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The baptism greater than that of the Baptist

Matthew 11:2-11

Pastor David Ernst

Third Sunday of Advent
Epiphany Lutheran Mission of La Caramuca  
Barinas, Venezuela

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Sat, Dec 11, 2021 

Grace and peace in our Lord and Savior.

In verses 7-10 of our text, Jesus points out that people want a preacher who adapts to their own fantasies, a fickle man who doesn't preach the law to them. However, the Word of God is not only the good news of eternal life in Jesus Christ, it is also the law of God that condemns us. We have the promise of eternal life because he suffered the wrath of God instead of us rebellious sinners in need of a Savior. To receive God's grace, we must acknowledge our sins. Turns out, even though the Word of God is more reliable than anything else, it's not always what we want to hear.

John the Baptist had been imprisoned by Herod Antipas a year before. Many disciples of John had become disciples of Jesus, but it seems John had received the attention and services of two disciples as before. These men did not yet have a complete understanding of their master's message. John had used images of the judgment to describe the coming day of the Messiah. Perhaps Jesus seemed not to be living up to their expectations of "the one to come." When his disciples were prone to reject Jesus, John sent them to Jesus himself. When they came to Jesus, He pointed to His miracles of healing and His proclamation of the Gosoel to the poor as the fulfillment of Isaiah's messianic prophecies.

ďAnd as they left, Jesus began to say to the crowds about John: What did you go out to see in the desert? A reed shaken by the wind?"

A reed is swung in this way and portrays a person who has no convictions. "A man dressed in fine clothes" is the complete opposite of what John the Baptist was. John lay in a dungeon because of his testimony, not as a court preacher before Herod, who wore soft clothes and lived in a palace.

This model applies to those whom God has called to preach His Word before the second coming of Christ. In our epistle (1 Corinthians 4: 1-5), Saint Paul says thus: "Let us men be ministers of Christ, and administrators of the mysteries of God." The Apology for the Augsburg Confession, Article XXIV, 264.80 interprets: "Ministers of Christ and dispensers of the sacraments of God, that is, of the Word and the Sacraments." The ministers of the church are the administrators of the mysteries of God; They are in charge of and accountable to God for the administration of the means of grace, through which God reveals to men and imparts to them the riches of his grace in Christ Jesus.

This includes that a faithful pastor must rebuke the sins prevailing in his congregation and the world around him, that he must call sinners to repentance, that he must deny hardened sinners the comfort of the Gospel, that he must reject all plans that will lead to him. to a cheap popularity, that he, above all, must not tire of following the lost lambs and sheep of Christ's flock, that he must carry all the members of his congregation in his heart and make remembrance before God for them in his prayers.

These mysteries are the treasures of the church. In verse 5, Jesus had pointed out a prophecy to identify Himself. He now he quotes prophecy to prove that John was more than any other prophet. He was the only prophet that was prophesied by Isaiah and Malachi. Not only has there not arisen a prophet greater than John, but among all mankind there is none who comes close to him in the capacity of rendering effective service to the kingdom of God.

And yet every humble disciple of the new covenant is greater than John the Baptist. Because John did not see the fulfillment of the earthly ministry of Christ; his career came to an end before Jesus entered his glory. And so the children of the present covenant who have the full fulfillment of the prophecy, Christ crucified and risen.

And we have a grander baptism than the baptism of John the Baptist. His was a water baptism by divine command. But it was a baptism for repentance administered only to adults, also only for Jews, while the baptism of Christ is for all nations, including children. The baptism of Jesus works and transmits the forgiveness of sins as an earned gift; John's baptism points to redemption through Jesus Christ.

Because of the Child of Bethlehem we have the new birth as children of God. In this we have the peace that passes all understanding. Amen.





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