The New Life Mission

Sermons

Subject 22 : The Gospel According to LUKE

[Chapter 1-12] (Luke 1:57-80) John the Baptist Who Was Sent to Fulfill the Gospel of The Water and the Spirit

(Luke 1:57-80)
“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. 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. 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.’ So they all marveled. Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, praising God. Then fear came on all who dwelt 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. 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 to Israel.”
 
 
My fellow believers, we don’t even recognize the turning of the season because our hearts are all busily engaged in God’s work. However, the leaves have already fallen, the seasons have changed, and Christmas is almost around the corner. I think of the lyrics of one of the Christmas hymns entitled, “It Came upon a Midnight Clear.”
It goes, “‘Peace on the earth, goodwill to men
From heavens all gracious King!’
The world in solemn stillness lay
To hear the angels sing.”
We have appointed December 25 every year as the day the Lord came, and we commemorate this day, observe it, celebrate on it, and return glory to God. The whole world is busily engaged in putting up Christmas trees to celebrate the birth of the Lord. Our Church has made a beautiful flower arrangement for Christmas. Therefore, it seems my heart is becoming really warm and peaceful. In this Christmas season, our hearts feel still and calm. It seems that the whole world is very quiet now as the day draws near—the day the Lord who is the King of kings came to this earth to save us from the sins of the world.
This year was really hectic, but there were many things for which we were thankful to God. At the same time, several instances come to mind where we were insufficient before God. I give thanks to the Lord who did the righteous work of coming to save us from all the sins of the world.
All our ministry workers and you brothers and sisters did a lot of hard work all year. I have worked hard and you also have worked hard. We truly did a lot of hard work all year long in order to preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit. While doing a lot of service in various things, there were also times the flowers of those works bloomed, and there were also times we prepared something so that flowers of the gospel will bloom in the future. I hope that we see more fruit next year from the service of preaching the gospel that we prepared all year.
Churches of the world usually hold the ceremony of the closing of offices for the year at this Christmas season, but we, the ministry workers in God’s Church, don’t do that because we do God’s work ceaselessly no matter what season comes and passes by. This whole year has almost passed. In just a week, this year will be over and the New Year will begin. After discussing how we would spread the gospel of the water and the Spirit to the whole world, we decided to do so through written books and electronic books on the Internet. We decided this policy early this year and it seems like just yesterday that we started working according to the policy. But we came to spread the gospel of the water and the Spirit to many people all over the world through God’s help. So, we were really busy doing that: We have preached the gospel through literature ministries and the Internet mission in difficult circumstances so far. We have rushed in the direction of our goal without a moment to stop and think about ourselves.
But by making excuses that we were so busy, I wonder if we haven’t lived too hastily. The brothers, sisters, and all the ministry workers in the Church throughout the country have lived very hastily day in day out. I feel that time flies as fast as an arrow. It is really fast. Even so, I give thanks to the Lord who made me able to serve His righteousness this way. Just as the angel received the mission from God, appeared to Mary, and said she was a blessed woman, people who receive the remission of their sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit and who thus go to the Lord’s Kingdom are truly blessed people. We are the blessed people just like the righteous written in the Bible like Mary, Zacharias, and Elizabeth. I give thanks once more to God.
 
 
God Who Arranged Our Salvation
 
I read Luke 1:57-80 today. Zacharias’ wife was an old woman named Elizabeth, and it is written that God made her conceive. When Zacharias was in the sanctuary of the Temple at the hour of incense, the angel Gabriel appeared to him and delivered the will of God. He said, “God has heard your prayer. So, your wife shall bear a son. All people will rejoice at his birth.”
From that time forth, the belly of the old woman, Elizabeth, began to swell and she bore a son when she was due. Elizabeth was a descendant of Aaron, and she had a son at that time when she was very old. In other words, she had a son who would carry on the family line of the High Priests. Therefore, her relatives and neighbors gathered and were thankful for and had joy in the fact that God had truly showed mercy on Elizabeth. She also must have had quite a bit of joy because she had obtained a son from God.
But on one hand, if we think about it in a worldly sense, it would have probably been embarrassing for Elizabeth to have a child in her old age. But since she and Zacharias were so old and had no children, they rather had joy. Their whole community had joy after hearing the news. So, that event became a large festival in the whole community. God had answered their prayers. So, all of them had joy together.
The Israelites dutifully circumcised a boy eight days after he was born. That seems vile if we see it in a physical point of view. It would have been very painful. Children can’t speak when they’re young and can only express their feelings by crying. Wouldn’t it have been very painful? But they had to do it because God made a promise with their ancestors of faith. Therefore, this couple also circumcised the baby, and the relatives all gathered together in order to give him a name. The Israelites used to name children according to their parents or their relatives. So if the father’s name was Zacharias, they would name the son Zacharias. So, when their relatives suggested the baby be named Zacharias, the baby’s mother responded. “No, he shall be called John” (Luke 1:60).
They said, “What? There is no one among your relatives who is called by this name. Why do you want to name him John?” (Luke 1:61).
Then, they decided to ask Zacharias, the head of the household, what he would name the child, and they brought him a writing tablet. At the time, Zacharias was mute. He became mute as a sign because he didn’t believe the words of the angel when the angel delivered the Word of God to him in the sanctuary. Then, Zacharias wrote that his son’s name would be John. Afterwards, Zacharias’ tongue was loosed and he could speak. His tongue that had been twisted up in his mouth was loosed and he began praising the work that God had done.
His tongue could be loosed because he really believed for the first time the Word of God delivered by the angel Gabriel that said, “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. 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. And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. 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” (Luke 1:13-17). As soon as Zacharias’ tongue was thus loosed, he gave praises of thanks to God and started prophesying. He was filled with the Holy Spirit and started prophesying through praises about God and about His servant.
The people heard Zacharias prophesying of the Word of God and were greatly surprised. On one hand, they were afraid. That was because the Israelites hadn’t had any servant of God for 400 years. There had to be servants of God for the Israelites to continue living. But there wasn’t any servant of God for 400 years. In such circumstances, Zacharias, being filled with the Holy Spirit, prophesied of what John the Baptist would do, and prophesied that Jesus Christ would be born on this earth. His prophecy is here in Luke 1:67-71. So, the people heard what he was saying and were greatly surprised, and the prophecy spread by word of mouth to all the Israelites.
My fellow believers, the first thing that Zacharias prophesied of after being filled with the Holy Spirit was that Jesus Christ would come to this earth in order to save all mankind from the sins of the world. Zacharias knew all these facts by being inspired by the Holy Spirit. He prophesied that the birth of his son, John the Baptist, was in order to transfer all the sins of this world to Jesus and that Jesus came to this earth as the Savior who took all the sins of mankind. All of these Words prophesied that Jesus would be born on this earth as the Savior, just as it was promised in the Old Testament.
When we read Luke 1:67-76, it says, “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.’”
This was the fulfillment of what God had promised through the mouths of the Old Testament prophets since long before. According to the prophecies of the Old Testament, Jesus Christ would come to this earth as the Savior; and the Israelites were waiting for the Savior to come. What then did He come to save us from? The Bible says that He would come in order to save the Israelites from their enemies and from the hands of those who hate them.
Zacharias prophesied that the Lord came to us in order to make us serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our lives. This means that Jesus Christ came to this earth to save sinners. Until now, we were originally people who were ashamed and fearful and could not stand boldly before God because, fundamentally, we had sin. But Zacharias prophesied that the Lord would come to this earth, save all believers from all our sins at once through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and enable us to serve God without fear in holiness before Him.
And at the same time, Zacharias prophesied of the role of his son, John the Baptist, before the Lord came. Luke 1:76-80 is about the prophecy regarding John the Baptist: “‘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 to Israel.”
 
 
Prophecy about John the Baptist
 
Here, Zacharias is pointing to his son, John the Baptist, when he says, “And you, child.” Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied of John the Baptist, his son. Even though the angel Gabriel told him of John’s birth, it seemed impossible to him at first. But God’s promise was realized exactly as it was; John the Baptist was born when 10 months had passed.
The prophecy continues as follows:
“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” (Luke 1:78-79).
This Scripture passage means that John the Baptist would do these things. This child’s name was originally just John, but he transferred the sins of all mankind to Jesus Christ by baptizing Him later. Therefore, Jesus Christ called him John the Baptist. In Matthew 11:12-13, Jesus pointed to John the Baptist and witnessed, “He is Elijah who is to come.” John the Baptist was Elijah whom the Old Testament said would come. John the Baptist who “will be called the prophet of the Highest” (Luke 1:76) was Elijah who was to come.
You can find many prophets in the Old Testament. But Jesus said, “Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist” (Matthew 11:11). Then, John the Baptist was the representative of all humankind, and he is greater than any other prophets including Isaiah, Moses, and Ezekiel. He is called the last High Priest who was given the duty of transferring the sins of the world to Jesus Christ on this earth. Why do you think that was? John the Baptist’s father was Zacharias and his mother was Elizabeth; both of them were descendants of Aaron, the first High Priest. John the Baptist would also perform the duties of a High Priest before God because he was born to Zacharias and Elizabeth.
John the Baptist was the servant of God whom God sent to this earth six months prior to the birth of Jesus Christ. The Bible says that John the Baptist would “go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways.” God specifically made a child be born into the house of Zacharias who was a descendant of Aaron, and that child was John the Baptist. God prepared John the Baptist so that He could save all those who believe in Jesus from their sins by John the Baptist transferring all the sins of mankind to Jesus Christ once and for all.
So, the Bible spiritually states, “The Dayspring from on high has visited us; to give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death” (Luke 1:78-79). What does it mean by the passage, “the Dayspring from on high has visited us”?
For a long time, I lived by the sea. People nowadays purposefully go to the ocean to watch the sunrise, but I grew up seeing the sunrise everyday. The whole world is dark and the morning hours pass dimly as the edge of the eastern sky becomes a little bright before the sun even rises. That’s called early dawn, and a little while after, the sun rises above the horizon. It rises like a rocket launching. The sun is red when it rises. Then, through the shimmering air, you can see the sun rising. There is no one who can stop it. This shows the irresistible grace of God who says, “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” (Luke 1:78-79).
 
  
The Advent of John the Baptist and Jesus on This Earth Is Like the Morning Sun Rising and Shining on the Whole World
 
John the Baptist did his ministry telling people that Jesus Christ is the Savior and the true Messiah. Through his role of transferring all the sins of mankind to Jesus, John the Baptist told people that all those who believe in Jesus Christ’s righteousness would come to be saved from all their sins with nothing lacking at all. Zacharias prophesied of this amazing fact.
Honestly speaking, we wouldn’t be able to know that all our sins went over to Jesus if it had not been for the ministry of John the Baptist. How could the remission of sins be totally and clearly revealed like the rising sun? How could your souls and mine know God’s righteousness and be filled with faith? Through the role of John the Baptist, we have come to clearly know that Jesus Christ took the sins of the world through His baptism. In Matthew 3:15, Jesus said to John the Baptist, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” And in John 1:29, John the Baptist witnessed to Jesus saying, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” John the Baptist proclaimed Jesus Christ’s righteousness so that we would clearly know this with the heart. He proclaimed the gospel of the water and the Spirit that way in order that all the Israelites and all the gentiles would know.
The Bible says that John the Baptist grew up in the desert. He didn’t mix with the people of the world, and he was a pure man of God who was not contaminated by the world. Then, John the Baptist suddenly appeared in clothing made of camel’s hair and shouted at those who had left the righteousness of God, “Repent, you brood of vipers!” The Israelites had no servants of God for 400 years and now a servant of God appeared in the wilderness all of a sudden. His first ministry was to urge people to repent of their evil ways. John the Baptist’s role was to ‘to give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death’ (Luke 1:79). So, what is this light mentioned here? It is the baptism Jesus received and His blood of the Cross.
It is written, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15). Put differently, Jesus ordered John the Baptist saying, “Baptize Me. Doing so is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Jesus said that it was fitting to fulfill all righteousness and to save mankind by receiving all their sins at once through the baptism John the Baptist gave to Him.
John the Baptist baptized Jesus Christ in the Jordan River. The spiritual meaning of the word ‘baptism’ is “to cleanse,” “to bury,” or “to transfer something.” So, Jesus took the sins of the world by being baptized by John the Baptist. Thus, Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist and fulfilled God’s righteousness in order to cleanse all our sins. God’s righteousness was completed by the righteous acts that Jesus came to this earth, was baptized by John the Baptist, hung on the Cross, shed His blood, and was resurrected from the dead. Jesus Christ has saved us this way. The reason Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist was to cleanse all the sins of us who believe. He has saved us by hanging and dying on the Cross and being resurrected from the dead. He could die properly for our salvation because He bore the sins of the world by receiving the transference of all the sins of mankind on His body at once through His baptism. Jesus being baptized by John the Baptist this way was thus fitting to fulfill all righteousness.
 
 
By What Kind of Faith Could Your Filthy Sins Now Be Cleansed?
 
Could all your sins now be cleansed through the baptism Jesus received from John the Baptist and through the blood of the Cross? Then, what kind of baptism was that baptism which Jesus received from John the Baptist? The question is: “What was the baptism that the Son of God received?” What does the Word of God say? God says that He would send His Son to this earth and have Him take the sins of the world by being baptized by John the Baptist. Therefore, the baptism Jesus received is the same as ‘the laying on of hands’ spoken of in the Old Testament, especially in Leviticus.
In Isaiah 53, it says, “Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted” (Isaiah 53:4). That prophecy was fulfilled by Jesus Christ when He was born on this earth, took all the sins of mankind by being baptized by John the Baptist when He was 30, shed His blood on the Cross, and was resurrected from the dead.
The sins of people who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit have already all been cleansed. The meaning of baptism which Jesus received from John the Baptist is “to be cleansed,” “to bury,” and “to transfer something.” Because Jesus received the transference of all the sins of this world at once for all through the baptism that He received from John the Baptist, He could shed His blood on the Cross and suffer death in our places. Jesus could shed His blood and suffer death on the terribly painful Cross because He received the transference of the sins of this world all at once through the baptism He received from John the Baptist. As such, the true meaning of the baptism He received from John the Baptist was to take all the sins of mankind onto His body at once. Therefore, we baptize people who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist in the beginning of the New Testament. Baptism is the same as the scapegoat in the Old Testament taking the sins of the Israelites when the High Priest laid his hands on its head as the representative of his people. The baptism was performed in the form of laying on of hands in the Old Testament. Therefore, we are also baptized in the form of the laying on of hands in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
Then, why do we receive baptism in the name of the Holy Trinity? It is because we are baptized as proof that we believe in the gospel Truth that had been fulfilled by the Holy Trinity. The Truth is that God the Father planned our salvation in Jesus Christ, and Jesus shed His blood and saved us because He took all the sins of the world by being baptized by John the Baptist. We are baptized with hearts that believe in Jesus Christ’s righteousness as our salvation. We are baptized as the confession of faith that believes Jesus saved us from all the sins of the world at once through the baptism He received from John the Baptist. We are baptized as the proof that we have been saved from all our sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit that is the Lord’s righteousness. Therefore, we must know and believe that Jesus being baptized by John the Baptist was in order to receive the transference of all the sins of mankind at once and that John the Baptist baptizing Jesus Christ was in order to transfer all the sins of mankind to Him. We have to confirm the spiritual meaning of the word ‘baptism’ again: It means “to be cleansed,” “to bury,” and “to transfer something.” We must know this fact.
God the Father made it so that all people could clearly know that He eliminated everyone’s sins through the baptism His Son received from John the Baptist and through His blood. He recorded this providence first in the Old Testament as the laying on of hands. In the New Testament era, Jesus Christ and John the Baptist fulfilled the prophecies of the Old Testament. This Truth is revealed by the passage, “The Dayspring from on high has visited us; to give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death” (Luke 1:78-79). Who was it that witnessed of this Truth? It was none other than John the Baptist. He witnessed that Jesus Christ bore the sins of the world by being baptized by John the Baptist and would shed His blood on the Cross, and become the Savior. John the Baptist transferred all the sins of this world to Jesus Christ through His baptism, and he told everyone that all their sins went over to Jesus Christ by witnessing of all these facts. Through his role of baptizing Jesus, John the Baptist let everyone know this fact that all people’s sins had gone over to Jesus Christ. John the Baptist made us believe in this Truth by witnessing of Jesus Christ and His ministry. This is what John the Baptist witnessed of on this earth, and it was his ministry.
Just as the sun shines on the whole world, John the Baptist transferred all the sins in your and my souls, hearts, thoughts, and actions to Jesus Christ through the baptism he gave Him. You and I have to know this. How did your sins and mine go over to Jesus Christ? They went over all at once to Jesus when John the Baptist baptized Jesus Christ when he was thirty.
 
 
Jesus Could Not But Take Our Sins This Way
 
Let’s read Matthew 3, starting with verse 13. “Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. And John tried to prevent Him, saying, ‘I 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. When He had been baptized, Jesus 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’” (Matthew 3:13-17).
If we read Matthew 3:13 again, it says, “Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him.” This John spoken of here is not the Apostle John who recorded the Gospel of John; he is John the Baptist. Then, as soon as Jesus went to be baptized by John the Baptist, John the Baptist tried to decline His order, saying, “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?” John the Baptist knew who Jesus was. The word ‘then’ here refers to the time when he was thirty. It is the age that one was able to perform the duties of a High Priest.
Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy of the Old Testament are called the Pentateuch or the Five Books of Moses because they were written by Moses. If you read these Books, you can find that Aaron’s descendants were to start their priesthood from the age of 30 (Numbers 4:3). However, the descendants of Levi usually obtained the qualifications to serve the Lord in the sanctuary when they turned 25, and they retired from the duty at the age of 50 (Numbers 8:24). The priesthood was given only to the descendant of Aaron among the Levites; the rest of the Levites were to do the works of serving the Tabernacle as it is written, “But you shall appoint the Levites over the tabernacle of the Testimony, over all its furnishings, and over all things that belong to it; they shall carry the tabernacle and all its furnishings; they shall attend to it and camp around the tabernacle” (Numbers 1:50).
But a person needed to be a descendant of Aaron and be without fault to be entrusted with the duties of a High Priest. It was determined in the Bible that one must be a male descendant of Aaron and thirty years old in order to perform the duties of a High Priest.
The Bible says, “Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him” (Matthew 3:13). The word “then” refers to the time when Jesus and John the Baptist were thirty. The time that Jesus began His public life and took the sins of mankind on His head by being baptized in order to save mankind from their sins was exactly when He was thirty. That is because He promised in the Old Testament that sins would go over to the sacrificial offering if hands were laid on it. Therefore, Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist when He turned thirty in order to fulfill that promise.
“Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. And John tried to prevent Him, saying, ‘I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?” (Matthew 3:13-14) The representative of mankind and the representative of Heaven met each other here. Many people ask how it is that John the Baptist is the representative of mankind, but if they read Matthew 11:11, they would see that Jesus personally witnessed that there was no one born of women greater than John the Baptist. The representative of mankind and the representative of Heaven met this way in the Jordan River.
Then, Jesus said to John the Baptist, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15). Here, the words “all righteousness” refers to the state that all the sins of the world have been blotted out. Why did Jesus speak this to John the Baptist? Jesus spoke that way in order to save every single person from all his or her sins because all people had sins by being born as the descendants of Adam. As such, Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist in order to take all the sins of all people. So He said, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15). So, John the Baptist baptized Jesus. This is the true baptism that was performed by the laying on of hands.
There are two types of baptism: Baptism by immersion and baptism by effusion. Baptism by immersion is the original and formal one. The person baptizing and the one being baptized entered the water up to their chests. But the first qualification of the person who is to baptize people is that he must be a person who believes and has faith that Jesus Christ received the transference of all the sins of mankind, including all his own sins, by being baptized by John the Baptist, carried the sins of the world to the Cross, was nailed to it and died, and was resurrected from the dead to save all mankind. More specifically, I’m speaking of those with duties in the Church, and those who are to be baptized are people who accept the same faith in their hearts. Therefore, only the born again have the qualification of baptizing and being baptized. Not just anyone is baptized.
We, the born again, baptize and are baptized for these reasons. But why did Jesus get baptized? Jesus being baptized by John the Baptist was in order to fulfill all righteousness. Jesus Christ, the sacrificial Lamb of God was baptized by John the Baptist. It was to receive the transference of all the sins of mankind. Since Jesus, after taking all the sins of the world by being baptized, saved us by carrying them to the Cross, dying there, and being resurrected from the dead, we have been saved by believing in this Truth. My fellow believers, Jesus Christ was baptized by John the Baptist in order to fulfill al righteousness.
Let’s examine the words in Matthew 3:15 through the original text a little more. ‘All righteousness’ in Greek is ‘πάσαν δικαιοσύνην (pasan dikaiosunen),’ which means the fairest state that has no defect at all. The word ‘for thus’ is ‘οϋτως γάρ (hutos gar)’ in Greek, which means ‘just in this way,’ ‘most fitting,’ or ‘there is no other way besides this.’ These words show that Jesus took the sins of humankind onto Him irreversibly and most properly through the baptism He received from John the Baptist.
It wasn’t that Jesus came to this earth as the Savior and saved all mankind by Himself; God sent out John the Baptist (who was born six months prior to Jesus) when he turned thirty and had him shout at the people, “Repent, you brood of vipers” and telling them to receive the cleansing of their sins. Then Jesus, because He wanted to be baptized, went to John the Baptist who was shouting thus and said to him, “Baptize Me! For thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15). Why did He say so? It was because His being baptized by John the Baptist is the most proper way to save all humankind from their sins.
Jesus is the Savior of mankind, but He needed to receive the transference of all mankind’s sins through a representative of them. He absolutely needed this method because otherwise He wouldn’t be able to save us clearly and justly. Just as the record of debt is erased only after the debt is paid, there absolutely needed to be a way to bear the sins and pay them off.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). God the Father sent His Son to this earth. John the Baptist’s role was absolutely necessary in order for His Son to receive the transference of all the sins of mankind, and therefore, God the Father had John the Baptist born into the family of Zacharias, a descendant of Aaron the High Priest. Therefore, Jesus said that John the Baptist was the greatest among those born of women. Zacharias also prophesied, having been inspired by the Holy Spirit, “The Dayspring from on high has visited us; to give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death” (Luke 1:78-79). John the Baptist performed this role.
Jesus received the transference of all the sins of mankind when John the Baptist baptized Him. Therefore, He is the Lamb of God and the propitiation for the salvation of humankind; and John the Baptist, as mankind’s representative, was the High Priest who transferred all sins to Jesus Christ. John the Baptist was the last High Priest and the last prophet of the Old Testament. Therefore, the Bible speaks of the advent of the John the Baptist as the end of the Old Testament era, saying, “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence” (Matthew 11:12). That means that the Old Testament era ended by John the Baptist baptizing Jesus Christ.
Jesus received the transference of all the sins of mankind by being baptized by John the Baptist. Then, without regard to John the Baptist, He personally preached the Word, nourished His disciples, spoke of the Kingdom of Heaven, and spread the gospel of the remission of sins to people who were lowly due to their sins. So, the Lord could say to the woman who was caught in the act of adultery, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you? Neither do I condemn you” (John 8:10-11). The Lord was able to say this because He took all the sins of mankind through John the Baptist.
How can you and I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior? How can we believe that He is our Savior? The question is: “How can we have a witness in our hearts that we have been saved?” Since John the Baptist baptized Jesus and Jesus saved us by receiving the transference of all your sins and mine by being baptized by John the Baptist, taking the sins of the world to the Cross, receiving the pain of being nailed there, and being resurrected from the dead, and since you and I believe in that witness, we can surely have proof in our hearts and minds that we have been saved. The role of John the Baptist allowed all people to really obtain salvation through Jesus Christ, just like the rising sun shines on the entire world. Therefore, John the Baptist’s role is important. My fellow believers, is that true or not?
You must know well the roles of Jesus Christ and John the Baptist. If you intend to believe in Jesus as your Savior, you must know Jesus, but you also need to know the role of John the Baptist. The Israelites in the Old Testament took a sacrificial offering to the priest and offered it to receive the remission of sins. Because of their sins, they had to daily lay their hands on sacrificial animals to transfer their sins to them, kill them, give them to the priest, and return home. But they couldn’t receive complete remission of sins through such animals being offered up everyday.
If we read Leviticus 16, we can find the statute of the Day of Atonement. On the tenth day of the seventh month, the High Priest representing the Israelites took two goats to offer as the sacrifice for their yearly sins of his people. He chose one of them, and offered a sacrifice for the Tabernacle with it first. Then, he had to offer the other goat to atone for the yearly sins of the Israelites. Let’s read Leviticus 16:20-22.
“And when he has made an end of atoning for the Holy Place, the tabernacle of meeting, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat. Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, confess over it all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions, concerning all their sins, putting them on the head of the goat, and shall send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a suitable man. The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to an uninhabited land; and he shall release the goat in the wilderness.”
Here, we have to pay attention to the passage, “Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, confess over it all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions, concerning all their sins, putting them on the head of the goat.” All the yearly sins of the Israelites were transferred by the laying on of the hands of Aaron the High Priest, the representative of the Israelites. When the High Priest thus offered sacrifice as the representative of his people on the tenth day of the seventh month, the sins of the Israelites that had made them imperfect were completely cleansed. The Israelites could continue dwelling together in the Tabernacle through the High Priest offering sacrifice for them and cleansing their sins. They could receive God’s help and be acknowledged as His people.
Just as there had been the High Priest in the Old Testament named Aaron, there was Zacharias’ son, John the Baptist, in the New Testament who, as mankind’s representative, transferred all the sins of the world to Jesus Christ. So, John the Baptist’s role was very important. My fellow believers, who is it who guides our hearts and souls into the way of peace? That Person is Jesus Christ. Who is it that let us know that Jesus Christ is our true Savior? That person is John the Baptist.
Many people of the world read the Bible now. The Bible records that Jesus Christ is the Savior of mankind and the Son of God, and that He came to this earth as the sacrificial Lamb of God. This is the Word of Truth. But if there was no servant of God today who knew the Truth of the gospel of the water and the Spirit, who on earth would preach this Word of the Truth so that you could receive the true remission of your sins? A person can’t fully receive the remission of sins even if he reads the Bible several thousands of times on his own.
Things were tough for me long ago because of my sins. I am a person who has believed in the Word of God. I am a person who has studied theology. I studied Calvinism, an orthodox theology. But I couldn’t receive the remission of my sins even though I had studied theology and read the Bible countless times. In other words, I couldn’t cleanse all the sins in my heart at once. The sins in my heart didn’t leave even though I diligently offered prayers of repentance. It seemed that they had left momentarily, but when I looked at myself later, some seemed to be gone and others seemed to remain in my heart as they had been before. So, I agonized over that.
I frankly couldn’t know why Jesus was baptized. I could know the literal meaning of the baptism, memorize it, and even write it in the original language, but I couldn’t know it spiritually. So, I asked and asked countless times and read many books, but no one or no books gave me any answers. So, I knelt before God and prayed. “Lord God! Please teach me. I am a person who knows nothing. I am a person who really knows nothing. I am lower than a little child. How can a person like me do your work or lead people to You? I have sin in my heart; how can a sinner guide others?”
Of course, I knew the doctrinal answers to this question very well. I knew the fact that people could be acknowledged as God’s people even though they had sins if only they believed in Jesus. I was versed in the Five Points of Calvinism. But none of these things were the Truth. They couldn’t eliminate the sins in my heart at all.
But God taught me the Truth of the gospel of the water and the Spirit through His Word. I knew the literal meaning of the Word in Matthew 3:13-15, but I couldn’t understand its true spiritual meaning. God taught me that meaning. He let me know that all the sins of mankind went over to Jesus when He was baptized by John the Baptist just as all the yearly sins of the Israelites went over to the scapegoat when the High Priest in the Old Testament laid his hands on it.
“Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15). “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). These Words began to work in my soul. Jesus Christ, the Son of God the Father, upheld the will of the Father and took all the sins of all the people of the world through His baptism. He became the propitiation for all humanity by submitting Himself to God the Father’s will. Therefore, God the Father said He was well pleased in Him. No matter how precious of a son or a daughter someone is, if he or she absolutely never listens to what his or her parents say, he or she can’t become a child in whom the parents are well pleased. In those cases, we call them ‘headaches’ instead. But Jesus Christ, the Son of God the Father, obeyed His Father, even laying down His life, and He was totally loyal. So, He saved you and me.
John the Baptist witnessed to all people that Jesus Christ is the Savior who received the transference of all our sins. Through John the Baptist’s witness that he transferred all the sins of mankind to Jesus Christ, you and I came to know this fact and came to be able to truly believe in Jesus Christ as the Savior.
My fellow believers, we have to know why God the Father sent John the Baptist to this earth first and why the Lord Jesus was baptized by him. We also have to believe that. We must believe that Jesus received the transference of all the sins of mankind through John the Baptist. We must be thankful by faith that Jesus became the Savior who saved us by receiving the transference of all your sins and mine through John the Baptist, carrying the sins of the world to the Cross, being nailed to it, dying there, and being resurrected from the dead. In order to truly save you and me, the Lord first sent John the Baptist to this earth, took all the sins of mankind by being baptized by John the Baptist, received the judgment of sin on the Cross, and was resurrected from the dead.
The role of John the Baptist was this important in Jesus’ ministry. His witness was like the rising sun. But if a person doesn’t believe in either Jesus’ ministry or John the Baptist’s role, the sins in his heart cannot be blotted out, no matter how much he believes in Jesus as his Savior. My fellow believers, all your sins and mine become completely revealed when we find out the gospel Truth that Jesus came to this earth and took all our sins by being baptized by John the Baptist and that John the Baptist transferred the sins of the world to Him. Therefore, we can also come to believe that Jesus received the transference of your sins and mine and bore the judgment of them on the Cross and that you and I are perfectly saved from sin. Therefore, you can be saved by complete faith and become the children of God. Therefore, you can go to the Kingdom of Heaven only if you go before the Lord with your faith in this Truth. The role and witness of John the Baptist are that important.
Our roles and witnesses are also very important. That’s because you and I perform the role of John the Baptist today. I am not saying you and I have passed people’s sins onto Jesus like John the Baptist; I am saying we are the servants of God who are to perform the role of John the Baptist. Like the role of John the Baptist, we make the crooked places straight, exalt the low mountains, make the high mountains low, and make people equal in God’s grace.
My fellow believers, who are those who introduce to people and witness to them today that Jesus saved us by being baptized by John the Baptist and thus taking all the sins of mankind, dying on the Cross, and being resurrected from the dead? They are none other than you and I. My fellow believers, do you believe? If we say that Jesus Christ is the Sun or the Light, then John the Baptist is the person who was introducing the Sun in its brightness. The Lord admonishes you and me to take on the role of John the Baptist on this earth today. This is a truly great Truth. My fellow believers, do you believe in this fact?
Some people ask me, “What’s so important about John the Baptist?” Some others ask us, “Are you the denomination of John the Baptist?” Those kinds of people are really ignorant. Even though Jesus Christ alone is our Savior, John the Baptist and his ministry are indispensable to our salvation. God taught us this, appeared to us, and saved us through John the Baptist’s ministry and witness. I give thanks to the Lord who taught us this truth.