Matthew 3:16 – And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:
Matthew 3:17 – And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
Do you want to hear a voice from heaven today? You can today, but do you have ears to hear, to receive what God is saying to you, will you receive the witness which God bears today of his Son? When you read God’s word you hear the voice from heaven, and there was a voice from heaven at the baptism of Jesus that we will discuss in this blog. Many people wish they would hear a word from God to them personally. Many live their whole lives waiting for some special crystallizing moment, some divine life changing experience. We can have the attitude of if this happens, then I will get saved. And this is what Herod was like, the Bible records that he was glad when Jesus was brought to him, because he wanted to see some miracle. Similarly in John, we read that a great multitude of impotent, blind, sick folk lay near the pool, waiting for the moving of the water. We like them can live our whole life in a perpetual state of waiting for something special to happen, wanting to see Jesus physically, wanting some sign, all while being dissatisfied with God’s word which he has already provided for us, which gives us all we require.
Jesus came to Jordan to be baptized by John. John did not understand why he had to baptize Jesus, and so might we ask why did Jesus need to be baptized? He did no wrong, he committed no sin, he transgressed no law. He was the perfect sinless Son of God. Yet Jesus came to be baptized by John, and John baptized him. John baptizing Jesus is a wonderful picture of substitution, one of the great principles of the Bible. We are saved by substitution, the innocent dying for the guilty, the innocent taking the place of the guilty, the payment for sin that we ourselves cannot pay for. John baptizing Jesus was a practical illustration of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection in our place. As John baptized Jesus, so we each personally have to receive what Jesus has done for us by faith. A saving belief receives what Jesus has done for us, not merely just believes that he existed and was a good man that died unjustly. You must receive his death, burial and resurrection in your place. Our death is insufficient. Unless you receive Jesus in this lifetime, you will stay dead when you die, because it is he alone that has and gives life. No matter how good you try to live, you will go to hell if you are not saved. We are not good enough to go to heaven on our own merit, the Bible says all have sinned, and that there is none righteous, no not one. Jesus is referred to as the Lamb of God. This is what the Old Testament sacrifices pointed to, the shedding of blood of an innocent animal to pay the price for our sin. But these Old Testament sacrifices were pointing the the coming Lamb, who once and for all would pay the price for our sin and take away our sin. And it is only Jesus’ blood which paid the price, and because he lives, we live. You must receive what Jesus has done for you. This is what it means to have the Son. The Bible says that he that has the Son has life. Do you have the Son?
After Jesus was baptized and came out of the water, the Bible says that the heavens were opened unto him. This is amazing. The heavens are opened unto us when we are in Christ, because they were opened unto him. He is God, and he is the Son of God. He was sinless, perfect, his death, the shedding of his blood paid the price for our sins, it took away the sin of the world. There is nothing left to do, Jesus said, It is finished. The work has been done. Do you want to go to heaven? Believe in Jesus, receive what he had done for you by faith. It is not something unattainable, it is not a riddle, it is not a secret, it is no mystery. There is so much we can learn from these two verses alone. The Spirit of God descended upon Jesus like a dove. 1 John 5 in particular talks a lot about the witness of God. At Jesus’ baptism, God bore witness of his Son. He approved of his Son. The Bible says he was approved by God. This is what sets Jesus apart from every other person to have ever lived. Jesus received the heavenly witness. Lo a voice from heaven. THIS is my beloved son. The Lord Jesus Christ is the Son of God.We are without excuse. Jesus said, I am the way, the truth and the life. He truly is. Do you want to go to heaven? Do you want eternal life? Do you want an eternity of blessing, happiness, joy, free from the scourge of sin? The answer is Jesus. God bore witness that Jesus, and Jesus alone is his Son. God is well pleased with his Son. Do you want to be accepted by God? We are only accepted on the basis of his Son, his Son in whom he is well pleased.
THIS IS MY BELOVED SON, IN WHOM I AM WELL PLEASED. This is the voice from heaven which you can hear, which you are reading right now. This is the most important voice you will ever hear. Consider the heavenly witness of Jesus Christ. Consider today. Jesus is God. Jesus is the Son of God. He is your only hope in this life. He is your only hope in the scope of eternity and time. I am without excuse. You are without excuse. You can believe this voice, or you can reject it, you can refuse to receive the life saving message of the gospel your whole existence. But when you get to judgement, you will not be able to say to God that he didn’t give you a fair chance. You will not be able to say you never knew, you were never told, you were never aware. If you go to hell, it’s because you chose to be there because you chose not to receive the Son, the Son in whom is salvation, who alone has salvation. Do you want to spend your whole life messing around with your soul, messing around with religion, messing around with searching for meaning, messing around with your futile attempts at morality and self righteousness, messing around pursuing fame, wealth and pleasure? The answer is outside of you. The answer to your existence is in the Son, God’s beloved Son, in whom God is well pleased. We have nothing, we are nothing, all we can do is receive him and what he has done for us – the forgiveness, the mercy, the grace, the love, the life which he freely gives to us. Receive him by faith today.