When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too.
Luke 3:21 NIV
I am blessed to have two friends that I have known for over 36 years. I have fond memories of many friends that I made in high school, college, and seminary, but to be honest, I haven’t done a very good job of keeping in touch with them. But two of my friends and I have stayed in touch over all those years. Randy and Rachel were married shortly after college, and since then we have continued to talk on the phone, visit each other on vacation, and exchange texts, emails and Facebook posts.
Do you have a best friend that you have had for many, many years? They are kind of rare, aren’t they? And they are very precious, because you know that you can always count on them. What a blessing to have people who will walk with you not just through the fun and happy times, but especially through the dark and difficult days!
It was just a few weeks ago that we celebrated the birth of our Savior, Jesus. With great joy we recognized that he is Immanuel, God with us. There is every reason to celebrate Christmas with joy and thanksgiving.
But I want to remind you that Christmas is just the beginning. In Luke 3:21, we hear the baptism of Jesus described. We aren’t given a whole bunch of detail, but what I find wonderfully fascinating is how it’s worded to make sure we know that Jesus was still Immanuel, God with us. All the people were being baptized, and Jesus was baptized right along with them. Even though the Bible says that John was “preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins,” the sinless Son of God was also baptized.
Here, early in his earthly ministry, Jesus identifies himself with sinners. This points ahead to his death on the cross, where Jesus would be identified as The Sinner, as he carried the burden of the sins of all humanity. He would be God with us, even in our sin and death.
And in his glorious resurrection, Jesus would open up eternal life for us. The Apostle Paul says it this way:
We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
Romans 6:4 NIV
When you and I were baptized, we were connected to Jesus. He is still God with us. His death was the death of our sin, and his resurrection is our guarantee of the resurrection to eternal life.
He is a Friend who will be with you your entire life, until the day he brings you into eternity. And then we will be with him, face-to-face, never to experience the sorrow of sin and death again.
He is the best friend you will ever have!