John the Baptist was a pioneer. He prepared the way for Jesus to enter people’s hearts. This happened through a sermon: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” (Matt. 3:1–3.)
His words touched people’s hearts. This was not surprising. His words were ones that went straight to the matter. His words hurt. For instance, to the Pharisees and scribes he said: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.” (Matt. 3:7–8.)
John’s words awoke contrition and along with it, distress. Forced by this distress, people confessed their sins. John’s baptism was the baptism of repentance. Those who knew and confessed their sins were baptized by John.
Jesus also came to John at the Jordan river to be baptized. According to Matthew, John knew Jesus. He knew that Jesus was without sin. This is why John wondered why Jesus had come to the “sinner’s baptism.” This is also why John tried to prevent him from coming. “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” Jesus quiets John by saying: “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” (Matt. 3:13–15.)
God is a righteous and fair God. He requires perfection and thus atonement for offences. Falling into sin brought God’s anger and punishment upon mankind. To be released from God’s anger, mankind needed to atone for their offences. When no sinner was appropriate for this, God decided to atone all of mankind’s sins through His Son.
God the Father lay the whole world’s iniquity on the innocent and sinless Son’s shoulders. In this way, the Lord’s righteous servant justified many. (Isa. 53:11). Jesus, as the bearer of our sins, was considered to be an evildoer.
Even though Jesus Himself was without sin, as the bearer of our sins, he was sinful. He came to be baptized by John to fulfil the righteous will of God. John baptized Jesus in the same way that he baptized the other people who had confessed their sins.
The Father, Son and Holy Spirit present
When Jesus arose from the water, the skies opened and Jesus saw the Holy Spirit descend upon him in the form of a dove. At the same time, a voice was heard from heaven: “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” (Matt 3:16–17.)
The Triune God was present in that moment: God whose voice was heard, the Son who rose from the waters and the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove. The presence of the Triune God in its entirety told of the beginning of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit’s collective intent and redemption phase.
In His time, our Father had concurred to create the world and mankind. He knew what would happen when man would be faced with the temptations of the enemy of souls: man would fall into sin. This is why our Father planned for the redemption with His Son already before Creation. His Son promised to fulfill this. (Ps. 2:6–8).
Christ’s work would have been left unfinished if the Holy Spirit had not continued the work after Christ’s suffering, death, resurrection and ascension into heaven.
The work continues
The Triune God still works. He has not left His creation and the world He redeemed to us on its own. The Father as the Lord of life and death creates new life. He has sovereign autarchy in this matter. Man has not been given domination over life and death.
The Son’s redemption work is still in effect. Neither gold nor silver is enough to pay for our sins. Only God’s Son’s redemption blood is adequate to pay for our sins. Even today, this redemption is made true by the Holy Spirit.
Christ’s work continues in the work of the Holy Spirit in his kingdom. The call to repent is echoing in the word of God’s kingdom, but at the same time, the sweet message of the forgiveness of sins can be heard. When Jesus sent his own disciples to work, he promised: Take the Holy Spirit. Those who you forgive, their sins are forgiven them.
Text: Aimo Hautamäki
Source: Päivämies 1/2016
Translation: A. H.
Julkaistu englanninkielisessä numerossa 10.5.2017
Monet suunnitelmat ovat tänä poikkeuksellisena keväänä muuttuneet. Muun muassa perhejuhlien järjestelyjä on pitänyt miettiä uudelleen. Tämä on koskenut myös avioliittoon vihkimisiä. Nyt vihkimisiä on toimitettu niin, että koolla on ollut vain joitakin läheisiä, ja muu juhlaväki on seurannut tilaisuutta ehkä virtuaalisesti.