10 December 2009

Jesus is Baptised

"Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:13-17

"He humbled himself by becoming obedient...” (Phil 2:8) This is how Jesus begins his public ministry.

John instructed the people to "Repent. For the Kingdom of Heaven is near." People came to confess their sins and be baptised by John so that there sins would be forgiven. Why did he do this? In order to "prepare the way of the Lord; make straight paths for Him."

There was a new life that would soon be available for all who were willing to live it. The catch to this new life is that the old life must be left behind. For people who were not loving God with all they are and who were not loving their neighbours as themselves, this was the chance to make a public statement about the need for God's forgiveness in their lives so that they may live the way God had intended.

Jesus comes to be baptised. Why? He is the Lord. What would he confess? What would he turn back from? John's reaction to Jesus' request tells us the dilemma. But, for Jesus, there was no dilemma. Somehow Jesus knew that this is what His Father wanted Him to do. Jesus responded to John, "it is proper for us to do this to fulfil all righteousness."

In God's Word, righteousness is connected with truly believing God. The first mention of righteousness is in Genesis 15:6, "Then he believed in the Lord; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness."

Jesus began his ministry not by staking a claim to title and not by proudly proclaiming his unique relationship to the Father. He simply knew what His Father wanted Him to do AND did it. After this remarkable act of submission to His Father's Will, the Father openly proclaims His relationship to Jesus. "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased."

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