January 11

Text: Matthew 3:13-15

Then Jesus *arrived from Galilee at the Jordan coming to John, to be baptized by him. But John tried to prevent Him, saying, "I have need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?"  But Jesus answering said to him, "Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." Then he *permitted Him. (NASB)

I have been known to (silently) laugh at peopleís shortcutsóparticularly when their shortcut was longer or more difficult than the regular route.  Though Jesus was Godís son who, by resurrection, was to become Godís Christ, there were no spiritual shortcuts for him.  Because God sent him on a unique mission does not mean he was not human.

Jesus was not typical of those who came to John in the Jordan wilderness.  Everyone else needed to repent because they had rebelled against Godís will.  Jesus needed no repentance because there was no rebellion in Jesus.

John baptized for the remission of sins (Mark 1:4).  Jesus had no sin.  John understood that truth.  Therefore, in Johnís estimation, Jesus did not need baptism.  In fact, since John understood who Jesus was, John knew Jesus was greater than he.  If anything, John said he needed to be baptized by Jesus.

There are two basic reasons for obeying God.  First is the human need.  Second, it is the correct human response to God.  Jesus did not need to be forgiven, but his baptism was the correct human response to God.  (Jesus knew Johnís message was from God.)

Thus Jesus was baptized by John to show respect to God.  Though Jesus had no sin, he completely identified with us by being baptized.  By his baptism, he showed respect to God and identified with us.

Suggestion for reflection: Think about your reasons for yielding to Godís expectations.  (Read John 4:34)

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