It's amazing what happened at Jesus' baptism, right at the
beginning of His ministry. He went down to the Jordan to be baptised by John.
The Jordan river is not a significant river. It's very lowly. It's
a bit like the Tongaat river. Shaka's troops drank from the Tongaat and that's where it
got its name. The river became significant because Shaka and his troops drank from it. So
too the river Jordan became something because Jesus was baptised there. There is a fashion
nowadays among Christians to go to the Jordan river to be baptised, because John baptised
Jesus there. But there is nothing fashionable about the baptism of John, a baptism of
repentance, where people confessed their sins to be unburdened.
Before Jesus was baptised, John baptised many as they confessed
their sins, a baptism of repentance. This is where Jesus went down to before he started
his ministry. He was no sinner. Still he went there to be baptised. It's of great
significance that when Jesus started His ministry, the first thing He did was to go to
this lowly place where people humbled themselves and confessed their sin.
Another instance which shows us how this river was despised was
what Naaman the general from Syria said about this river, when comparing it to the rivers
in Syria (2Kings 5:12).
Even today the ministry of confession of sins is despised, maybe
more than any time before. There are ministers who actively oppose it. They say they have
accepted the Lord and doesn't need it, since they're not Catholics. A minister even told
me that there's a verse which he hates in the Bible, where people went to John to confess
their sins (Matt 3:6). He said he didn't like that idea and it wasn't needed today.
But that is the very place where Jesus started, where people
humbled themselves and confessed their sins and were reconciled to God.
The water of baptism cannot remove our sins - it is only a symbol
of repentance, pointing to the Precious Blood of the Lord Jesus which wash away our sins.
For us people it's a difficult thing to confess our sin, it's
humiliating. Jesus had no sin, the spotless Lamb of God without blemish, but He went there
and stood there where you and I should go, taking our place. That is where each one should
go and stand in remorse and confession of sin. That is what Jesus did for you and me,
taking our sin upon Himself.
How much does that mean to you? How precious is this to you? It
should be more precious than anything else in the world, and that should be your topic of
The amazing thing is, as soon as He was baptised, the Heavens
opened and the Spirit of God came upon Him in the form of a dove (Matt 3:16). The others
would stand there and confess their sins, but with Jesus the heavens opened and the Spirit
of God came upon Him.
See how Jesus humbled Himself for you and me! That should be what
consumes our life, being the greatest of all to you and me.
We people love to be important and looked up to. But not so with
Jesus. He humbled Himself from the beginning of His ministry to the end (Philippians
2:5-8). The Lord Jesus often spoke about humility, but He lived it too and demonstrated
He said when you sit at a table to eat, rather take the lowest
seat lest you be humbled before all when asked to give your seat to a more honourable
person (Luke 14:8-11). He said, humble yourself, deny yourself and be the least.
You will never get anywhere if you are proud and arrogant.
Don't think of yourself as being greater and more important than
others. If you think to exalt yourself, rather than getting anywhere you will be
humiliated. If you want to start at the top, you won't ever get there. No, humble yourself
before God and you will be uplifted (James 4:10; 1Pet 5:6). If you want God to lift you
up, you must humble yourself.
There's only one place where you start at the top, and that is
digging your own grave.
You will only go down spiritually with grudges and hatred in your
Apart from starting where Jesus started, humbling yourself, you
won't get anywhere.
There are some who have been baptised, but their baptism have no
meaning for they enter the water dirty and exit the same.
John the baptist was filled with the Holy Spirit from his mother's
The pharisees only came to confess their sins because they were
caught in the act, and they couldn't do otherwise. But John saw through their hypocrisy
and called them a 'brood of vipers' (Matt 3:7). When you confess your sin, part from it
and do not go back to it.
When Jesus came to John and Jesus asked to be baptised, John
refused saying that he needed to be baptised by Jesus! He realised his unworthiness. There
are things even as a mature Christian where things go against the grain. Peter too didn't
want Jesus to wash his feet. He felt he was unworthy and he had to wash the feet of the
Lord Jesus. John and Peter wasn't in fact wrong in what they said, but Jesus wanted to
teach them a lesson.
Likewise, as a mature Christian, you might think a certain
direction to be the correct route, yet Jesus shows you differently. Unless you submit to
Him, you will have no part in Him. You must have an ear to hear and humble yourself in
whatever situation He places you and expects from you. As He said to John, "permit
this now to fulfil all righteousness" (Matt 3:15). After John submitted and Jesus was
baptised, the heavens opened and the Spirit of God lighted upon Jesus in the form of a
Don't ever see yourself as great, knowing better than the Lord,
but submit to His leading, lest you one day find that heaven is closed to you.
Do you know the tears of longing, crying out to God to reveal
Himself to you?
Cry to God to work in your life.
Your confession of sin won't help you while you do it deceitfully.
Have you cast yourself completely on God? Has the Holy Spirit revealed your sins to you or
is your confession from your own heart?
If you confess your sin as a serpent, deceitfully as the pharisees
who came to John, it won't help you, you will remain a brood of vipers.
If you truly confess your sin as you ought, you will confess it
once and it would be the end of those sins! If you go back to your sins then heaven will
remain shut to you.
Do you find that your humbling before God help or not? As we read
in Isaiah that humbling yourself deceitfully before God won't help (Isaiah 58:3, 4).
Go and cry to God that He meets with you and reveal your sin to
you and confess in truth that it's the end of your sin and you live for God
Young and old, examine yourself, before eternity. You may climb
the ladder to heaven, confess your sin, but if you confess your sin and go back to it,
heaven will still be shut when you reach the top and you will be cast down.