“ In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.  And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove.  And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
In the Name of Jesus. Amen
As we hear about the baptism of our Lord, we, like John, don’t understand why Jesus, who is God in the flesh would need to be baptized. It all seems backwards to us. He is the sinless One, the Righteous One, God in human flesh, born of a virgin with no Original Sin. That’s why John says of Jesus “he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”
John knows he is the one who needs to be baptized by Jesus, not the other way around. Nevertheless, Jesus tells John in Matthew’s account of Jesus’ baptism “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.”
Here we have the Righteous Son of God entering into the Jordan, not to be cleansed, but to be baptized into your sin and mine, to become the greatest of sinners for you. To be God WITH you, bear the sin of the world. This is what Isaiah promises,
“Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. “
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
make many to be accounted righteous,
and he shall bear their iniquities.”
Then St. Paul tells us:
“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Cor. 5:21
So all that is yours, every bit of your sin, Jesus took upon Himself, and all that is His, His cleansing blood & righteousness, is given to you by means of His baptizing of you into His name.
For not only did Jesus take upon human flesh at His conception and birth, but at His baptism, He was baptized into the sin of the whole world, so that He could then give you His righteousness. As John the Baptist says of Jesus, “Behold the Lamb of God who bears the sin of the world!”
We also have all 3 persons of the Trinity together at our Lord’s baptism. Jesus is being baptized into our sin, the heavens are literally torn open, and the Holy Spirit, descends in bodily form, like a dove, upon Jesus, and the Father speaks audibly, ““You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
So often we speculate about what God may think about us, or even if He thinks about us at all. We are after all sinners, who are guilty both by birth and by choice of His commandments. To be sure, we can’t even keep the first one.
“You shall have no other gods”
WE have countless other gods, so many other things that we fear love and trust besides the Lord. So suffice it to say, we usually speculate that God is mad at us, as would be fitting for one who has rejected their Creator. We know that we deserve for God to be against us, even. When we see awful things around us or go through difficulties of various kinds, we are certain that God has finally had enough, and has come to punish us.
When we hear His word of Law spoken to us, and even the law He’s written on our hearts, we know and feel our guilt. We are not just imperfect, or mistake prone, but we are tainted through and through with Original Sin. We are conceived in and continue in sin, and we don’t seek God, none of us do.
Jesus came, however, not for the righteous, but for sinners. He seeks us! He seeks you! He came not for the healthy but for the sick. However, the Father sent his son into the world, not to condemn it, but that through Jesus’ shedding of His own blood on the cross for us, we would be forgiven. Absolved. Righteous. The spoken word of the Father at Jesus’ baptism is directed at Jesus, ““You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”, but by the gift of His Gospel it’s also our word, it’s a word for you.
So today, for the baptized, the one who has been Named by our Lord Himself, claimed as His own, the same word the Father speaks to Jesus is yours. “with you I am well pleased” Not because you’ve done anything yourself, or improved enough that He should be happy with you, but because He’s pleased with the Son, and He has baptized you, all that is Christ’s, including the pleasure of His Father, is now yours by gift or grace, received through faith. Paul puts it this way in our Romans reading:
“ Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?  We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.”
For the most part, growing up in the Baptist church, although I had read about and knew about Jesus being baptized, it was never anything that was emphasized or really even explained to me. Even though it is mentioned in all 4 Gospel accounts, it was not really a point of emphasis, and was even overlooked. Jesus’ baptism was seen and taught as Him being our example, but nothing was really accomplished. In other words, I was taught that you should be baptized, because Jesus was baptized and you should obey and do what He did. There was no gift in this however. I had a backwards understanding that baptism was and saw it as something that we did, not a gift to be received. In other words, Baptism, including the Baptism of Jesus, was Law (something we do) and not Gospel (what our Lord gives to us in Jesus). It was important, but it didn’t give anything, and didn’t DO anything. I then, after carefully simply reading every verse about baptism I could find, by God’s grace, it became so very clear that baptism itself was pure gift, it was the delivery of the forgiveness of all sin, by Jesus for me. Peter puts is crystal clear when he says baptism NOW saves you. All that Jesus won on the cross and resurrection, is actually, truly, certainly and fully given to us in this gift of baptism. Although a pastor may speak the words and pour the water, it is actually Jesus Himself who does the baptizing, does the saving, does the forgiving, does the rescuing. We must have someone to do this for us, since we are unable to save ourselves, unable to repent, unable to clean ourselves up, and that’s exactly what Jesus does through the means, or with the gift of baptism. You are cleansed, you are righteous, because the Jesus became the greatest sinner in your place, paying the penalty, receiving God’s judgement for you. Pure gift, absolute forgiveness, the Gospel.
We now have the connection between Jesus baptism into your sin and His baptizing you as the One who removes your sin. Jesus, after being baptized into the your sins, carries them all the way to the cross, to Good Friday where He is crucified for you. Defeating sin, death, which is sin’s consequence, and the devil for you. Everything against you is defeated, because God is FOR you NOT against you.
The same word of the Father that says ““You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” is now His word to you, as Christ’s own baptized, cleansed and holy child from this time forth and forevermore.
In the Name of Jesus, AMEN