sins. Not just the sins of our lifetimes, but all the sins of the world. They were all passed onto Jesus when He was baptized. So are you still sinners now? No, you are not.
If we had known this gospel of redemption from the beginning, how easy it would have been for us to believe in Jesus. But as it is, it sounds so new that many people wonder about it.
But this is not something new. It has existed since the beginning of human history. We just didn't know of it before. The gospel of the water and the Spirit has always been recorded in the Scriptures and has always been in effect. It has been there all the time. It was here in the Bible before you and I were born. It has been here since the creation of the earth.
The Gospel of Eternal Redemption
Jesus Christ, who washed away all our sins, did it even before you and I were born. He took them all away. Are you still with sin? —No— Then what about the sins you will commit tomorrow? They are also included in the sins of the world.
Let's take off the sins of tomorrow now. The sins we have committed until now were also included in the sins of the world, weren't they? Were they passed onto Jesus or not? Yes, they were.
Then, were the sins of tomorrow also passed onto Him? Yes, He took them all, without exception. He has not left even one sin behind. The gospel tells us to believe wholeheartedly that Jesus took away all our sins, all at once, and paid for them all.
'The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.' (Mark 1:1) The gospel of Heaven is the joyous news. He asks us, "I took away all your sins. I am your Savior. Do you believe in Me?" Among a countless number of people, only a few have answered, "Yes, I believe. I believe as You have told us. It was so simple that I could understand it immediately." Those who confess their faiths like this become righteous just like Abraham.
But others say, "I cannot believe it. It sounds so new and strange to me."
Then, He asks, "Just tell Me, did I take away all your sins or not?"
"I was taught that You took away only the original sin, but not my daily sins."
"I see that you are too smart to believe as you are told. You must go to hell because I have nothing to say to you."
Believing in His complete redemption has saved us. All of those who insist that they have sin must go to hell. They made their own choice.
The gospel of redemption starts from the testimony of John the Baptist. Since Jesus washed all our sins away through His baptism by John the Baptist, we become sanctified when we believe.
The Apostle Paul talked a lot about the baptism of Jesus in his Epistles. In Galatians 3:27, "For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ." 'Being baptized into Christ' means that we are in union with Christ by believing in His baptism. When Jesus was baptized, all our sins were passed onto Him through John the Baptist, and they were completely washed away.
In 1 Peter 3:21, "There is also an antitype which now saves us, namely baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ."
Only those who believe in the testimony of John the Baptist, the baptism of Jesus and the blood on the Cross have the grace of redemption from above.
Receive the baptism of Jesus as the antitype of salvation in your heart and be saved.