The New Life Mission

Sermons

Subject 22 : The Gospel According to LUKE

[Chapter 10] (Luke 10:25-37) We Can Be Saved Only through Jesus

(Luke 10:25-37)
“And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, ‘Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?’ He said to him, ‘What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?’ So he answered and said, ‘‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’’ And He said to him, ‘You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.’ But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?’ Then Jesus answered and said: ‘A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’ So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?’ And he said, ‘He who showed mercy on him.’ Then Jesus said to him, ‘Go and do likewise.’”
 
 
In the Scripture passage we read today, we see conversation between a certain lawyer and Jesus. Jesus is speaking figuratively here. While He was speaking, He asked the lawyer who would be neighbors of the rescued man, saying, “So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?” The lawyer answered, “He who showed mercy on him.” Through this passage, Jesus is teaching us to know who our real neighbors are.
 
 
Who Finds the Grace of God?
 
Those who are physically and spiritually pitiful are the ones who find the grace of God. They are so wretched that God cannot help but grant His Love. It’s on these people that God bestows His mercy. God’s love and mercy are granted to those who are extremely miserable. God grants His love benevolently and graciously to the wretched ones who deserve His mercy. The true benevolence that God has shown to us is manifested in this way to the wretched sinners through the gospel of water and the Spirit. Let us then take this opportunity to learn in more detail about to whom Lord really shows His mercy.
In today’s Scripture passage, Jesus told a parable to a certain lawyer, or a mentor of the Law: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him.”
At first the lawyer had approached Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus had then asked him in return, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?” And the lawyer said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself. Jesus then said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live,” but the lawyer, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” The lawyer asked this question to justify himself and challenge Jesus.
Jesus then spoke figuratively about a man who fell among thieves on his way to Samaria from Jerusalem, and how this traveler was rescued by a benevolent Samaritan. We have heard this passage so many times that we think we know all about it. I suspect that because you are so familiar with this passage, some of you might not have paid much attention. But rather than just glossing it over thinking that we already know it all, we should recollect and ruminate on God’s blessings found in this passage and make it our spiritual bread.
The mentor of the Law here approached Jesus and tried to show off his observance of the Law. Brimming-over with self-confidence and full of conceit, he challenged Jesus saying, “I have followed all the commandments of God and I have loved my neighbors so far, so who’s my true neighbor? I will treat him as God commands, so who should be my neighbor? If You tell me who my neighbor is, I will love him like I love myself.”
Fundamentally, however, this lawyer was not a righteous man who could observe God’s Law. That’s because everyone is born with sinful nature and all the ingredients of sin. But the lawyer, being ignorant of the truth, had misjudged himself, thinking that he himself was capable of completely observing God’s Law. In other words, the lawyer didn’t know his ability. He was overconfident of himself. So he challenged Jesus’ righteousness, saying, “Who’s my neighbor? I’ll show that I love my neighbor just like I love my own flesh. By doing so, I’ll gain eternal life.” So Jesus exposed this lawyer’s conceit through a parable, explaining to him, “You’re absolutely not capable of observing the Law and will always remain so.”
The first city Jesus mentioned in His parable is Jerusalem. Jerusalem is the city of peace. It is the city of religion. During the days of Jesus, Jerusalem was Israel’s capital city as well as the largest city of the region. The name “Jerusalem” means “teaching of peace.” Jesus specifically mentioned Jerusalem in His parable to call the lawyer’s attention to his real nature.
In the parable, a certain man went down toward Jericho from Jerusalem. All geographical names and people’s names written in the Bible have a certain meaning. The city called “Jericho” means “fragrant”—that is, the city implies this world. This will become clearer down the road toward the end of my sermon.
When Jesus explained His teachings, He often spoke figuratively. What did Jesus then mean when He said that a certain man fell among thieves while traveling to Jericho from Jerusalem? This points out the fact that that lawyer was from Jerusalem, and that he was a religious man, a leader of the Jewish religion. And Jesus used this simile to teach us that such a religious person was prone to be corrupted and fall into the world after leading a long religious life.
 
 
We Are the Ones Who Fell among Thieves While Going Down to Jericho
 
Jesus said, “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a certain priest came down that road and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.” We can readily know that “a certain priest” here refers to the very lawyer to whom Jesus was speaking. Jesus was saying to him figuratively, “You are the very priest here. You live in the comfort and opulence of Jerusalem, and from your elevated seat you teach everyone how to live. Even though you talk about the Law as a religious leader, and teach people to observe it and love their neighbors as they love themselves, you yourself don’t observe God’s commandments nor love your neighbors, just like the priest who avoided the victim here. You yourself don’t keep the Law at all.” 
There are many instances in which Christians end up falling into the world while leading a religious life for a long time. In addition, not only lay believers, but Christian leaders who serve as their teachers even without being born again—that is, pastors, evangelists, elders, and deacons—are likely to be the servants of Satan to be condemned. We were the same. Before we found the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we had fallen into sin, weaknesses, despair, and the trap of Satan, and as a result, we were destined to be condemned and destroyed. Since we had believed in Jesus without knowing His righteousness, we were bound to hell for our sins.
Through His parable, Jesus was saying to the lawyer, “You, a master of the Law, will become depraved as time goes by, and you will suffer because of your sins. You boast of your adherence to the Law and your faith in God, but you treat the Gentiles like animals and you show no compassion to those who can’t keep God’s Word. You teach sitting in the Temple that one should live according to God’s Word, but do you really live as the Law teaches you? You are also a sinner who doesn’t live by the Law. That’s why you need salvation.”
In Israel, priests were from the Levites. In particular, High Priests were from the descendants of Aaron among the Levites. Among the descendants of Aaron, men who turned 30 were able to become High Priests. God made priests out of the descendants of Levi among the twelve tribes of Israel. Priests were the leaders of the Israelites in charge of offering sacrifices for their people at the Tabernacle. But one of the priests, like the lawyer here who taught the people of Israel to live by the Law, passed by when he saw the dying traveler who fell among thieves.
Priests and lawyers knew the Law well and urged people to keep the Law, but what was the reality? Even though they told the Israelites to live by God’s Word and to repent, but they themselves couldn’t observe the Law. How about you then? Can you keep the Law? No, you can’t. Are you confident that you can keep God’s Law 100 percent? No, you can’t. It’ll be great for you to keep God’s Law perfectly, but you and I are not capable of living by His Law. There’s no single person on this earth who can keep the Law perfectly.
But there are many people in this world who don’t know themselves and vainly strive to be saved from their sins by observing God’s Law perfectly. Just how far have they gone astray from God? Some teach people to observe God’s Law perfectly, while others judge everyone else self-righteously, saying, “Why can’t you keep God’s Law?” These people are none other than the religious leaders of Christianity. That is, they act as religious leaders in Christian communities even though they have not yet been born again. They are the hypocritical religious leaders. They say to people inside their churches, “This is what God’s Law is all about, and we should live by this Law.” However, they are just shouting vacantly without knowing the basic meaning of the God-given Law at all.
Why has God given us the Law? God gave us His Law to teach us who we really are and to say to us, “You all commit sin like this.” God didn’t give us the Law for us to be saved by keeping the Law. Rather, He gave us His Law to let us realize our sins, as it is written, “Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:20). But contrary to God’s intention, there are many people who are interpreting the Law mistakenly and challenging the Lord by asking, “Who is my neighbor? I will love him as I love myself.”
Such Christians cannot help but go down to Jericho—that is, go out into the world—even though they have believed in Jesus for a long time and their church positions have been elevated, because they have not yet met the gospel of the water and the Spirit. They will end up being corrupted more after believing in Jesus. Even though they want to live by God’s will, they can’t. When they believed in Jesus for the first time, they were usually passionate and their faith was kindled up. But as time passes by, their faith cools down and they become corrupted even more due to their sins, even though their positions are going up from deacons to elders or from assistant ministers to senior ministers. What our Lord said to the lawyer here means this: “It is you who didn’t do anything to the person who fell among thieves. And you’re the one heading to hell. You are the very person who desperately needs the help of your neighbor, and your neighbor is none other than Me.” In other words, Jesus Himself is the true neighbor of all of us human beings.
Christians strive to observe the Law, but it’s very hard to do so because of their human weaknesses. They simply are incapable of observing the Law. But most Christian leaders compel their congregations to live by the Law. Why did God give us His Law then? It’s to realize our sins. Therefore, it’s not right to teach those who have not been born again yet to observe God’s Law. That kind of teaching deviates far from the will of God and the purpose of the Law. Someone like the lawyer in today’s Scripture passage is good at teaching everyone else even though he himself has not been born again. What do such people do when they come across another person in trouble? Even when their neighbor falls victim to thieves and is dying, they just stare at the victim without doing anything, as though it were none of their business. They have no idea what to do.
Those who claim to believe in Jesus without knowing God’s righteousness are not the ones who have been born again. Yet despite this, even though these people profess to believe in Jesus as their Savior without knowing God’s righteousness, it may seem at first that they are able to reach an elevated spiritual state. Certainly, these people themselves are prone to think that they are good Christians. But as time goes by, they become corrupted and ultimately end up going out into the world just as the priest in today’s Scripture passage went down to Jericho from Jerusalem. Jerusalem is located on high elevation while Jericho is located at least 270 m (900 feet) under the sea level. Even though many misguided Christians are pursuing a holy life through a religion called Christianity, they are actually running toward the fragrance of this world and to their destruction.
Among those who don’t yet know God’s righteousness, none can completely observe His Law. But this lawyer dared to say, “Who is my neighbor? I’ll take care of him. I’ll love God with all my strength and heart until I die. And I’ll love my neighbor just like I love myself. I’m perfect in serving God. And now I’ll give my love to my neighbor.” Do you think you can meet all your moral obligations to your fellow men? No one can do this. Even if Confucius comes back to life, he cannot fulfill all his moral duties to fellow men. This is precisely why our ancestors taught Confucian ideas so diligently to their descendants, because these ideas represented some ideal but unattainable state. Given how it’s impossible to follow all the Confucian teachings, they provide little more than a moral compass on how one ought to live ideally. But no one can actually fulfill all his moral obligations to others perfectly.
The Law is composed of two sets of commandments, one that we should keep in our relationship with God, and the other in our relationship with our fellow men. Put differently, there are 613 statutes in the Law specifying the do’s and don’ts for our relationship with God and men. But is anyone capable of observing God’s commandments perfectly? Can you keep all the statutes outlining how you should treat your neighbor, let alone God? No, you can’t. This inability is defined by your fundamental nature as a human being; you have nothing to show off before God. But the arrogant lawyer was so confident of himself that he said, “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” God made His Law for everyone to realize his sins, and for the born-again to use it as the basic guideline to life. Therefore, those who have not yet been born again should be born again first by believing in the gospel of Jesus’ baptism and blood.
 
 
But Who’s My Neighbor?
 
With His parable, Jesus was saying to the lawyer, “A traveler fell among thieves while he was going down to Jericho and was left to die. A priest came along, but he passed by the victim no matter how much he cried out for help. This priest is none other than you, running away from your neighbor in need.” Jesus had the lawyer in His mind when He told him this parable.
In the parable, the traveler was robbed of all his possessions and he was bleeding to death. So he cried out for help, but the priest that came upon him did not reach out to him. Instead, the priest thought to himself, “That man has blood all over him! Should I go there and help him, or should I just pass by pretending that I didn’t hear anything?” Calculating in his head, he thought, “What if the man dies while I’m helping him? I’ll then have to take care of the corpse. He is so badly wounded. It’ll be a disaster if I try to help and he dies anyways. I might help him if his injuries weren’t so serious, in which case I’d be able to take some credit for saving the man. But the man is almost dead. What can I do at this point? Nothing!” So the priest decided to pass by the victim pretending not to have seen anything.
What does this account mean? The Lord is saying that all the religious leaders who have not been born again yet are just like this priest. He is saying that no sinner can live by the Law. The parable of the Good Samaritan teaches that if anyone believes in God without being born again, then in time he will be corrupted rather than building his faith. Deceived by Satan, he will then commit more sins, and he will ultimately perish to pay off the wages of his sins. Satan attacks men incessantly to alienate them from God. When one gives into Satan’s temptation, he will perish in the end. This is one of the lessons taught by the parable of the Good Samaritan.
There are all kinds of sins, but they all lead to the destruction of sinners. You should realize that you yourself are a sinner, and that you were born with sin from the very beginning. Just being vaguely aware of this is not enough; you must apply what you know to yourself. If you have not been born again yet, you should first admit that you are a sinner. So you should know that you are going to hell because of your sinful state. If you just think vaguely in your head that you might be a sinner, you can just gloss over it, but if you clearly know and realize that you are a sinner, you will also realize that God’s judgment is unavoidable. The Bible says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). You should realize that every sinner is destined to be cast into the fire of hell without fail. If anyone says that he is a sinner but doesn’t know that he is heading straight to hell, this person knows his sinful state only vaguely and superficially. In other words, he is a sinner only in theory. He is like a pig that doesn’t know its last day is about to come. If you have any sin, that is, if you are a sinner, then you are destined to hell. It’s the truth. Can anyone who has sin go to Heaven? No, absolutely not. Even if a person believes in Jesus piously and religiously, he can never go to Heaven unless he is born again.
In Christian communities, those who attend church without being born again vaguely think that they will go to Heaven even if they have sin, just because they believe in Jesus. But these Christians are mere churchgoers. Will they not go to hell even if they have sin in their hearts just because they believe in Jesus? If one has sin in his heart, he must go to hell. The Lord said, “The wages of sin is death.” Those who have sin are destined to go to hell without exception. God clearly said this truth. If you believe in God’s Word as the truth, you should know your true nature and acknowledge yourself. It will then be possible for you to be saved from all your sins. The very first thing that you should realize is that if you have any sin, you will be cast into hell.
When a Christian starts to believe in Jesus, he observes God’s Law well, does virtuous things to his neighbors, preaches the gospel, and does everything else quite well. But just like the traveler who fell among thieves and was left half dead, all the worldly Christians are bound to lose their everything, from their own virtues to their good deeds and their own righteousness. Because of the sins they keep committing, they will lose their own righteousness eventually. That one has lost all his possessions means that he has lost all his righteousness. We also were such people who couldn’t help but confess after committing sin, “Lord, I’m a sinner. Unless You save me, I’ll die here. I’ll go to hell.”
It is you who fell among thieves, and it is you who should say, “I’ll go to hell. Please save me.” Whoever is not born again has sin in his heart. Such a person is to fall among thieves, who will strip him of his clothing and slash him, and he will eventually bleed to death. Everyone who has any sin will end up in hell. All sinners will be thrown into burning fire. Yet despite this, there still are some people who actually boast of the fact that they are sinners. Not knowing that they have been deceived by Satan and are heading straight to hell, they say that they are sinners who believe in Jesus. These people are certain to go to hell. Because sinners are spiritually blind, they can neither see God nor find the way to Heaven. So they all need to meet the Good Samaritan first and get his help.
With His parable, Jesus is saying here that one can be saved from all his sins only when he meets the Samaritan, that is, Jesus who is our benevolent neighbor. The teachers of the Law and the priests were just extolling on the virtues of obeying the Law with their words, but they themselves were not able to live by the Law. It was inevitable for such priests and lawyers to succumb to the world eventually, just like the traveler who fell among thieves. Moreover, while they were on the slippery road to the world, they also lost all their righteousness, virtues, and belongings. They should have instead surrendered themselves to the Lord and come to His presence to ask for His salvation.
It’s written, “Likewise, a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side” (Luke 10:32). This passage once again points out that those who lead a religious life including the religious leaders and church officers are hypocrites. Those who have not been born again cannot live in Jerusalem—that is, the Kingdom of God. They can’t help but be hypocrites. They pretend to be holy and talk about holiness and devotion, but when we look deep into their hearts, we see that they are filled with sin and they are destined to hell. Therefore, these Christians must believe in Jesus’ baptism and His blood to be delivered from all their sins.
This is what Jesus wanted to teach through His parable of the Good Samaritan. But when preaching about this Scripture passage, those who have not been born again say, “Let’s not act like this priest. Let’s not behave like the Levite. Let’s instead find and help all who fell among thieves just like the Good Samaritan did.”
My beloved believers, what are we like? Can you really do what the Samaritan did? This Good Samaritan is none other than our neighbor Jesus. It is Jesus alone who has really cleansed all our sins with the baptism He received from John the Baptist and the blood He shed on the Cross. Even though worldly pastors are giving preposterous sermons on this Scripture passage, we can realize that this passage does not mean what they say it means. As Jesus said in the parable, a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came across the victim, and when the Samaritan saw him, he had compassion. So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring oil and wine on the wounds; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
This Samaritan here doesn’t refer to any well-disposed man of the world or any benevolent Christian. Nor does he refer to you and me. He doesn’t imply the ideal type of pastor, elder, or deacon, either. The Good Samaritan refers to none other than Jesus Christ who was rejected by the Jews but became the cornerstone of God’s salvation, as it is written, “The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone” (Psalm 118:22). The Jews at the time looked down on the Samaritans because they were of mixed blood. The Israelites despised the Samaritans, saying they were lowly people. But one of the Samaritans, as he journeyed, came across the victim of a robbery, and when he saw him, he had compassion. So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, “Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.” In other words, this parable means that when we fell among thieves, when we were troubled with sin, and when we were destined to hell, Jesus came to us and saved us. In short, the Lord is teaching us that He has saved us like this.
 
 
What Did This Samaritan Do to the Man Who Fell among Thieves?
 
When the Samaritan saw the victim, he felt pity for him. Having compassion on someone is benevolence. If left alone, we all are destined to go to hell. No matter how hard we try to live by God’s will, we can’t do it. We are incapable of following the will of God to perfection. We’re feeble men. We are such miserable beings in God’s eyes. That’s why the Almighty God takes pity on us. Human beings might point a finger at each other’s failure, but God Almighty, who is the God of love, the God of the Truth, and the Savior, takes pity on us humans. The Good Samaritan took pity on the dying man, approached him and anointed him. This symbolizes that Jesus came down to this world in the flesh of man, and saved all people with His baptism and blood. He took pity on all humankind and saved it.
Most Jews did not respect Jesus. Only a few people who followed Jesus closely recognized and respected Him. Jesus did not have anything to be admired in His outside appearance. Far from admiring, the Jews actually despised Jesus. Our Lord had been always scorned since He came to this world born in lowly status. But despite being scorned by the people of this world, it was Jesus who had saved all of mankind, just as it was the lowly Samaritan who rescued the dying man. God had become a lowly Man to save us humans. The Creator of the universe came to this world in the flesh of man, as it is written, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).
What did Jesus, our God, do for us when He came to this world? Just as the Israelites’ sins were passed onto the sacrificial lamb by laying their hands on its head in the Old Testament, Jesus bore all the sins of mankind and blotted them out by being baptized by John the Baptist at the age of 30.
 
 
The Gospel of the Righteousness of God Has Saved Us
 
Let’s turn to Matthew 3:13-15 here: “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.” That Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist is the same work that the Good Samaritan did by pouring oil on the wounds of the plundered man. This passage says that Jesus the true God was baptized to save all sinners destined to hell. Jesus was baptized at the age of 30. He began His public life when He turned 30. He began the ministry of saving all mankind from its sins. Jesus approached John the Baptist when he was giving baptism to the people of Israel in the Jordan River. When He sought to be baptized by John the Baptist, John tried to dissuade Him at first, saying, “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?” Jesus then said to John the Baptist firmly, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.”
Our Lord came to this world to save sinners. And He gave His flesh to us sinners when He turned 30. Jesus said to John the Baptist when He was about to be baptized, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” We should realize and believe the reason why Jesus said this. Why was Jesus baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan River? And why did Jesus say, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness”?
Here is why: Jesus was baptized because we had all become sinners destined to hell, and He wanted to cleanse us from all our sins. Where Jesus said here, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness,” the word “thus” is “οϋτως γάρ” (hoo’-tos gar) in Greek, which means “just in this way,” “most fitting,” or “there is no other way besides this.” This word shows that Jesus took the sins of humankind onto Himself irreversibly and most properly through the baptism He received from John the Baptist.
In the Old Testament era, if a sinner wanted to be delivered from his sins before God, he had to bring a sheep without blemish, pass his sin onto the head of the sacrificial animal by laying his hands on its head, cut its throat to draw its blood, put it on the horns of the altar of burnt offering, cut the flesh of the animal to pieces, put them on the altar, and burn and offer them to God as a sin offering. The sinner was then remitted from his sins before God through this sacrificial system. Jesus was baptized to blot out all the sins of every sinner destined to hell. Jesus was baptized to make us righteous.
“For thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Just as the Israelites’ sins were passed onto their unblemished sacrificial animal, Jesus took all our sins onto Himself through His baptism and was condemned on our behalf as our own propitiation. Jesus was baptized to bear all the iniquities of every sinner. That is why Jesus bowed His head before John the Baptist, and John the Baptist baptized Jesus in a form of the laying on of hands. Just as the sins of the people of Israel were passed onto the sacrificial animal through the laying on of hands in the Old Testament, Jesus the Lamb of God was baptized by John the Baptist to bear and eradicate all the sins of this world once and for all.
 
 
John the Baptist Is the Representative of All Mankind
 
Among those born of women John the Baptist was the greatest man. As is written in Matthew 11:11, Jesus Himself bore witness of John, saying, “Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist.” Jesus said this because John the Baptist had passed all the sins of mankind to Jesus as the representative of all humankind. The moment Jesus was baptized, He took all the sins of mankind onto Himself and blotted them out. As Jesus began His public life at the age of 30, He was baptized first and accepted all the sins of mankind passed onto His head. And He proclaimed for three years that He was the Light of this world and the Savior. When Jesus died on the Cross, He cried out, “It is finished!”
It is by being baptized by John the Baptist, and thereby taking upon all the sins of the world, that Jesus Christ cleansed away each and every sin in this world. “Thus”—that is, by being baptized, Jesus accepted all the sins of this world passed onto Him and bore the judgment of blood on the Cross on behalf of us sinners. In this way, He delivered all of us believers from all our sins. This is the purpose of the baptism Jesus received. Do you believe this? When Jesus said to John the Baptist, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness,” He was saying, “John, baptize Me to pass all the sins of mankind to Me. I will bear all the sins of mankind on My body.” In this way, Jesus eradicated all the sins of this world.
Just like the sacrificial sheep or goat without blemish in the Old Testament, Jesus gave His body for us mankind by being baptized and by bleeding on the Cross. Jesus was baptized for all sinners. God the Father praised Jesus who obeyed and carried out this mission. It is written, “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 3:16-17). God the Father was saying here, “With His baptism, My Son obeyed Me and carried out My order to bear all the sins of this world.” God the Father Himself bore witness of this Truth. It is then only a matter of course for us to believe that the Lord has saved us from all our sins. We should also believe that Jesus bore all your sins and mine by being baptized when He came to this earth. All of us must be delivered by this faith.
 
 
“Behold! The Lamb of God Who Takes Away the Sin of the World!”
 
Let’s turn to John 1:29: “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 here bore witness of Jesus. Because John the Baptist himself had baptized Jesus in the Jordan River, he was able to testify this about Jesus. He bore witness of Jesus by saying, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” When John the Baptist saw Jesus approaching him, he testified about Jesus like this to his disciples and the crowd gathered around him.
When were the sins of this world passed onto Jesus? When were your sins and mine passed onto Jesus? When were all the sins of all human beings of this world transferred to Jesus? It was when Jesus was baptized. When Jesus came to this world and was baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan River, He bore all the sins of this world. And the next day of His baptism, as John the Baptist saw Jesus come toward him, he bore witness of Jesus, saying, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” By this, John the Baptist was saying, “Jesus is the Messiah and the Savior. He is the Savior of all mankind. He has borne all your sins and mine, and all the sins of even the future generations to come. He is the Lamb of God.”
About 2,000 years ago, John the Baptist passed all our sins to Jesus by baptizing Him, which is equivalent to the laying on of hands carried out in the Old Testament era. And having seen Jesus bear all the sins of this world, he testified, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” You and I are both living in this world. From the moment we were born from our mothers’ wombs, we have belonged to this world. Regardless how long we have lived since we were born, we can’t help but commit sin before the presence of God. Whether we believe in God or not, we all commit sin. But what happened to the sins you committed? All of them were passed onto Jesus. Jesus became “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” We should know and believe in this baptism of Jesus properly.
In Luke chapter 10 here, the Lord said that the Samaritan had compassion on the plundered man and went to help him, pouring oil and wine on his wounds. This implies that the Lord took upon all our sins and blotted them out by being baptized. Jesus not only bore all the sins of this world, but He also shed His blood and died on the Cross to be judged on our behalf. You and I must believe this. It’s by believing in this Truth that we can be saved. When you and I believe in Jesus’ baptism and His death on the Cross, we can be delivered by the Lord.
Whatever sins we have committed from birth till now, they were already all borne by Jesus when He was baptized. And whatever sins we will commit in the future, they were also already borne by Jesus. Our life expectancy may be around 70 to 80 years, and all through our lives, we keep committing sins. All those sins were passed onto Jesus about 2,000 years ago when He was baptized. How we think about it is not important; what’s important is that Jesus came to this world, was baptized, died on the Cross, and was resurrected from death. Were all our sins passed onto Jesus through His baptism? Did Jesus bear all the sins of this world? Has this baptism of Jesus cleansed all our sins? The answer to all these questions is yes. Knowing and believing these things are absolutely important.
If you are 40, you must have committed countless sins so far. Were all these sins then passed onto Jesus already? Yes, they were. If you were to live long enough to reach 90, you would have 50 more years left in your life, and sins you commit during those 50 years also belong to the sins of the world, which were already passed onto Jesus 2,000 years ago. Each and every one of our sins belongs to the sins of the world regardless of when they were committed. The sins we commit today belong to the sins of this world; the sins we will commit tomorrow also belong to the sins of this world; the sins we committed yesterday also belong to the sins of this world; the sins we had committed before yesterday are also included in the sins of this world; the sins we committed the minute we were born are the sins of this world; and the sins we inherited from our parents are also the sins of this world. Each and every sin we commit until the day we die, including even the sin we commit on our deathbed, are all included in the sins of this world. Even that last sin was already passed onto Jesus. The Bible clearly proclaims that Jesus is “The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” Around 2,000 years ago, Jesus already bore all the sins of this world. Therefore, you and I no longer have any sin. To have the right faith is to see this evidence and believe in this truth unwaveringly.
Even though we don’t know when we will die, we know for sure that we will continue to commit sin until our very last day in this world. But Jesus bore all those sins already through His baptism. We were saved not by doing something virtuous, but by believing that Lord had saved us from all our sins. This means that we were not delivered by observing the Law or doing good works. We cannot do so because of our weaknesses, even though our hearts want to do so. For every one thing we do right, we do five things wrong. We are nothing more than wretched sinners destined to hell. The Lord has saved such people like us and made us righteous. The Lord has saved you and me and all the people of this world. We were delivered by our faith. Your sins and mine were all passed onto Jesus.
The Book of Leviticus records the sacrificial system. According to the sacrificial system, a sinner had to lay his hands on the head of a lamb or goat to pass all his daily sins to the animal and pray, “Lord God, I have sinned before You. Please, accept this animal and forgive me.” This man then cut the throat of the animal, drew its blood, and handed it over to the priest in charge. The priest then put the blood on the horns of the altar of burnt offering, and cut the animal into pieces and put them on the altar to burn it with fire as a sin offering to God. Like this, the Israelites offered the sin offerings whenever they committed sin, but their sins continued to pile up because they couldn’t offer sacrifices every day.
So, the Lord God established another sacrifice for His people and that was the sacrifice of the Day of Atonement. It was performed by the High Priest on the tenth day of the seventh month. On that day, the High Priest offered sacrifices to atone the yearly sins of all the Israelites as the representative of his people. To offer the sacrifices for the people, he first had to offer a bull as a sin offering, which was for himself, and make atonement for himself and for his house. The High Priest then brought two goats and offered one of them for the Lord inside the Tabernacle. The High Priest laid his hands on the head of the first goat to pass the sins of all Israelites, drew its blood, and brought it into the Most Holy. He then sprinkled the blood seven times on the lid of the Ark of the Covenant, the Mercy Seat that was placed on the east side of the Most Holy. Number seven in the Bible is the number of God, and it represents “perfection.” By this sacrificial blood, the wages of the yearly sins of all Israelites was paid off once and for all.
There were golden bells attached to the hem of the robe of the ephod, which was the outer garment of the High Priest. So, whenever he sprinkled the blood, the golden bells sounded, and the Israelites were listening to that sound outside the Tabernacle. When the High Priest sounded the golden bell seven times, all the Israelites were relieved to hear this because they knew that the wages of their sins was successfully paid off.
The High Priest then brought the remaining goat, the scapegoat, in front of his people waiting outside the Tabernacle and laid his hands on its head, praying, “Lord God, these people have committed sins during this year—the sins of evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, evil eye, blasphemy, pride, and foolishness. I, as the representative of Your people, now pass all these sins over to this scapegoat by laying my hands on its head. Please, accept this sacrificial animal instead of the lives of all Your people.”
After this, the High Priest sent away the scapegoat into the wilderness by the hand of a suitable man. The goat bore on itself all the Israelites’ iniquities to an uninhabited land and it was released in the wilderness. What happened to the scapegoat then? It died bearing the sins of the Israelites in the wilderness. This is how the Israelites were atoned for their yearly sins on the Day of Atonement.
What is written in Hebrew 10:1? It says, “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.” Here, the Lord teaches us about His perfect and everlasting salvation by relating His sacrifice with the sacrifice of the Day of the Atonement. Jesus has offered the eternal sacrifice with His body through His baptism and His blood of the Cross. Put differently, by coming to this earth and by being baptized, our Lord once and for all bore our sins that were not cleansed by everyday prayers of repentance. Jesus has saved us, who believe in His baptism and blood, from all of our sins to perfection. John the Baptist swept all the sins of this world and passed them onto the head of Jesus when he laid his hands on His head so that whoever believes in the baptism and blood of Jesus would have no sin at all. Our Lord accepted all the sins of mankind and bled on the Cross. While it was the High Priest who offered sacrifices for his people in the Old Testament era, in the age of the New Testament, it is John the Baptist, the last High Priest and the descendant of Aaron the first High Priest, who fulfilled the duty of transferring the sins of the entire human race (Luke 1:5-17, Matthew 11:11-13).
Born as the son of Zechariah the priest, John the Baptist was sent by God six months prior to Jesus. And both Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth were the descendants of Aaron the High Priest. By being baptized through this John the Baptist, Jesus took all the sins of mankind onto Himself. And by thus bearing all the sins of this world and being judged on the Cross, He has saved us all. By being baptized for our sins, He has cleansed all our sins from our hearts.
What did Jesus say in His parable? He said that the Samaritan went to the plundered man and bandaged his wounds after pouring oil and wine on the wounds. Jesus has healed all those destined to hell for their sins, who were miserable, tormented by sin, and afflicted by demons.
What the Samaritan did here, pouring oil on the wounds, refers to the ministry of Jesus—that is, it refers to the fact that Jesus Himself bore all sins on behalf of us humans and was condemned in our place. It is a symbolic representation of Jesus’ ministry of the water (His baptism) and the blood. By pouring oil on the wound, we can protect the wound from infection. Likewise, Jesus has completely cleansed away all the sins of mankind― the sins that you and I had when we were born from our mothers’ wombs, the sins we have committed so far, and even the sins we will commit in the future. He has completely saved us so that no matter how weak we are, we cannot become sinners again. By being baptized personally, Jesus bore all our sins. He has taken away all the sins of the entire human race. And by dying on the Cross, He was judged vicariously for the sins of all people and saved us from judgment.
After pouring oil on the wounds, what did the Samaritan do? After oil, he poured wine on those wounds. The wine the Samaritan poured symbolizes Jesus’ blood. Wine also means joy in the Bible. As it is written, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us,” Jesus came to this earth in the flesh of man, and at the age of 30, He bore all our sins through the baptism He received in the Jordan River. In this most fitting way, He blotted out all our sins. In such a proper way, the Lord gave His joy to us the believers. He has eradicated all our sins.
Do we then have any sins left in us? No, of course not! What about others? Are all the people of this world also sinless? Yes, they also have no more sin. The problem, however, is that there are so many people who don’t realize and believe in what Jesus has done for them, the Truth of being born again, even though all the sins of this world have already been eradicated perfectly thanks to Jesus’ righteous work. Because they don’t realize this Truth of salvation that our Lord has completed, they are leading a religious life holding on to their sins only to be ruined in the end. They will be killed by thieves on their way to Jericho—the world, that is—and ultimately be cast into hell, even though the Savoir has already come and saved all of us with the water and the blood (1 John 5:4-8).
The Bible states, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). And it also says, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32); “I am the light of the world, He who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life” (John 8:12).
As we see in these Scripture passages, the truth lies in Jesus Christ’s water and blood. The Lord says that one is not saved just because he is a master of the Law, or because he observes the Law well. Rather, one can be saved only when the Good Samaritan, that is, Jesus Christ, meets with him and shows mercy on him. What about you then? Have you met with the Samaritan? Have you found the Samaritan whom everybody ridiculed? Jesus was mocked by all men in this world. He is still ridiculed. But Jesus became your Savior and mine. Jesus is the God of love who will give us eternal life if only we would believe in Him.
Our Lord has given us real joy. When we believe that all the sins of this world including yours and mine were passed onto Jesus through His baptism, we will have genuine peace, true satisfaction and real joy. When our sins are broken away and severed, that is, when we cut off all our sins by faith, we will be overwhelmed with joy. We should circumcise the foreskin of our hearts as it is written, “Therefore circumcise the foreskin of your heart, and be stiff-necked no longer” (Deuteronomy 10:16). That is, when we admit with faith that all our sins were passed onto Jesus, we will receive the circumcision of the remission of sins in our hearts. In this way, we will have joy and peace in our hearts.
The Samaritan healed the person who fell among thieves. How did he heal the injured man? He used oil and wine, pouring them on the wounds. Likewise, Jesus has also poured oil and wine on all our slashed, broken, and bruised wounds caused by the sins we have committed. He has poured oil and wine on every wound that stings our hearts constantly. Our Lord Jesus says, “I have borne all those sins by being baptized by John the Baptist. All your sins were passed onto Me when I was baptized. And I was crucified and judged on your behalf. So you don’t have any sin anymore. Believe this Truth.” Even at this very moment, our Lord is admonishing all of us like this.
My dear fellow believers, were all the sins you committed in the past really passed onto Jesus? Yes, they were all passed onto Him. And Jesus bore all the sins we are committing now. He bore all our past and present sins, and even the sins we will commit in the future until the day we die, all at once. Jesus took all the sins of this world once and for all by being baptized, and He paid all the wages of those sins by shedding His blood on the Cross.
Now, how sinners are saved, how we are born again, how we receive eternal life, and how we become God’s righteous children—all these can be realized when we believe with the heart that Jesus was baptized and died on the Cross to save us from all our sins. By believing in this Truth, the way of God’s salvation, we can put on the grace of God. Jesus took away all my sins. He took away all your sins also. All of us must realize and believe in this Truth to reach our salvation.
Jesus came to this world as the Savior. And when He came, He had to accept all our sins through the laying on of hands according to the law God the Father had established in His sacrificial system. It would have been impossible, however, for all the billions of people living in this world to lay their hands on Jesus’ head to pass their sins to personally. But Jesus is the God of wisdom. The Book of Hebrews says that He made all the believers perfect by coming to this world and by giving Himself just one time.
Let’s turn to Hebrews 10:1-8 here: “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 purified, 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)’” (Hebrews 10:1-8).
This Scripture passage says, “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.” Now people can’t be made perfect just by the Law of the Old Testament. God’s Law brings us wisdom and teaches us about sin every day. And God also gave the Israelites the sacrificial system so that they would make atonement for their sins. But even though the Law and the sacrificial system teach us about the atonement of our sins, neither can completely save us from all our sins.
God had established two kinds of sacrifices for the Israelites: One for their daily sins, and the other for the yearly sins of all Israelites. When an Israelite committed a sin, he had to offer a sacrificial animal in person. But once a year, on the tenth day of the seventh month, the High Priest offered the sacrifice of the Day of Atonement to blot out the yearly sins of all Israelites.
The people of Israel had to live by every statute of the Law. If one offended any statute of the Law, he had to offer a sacrifice to atone for the sin. But because no one is perfect, the Israelites could not keep all the statutes of the Law, nor could they offer sacrifices for all the countless sins they committed every day. Even when they offered a sacrifice for one particular offence, it wasn’t long before they turned into sinners again, since none of them could avoid committing sin, and so they had to come back and offer yet another sacrifice to make atonement. For obvious reasons, this was simply untenable.
Knowing this limitation very well, God set the Day of Atonement and delivered the Israelites from their yearly sins through the sacrifice offered by the High Priest. But even the sacrifice of the Day of Atonement was limited in what it could achieve, as it had to be offered every year. As finite and limited human beings, we simply cannot attain the perfect remission of sins through the sacrificial system given in the Law of the Old Testament. The Law and the sacrificial system of the Old Testament cannot make us completely sinless.
That is why the Savior, Jesus Christ, came in the New Testament era and bore all our sins once and for all by being baptized. In this way, and by being condemned on the Cross, He has made us sinless and saved us from judgment. This is how the Lord has saved us. We can be saved from all our sins only when we believe in this redemption. The Law itself cannot save us. Nor can we save ourselves through our own righteous acts.
 
 
Then What Must We Believe to Be Delivered from All Our Sins?
 
It’s written in Hebrews 10:9-10: “Then He said, ‘Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.’ He takes away the first that He may establish the second. By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” As the passage makes it clear, we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. That Jesus offered Himself once for all means that He took away all our sins once for all by being baptized in the Jordan River. And by the being crucified once for all, Jesus bore the condemnation of our sins. As the Bible says, “The wages of sin is death.” Sinners must be put to death. If we have sin, we must be put to death, but Jesus has delivered us from all our sins once for all. Jesus has saved us not by accepting our sins every day, dying every day, and rising from the dead again every day, repeating His work time after time. Rather, Jesus the true God has delivered mankind from all its sins once and for all, by coming to this world once, accepting all the sins of mankind at once through His baptism, and being crucified only once. This was the will of God the Father. And Jesus met this will with full obedience.
“By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 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” (Hebrews 10:10-14).
What did God say here? The phrase here, “But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever,” means that all the sins of this world were passed onto Jesus once for all when He was baptized. Christ has remitted away all our sins, whether committed in our hearts or acts, consciously or unconsciously. This is the purpose for which Jesus came to this earth, to deliver us from all our sins. He came to save us from all our sins. Our Lord bore all the sins of everyone and forever remitted them away once and for all. In other words, He offered an eternal sacrifice.
Our Lord has cleansed away all the sins we have committed and will ever commit from the foundation of the world to its end, all at once. We don’t know how many more years are remaining in this world, but about 2,000 years ago, Jesus accepted all the sins of mankind passed onto Him by being baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan River. So your sins and mine were all passed onto Jesus. Each and every sin in this world has already been passed onto Him. He offered an eternal sacrifice once for all by bearing all our sins once for all, shedding His blood on the Cross to be judged once for all, and rising from the dead again in three days; and He has become the Savior of all who believe in Him. You and I believe in Jesus now, but He bore all our sins already 2,000 years ago. So, all we have to do is just believe in this Truth and confess, “The Lord accepted all my sins passed onto Him through His baptism. He was judged on the Cross on my behalf. He suffered such terrible scorn and pain. He died to save me, but He rose again and is now sitting at the right hand of God the Father. And even at this very moment, He is alive making His believers perfect.”
The Lord offered the eternal sacrifice once for all and is now sitting at the right hand of God the Father. Now God is no longer working for our salvation, for He has already completed the work of eradicating all the sins of mankind. It is by believing in this Truth that we can be saved. None other than this is God’s righteousness.
Romans 1:17 states, “For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith.’” There is an interest thing in Chinese character concerning this word “righteousness.” Righteousness here is “Yi” (義) in Chinese character, and this character is composed of two component letters: “Yang” (羊), which means “sheep,” and “Wo” (我), which means “I.” In other words, it means, “I have become a righteous person because of a sheep—that is, I have become a sinless person thanks to the sacrificial love of the Lamb.”
God’s righteousness is that He has made us sinless through His Lamb and saved us perfectly from all our sins. In contrast, man’s righteousness is just like a dust cloth. Human beings are filthy like a dirty rag. Our own human righteousness is nothing. We humans are destined to go to hell after living a worthless and futile life devoid of any meaning, as it is written, “Truly the hearts of the sons of men are full of evil; madness is in their hearts while they live, and after that they go to the dead” (Ecclesiastes 9:3). So God took pity on us and became the Savior of us sinners. The Lord bore all the sins of you and me once for all and is now sitting at the right hand of God the Father. He has already solved the problems of all our sins, and is now sitting at the right hand of God. It is therefore absolutely imperative for us to realize that Jesus was baptized to take away all our sins in the same way that the sacrificial animals of the Old Testament bore the Israelites’ sins through the laying on of hands.
Just as the Israelites’ sins were passed onto the sacrificial animals when they laid their hands on the animals’ heads in the Old Testament era, Jesus bore the sins of the world on His holy and sinless body by being baptized—that is, His body shouldered our sins. Even though His heart had no sin, His body came to have sin. Jesus thus bore all our sins through His baptism and died on our behalf. This was in the same manner in which sacrificial animals bore the Israelites’ sins and died in their place under the sacrificial system of the Old Testament. In this way, your sins and mine were cleansed away thoroughly. Jesus’ baptism is what washed away all our sins. He accepted all our sins passed onto Him through His baptism. This is precisely why, when Jesus was about to be baptized, He said to John the Baptist, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Jesus was baptized not because He was humble. It was not because He had no power nor because He respected John the Baptist. He was baptized for one purpose alone—to save us.
Only through His Word can we be saved. We can be saved only by realizing and believing in the Word of God correctly. That is why faith is so indispensable to our salvation.
Let’s turn to Hebrews 10:14-18 together here: “For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. But 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 10:14-18).
It is written here, “Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.” Yet despite this, despite the fact that there is no longer an offering for sin, too many Christians still pray as the following: “Lord, please forgive me for committing sin. I have committed sin again today. Please forgive this sinner. Jesus, please come to this world from Heaven and die on my behalf on the Cross once again.” But you don’t need to pray like this any more. You don’t have to do this again at all.
Jesus became our own Good Samarian and poured oil and wine on our wounds. He poured oil on our wounds of sin. In Isaiah chapter 53, the Bible states:
“Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted.
But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:4-5).
Isaiah was a servant of God who had ministered to the Israelites around 700 years before Jesus Christ came to this world. Just as Isaiah had prophesied here, Jesus was indeed wounded and bruised for our iniquities and sins. But Jesus had no reason to be scorned. He had no reason to be stripped of His cloths. Yet even so, Jesus was stripped of His cloths, He was spit at, and He was slapped on His cheek. He was put to shame like this because He had taken all your sins and mine onto Himself by being baptized in the Jordan River. All of us should acknowledge this in gratefulness. Jesus truly bore all our sins by being baptized in the Jordan River, and as a result He was ultimately condemned on the Cross in our place.
“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.” As the Bible makes it clear here, we no longer have any sins left. Because Jesus bore all our sins and went to the Cross to eradicate them, we have now become sinless and righteous. The Lord accepted all our sins passed onto Him through John the Baptist and was judged on the Cross on our behalf. And having risen from the dead again in three days, He is now sitting at the right hand of God the Father, waiting for the day when He returns to take us away.
All of you must believe in this truth. You must believe that all your past, present, and future sins have already been passed onto Jesus Christ. The Lord knows well we are vulnerable beings destined to commit sin again. He knows all about us. That’s why the Lord cleared all our sins in person and made us His people. That’s why He has made us His children. He has saved us so that we would not be cast into hell, and He has blessed us to make us His own people and His own children. As the Bible says, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name,” we have become righteous by faith, we have received eternal life by faith, and we have become God’s children also by faith. Do you believe in this, my fellow believers? Do you really believe that you now have no sin?
The Good Samaritan poured oil and wine on the wounds of the traveler who fell among thieves and bandaged his wounds. Then he set the injured man on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
What is an inn? It’s a place where travelers stop by in their journey to get some food and rest for a while. This inn here implies God’s Church. The traveler who fell among thieves was saved in that place, but he was so badly wounded that he had to be continuously taken care of inside the inn. This means that you must abide in the Church and continue to listen to the Word of God to be completely healed from all the wounds of both your body and heart. This is why the Good Samaritan took the injured man to the inn, to show that the saints must abide in the Church.
The Good Samaritan then gave the innkeeper two denarii, saying, “Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.” What is the metaphorical meaning of the two denarii here? This implies that God has entrusted His Church with the Word of the Old and New Testaments. In other words, God has entrusted His Church with His Word until His return, so that all who have fallen among thieves—sinners, that is—would be saved from their sins.
My dear fellow believers, our Lord has saved us more than sufficiently. Paul the Apostle said, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:1). Now, there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ. Condemnation means the judgment of the guilty. God no longer impugns any sin on us His believers. That’s because He took away all our sins. Jesus is God. He has removed all our sins with the water and the blood. Our Lord has cleansed away all our sins with His baptism and the blood of the Cross. That’s why He said, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.”
Paul continued on to say, “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:2). The God of the Spirit became a Man, came to this earth, and saved us from all our sins, thus becoming our Savior. God has thereby made us His children. And to heal the wounds of our sins, He took us to an inn to be taken care of—that is, to His Church. The Master of the Church where the born-again are abiding is God Himself. And the innkeeper is God’s servant. Who are the guests then? They are the saints, who had fallen among thieves but were saved from their sins, all by listening to the gospel of the water and the Spirit while drowning in the ocean of sins. These saints are now resting and rejoicing in God’s Church.
This world is filled with sins, and as a result we the saints also get wounded in our hearts. Because we are human beings, we sometimes fight, commit sins, make mistakes, and get wounded in our hearts in the process. This is why it is so important for us to come to God’s Church and listen to the Word proclaiming that our Lord has cleansed away all our sins and all the sins of the world. We will then be healed from our wounds and our battered souls will recover; and when our spiritual health is restored, we can take care of those who come after us until the day the Lord returns, and then enter the eternal Kingdom of God to enjoy peace and glory as His people and His children.
This is God’s redemption, and it is the true meaning of the parable our Lord gave to the lawyer. Our Lord was saying to him, “Even you, a mentor of the Law, can’t live by the Law. You are the very man who fell among thieves. Who is your Savior then? I am your Savior.” The Lord said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). And He also said, “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” We should always remember that it is all thanks to our Lord that we have been saved by believing in His name.
Let’s turn to 1 John 5:4-12: “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? This is He who came by water and blood-Jesus Christ; not only by water, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth. For there are three that bear witness in heaven; the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness on earth the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree as one. If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater; for this is the witness of God which He has testified of His Son. He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son. And this is the testimony; that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1 John 5:4-12).
Our Lord came to this world by the water, the blood, and the Spirit. God Himself personally became a Man, and to be our Savior, Jesus the true God was baptized and He shed His blood on the Cross. These three—the water, the blood, and the Spirit—are the evidence that God has saved us. It’s not just by the blood, nor just by the water, nor just by the Spirit that God has saved us. The Lord has saved us by all three—the water, the blood, and the Spirit.
That is why the Lord said to Nicodemus in John chapter 3, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). This passage is saying, “Unless you believe in Jesus’ baptism and His blood on the Cross, you cannot enter the Kingdom of God.” It is through the baptism of Jesus Christ that our sins were passed onto Him, and therefore this baptism of Jesus is indispensable to our salvation.
Let’s now turn to 1 Peter 3:21: “There is also an antitype which now saves us― 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.”
The baptism here—water, that is—is an antitype which now saves us through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. By coming to this world as a Man and by being baptized, Jesus accepted all our sins passed onto Him. He made us sinless. He was also judged on the Cross on our behalf. And He rose from the dead again in three days. Where is the evidence that Jesus cleansed away all our sins? It’s in the baptism He received. John the Baptist himself testified to this truth after baptizing Jesus. By being baptized by John the Baptist, Jesus cleansed away all our sins and saved us, just as the Bible says, “There is also an antitype which now saves us― baptism.” And Peter the Apostle went on to say, “Not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God.” This passage means that even though we have been saved by believing in the baptism of Jesus and His blood on the Cross, this does not imply that we no longer commit any sin in our flesh. We still commit sin in our flesh, but all our sins were already taken care of by Jesus, and therefore we can approach God with a good conscience.
God could save us only by passing our sins to Jesus. And we can approach this God boldly, for we have faith in His Son Jesus Christ. It is to enable us to come to the presence of God boldly that the Lord cleansed away all our sins through His baptism and blood, and saved us perfectly. The baptism of Jesus has saved us, and this baptism that Jesus received to cleanse our sins is the antitype of salvation.
If Jesus were to ask you, “Who’s your neighbor? Who has shown mercy on you?” you should answer, “It’s You, Lord. You are my Good Samaritan. You are my good neighbor who showed mercy on me.” Who took compassion on us? It’s Jesus. Jesus had compassion on you and me. Jesus is the God who has saved you and me.
Legalists can never save you or me. They hurt us instead. They are hypocrites teaching others not to commit sin, but all the while they commit sin themselves. These people often weigh heavily on the believers’ minds by blaming everything bad on their sins, saying to them, “It’s because you have committed sins. It’s because you did something wrong.” If this were true, you and I should have perished thousands of times. But we have not perished; on the contrary, we have been saved! Unlike us, however, these teachers of the Law, that is, the legalists, cannot be saved. Through today’s Scripture passage, the Lord is saying to us that only those who believe in the Truth of the water, the blood, and the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ can be saved.
Do you believe in this Word with your heart? This is the redemption of God. Do you believe that all the sins of this world were passed onto Jesus? When Jesus was baptized, He bore all our sins. You are of the world, I am of the world, and everyone else is also of the world. By taking away all the sins of this world through His baptism, Jesus has saved all its people.
Sadly, however, many people still have not been saved and are living with a hardened heart, all because they do not know this Truth, and therefore they do not believe in it. But we should all remember that it is only by faith that everyone can be saved.