For many years I wondered why Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, and what the significance of His baptism could be. Many things happened at the Baptism of John; people repented, Jesus Christ was baptized and declared the Lamb of God without blemish, and Jesus was sent into the desert to be tempted of the Devil, just after the baptism. Also at the baptism, John, who was the son of the high priest, declared the burning of the chaff and the coming judgment of God, and— one of the most important things—all righteousness was fulfilled in the baptism of Jesus, according to the Scriptures. We can see the conglomerate of events that took place in this simple baptism. I would like to have a look at Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God and as the scapegoat, which are best understood in the context of Jesus’ view of the Law from Psalm 40. In Psalm 40, it is boldly declared that the Father had no interest in sacrifice and offerings, but that these things were types and shadows of what Jesus had to come and do. So when Jesus read the Old Testament, He didn’t read it to see what all of us must do to please the Father, because He knew it was written for Him. All Old Testament types and shadows were God’s instructions for Jesus, in order for Him to know what He had to do to take away the sin of all people. It was prophetically written in such a way that we could see what He prayed, word for word. There is much to learn from Psalm 40. In it we see how Jesus lived while He was on the Earth and we understand He had to live by faith. He willingly opened up His life for God to bring salvation forth through Him. The Holy Spirit started to speak to Jesus at a very young age; as a matter of fact, the Bible says “when upon [His] mother’s breasts” (KJV, Ps.22:9). I also believe that Mary had a lot to do with teaching Jesus about who His father really was. The only reason I point this out is so we can understand Psalm 40 and the context in which it is written. Let’s look at Psalm 40:5-10 (KJV): Vs 5 “Many O LORD my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.” The only way I can describe Psalm 40:5 is that it was the “now I understand!” moment in the life of Jesus. Jesus Christ comes in Psalm 40, verse 5 and bursts out with joy because He understands why all these animal sacrifices were done. When Jesus gets the revelation that animal sacrifice was just a type and a shadow and not the substance, joy bursts forth in His life. The Scripture even says “for the joy that was set before Him, He endured the cross ....” (KJV, Hebrews 12:2). This is much clearer in verses 6 and 7 of Psalm 40: “Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast Thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required. Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me.” Here we see that Jesus realized God never wanted any animal sacrifice, nor did He want any offering from anybody; it was never required by the Father. What Jesus said in Psalm 40:7 is what it’s all about: “In the volume of the book it is written of me.” What that means is that the entire Bible is all about Jesus, and what He had to come and do. The word “volume” in the Hebrew means ‘title’. The best way I can describe it is that Jesus said the law was addressed to Him. This can clearly be seen in Hebrews 10:5-7 “Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.” Here we see that the writer of the book of Hebrews interprets Psalm 40 as pointing towards the body of Jesus Christ. The Law was Never Written to Give Us Life by Our Obedience to It. Jesus Christ came and declared the correct interpretation of the Law, which was in the context of what He had to do in His body to bring forth salvation unto man; thus, making the Law beautiful and life-giving. If we look at the Law in any other way, it will be devastating and will destroy our lives. With all this in mind, we can understand why the Law was written. It was never written to give us life by our obedience to it; it was written to Jesus. Vs 8-10 “I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart. I have preached righteousness in the great congregation: lo, I have not refrained my lips, O LORD, thou knowest. I have not hid thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared thy faithfulness and thy salvation: I have not concealed thy loving kindness and thy truth from the great congregation.” God Is Not Going to Write the Ten Commandments or Any Other Religious Rules on Your Heart. When we look at verses 8, 9 and 10, we find that Jesus Christ came giving a new definition to the Law. He declares the correct interpretation of the Old Testament law as that which He had to do to bring forth salvation to man. This is the law of God, the message of how God was flooded with loving kindness, how He has come and shown His faithfulness towards mankind, and how He showed righteousness to people in saving them from their sins. That is the law of God; that is also the law that God will write on your heart. God is not going to write the Ten Commandments—or any other religious rules—on your heart, for that is called the “ministration of death written on stones,” according to 2 Corinthians 3:7 and other Scriptures. The only law God writes on your heart is the law that says He saved us by preparing a physical human body, in which the sin of the whole world could be taken away and mankind could be represented in the Godhead, by the resurrection of that body. John the Baptist announced that Jesus Christ was the Lamb of God; this lamb would not only take away the sin of an individual, but also the sin of all mankind. (Jon 1:29) This is the gift we have to offer the whole world. We can boldly make Jesus known to the whole world. He is God's answer to mankind. I Give You Jesus!
Pastor Bill Annis