by Dorette Saunders
The biblical account of Jesus’ initial preparation for ministry is a dramatic one that deserves our full attention (Matthew 3:13-17).
The Scriptures tell us that Jesus approaches John the Baptist seeking to be baptized. In humility, John protests and is reluctant to do so. Jesus, however, persuades him citing that it must be done to fulfill prophecy. Then, John agrees.
So Jesus was baptized. And as soon as he came out of the water, the sky opened, and he saw the Spirit of God coming down on him like a dove. Then a voice from heaven said, “This is my own dear Son, and I am pleased with him” (Matthew 3:16, 17, CEV).
We would do well to take note of patterns in the Bible: Obedience and faith in God is the bedrock of the most amazing events. John knows that he is the messenger or forerunner of the Messiah. Yet, like us as we journey through life, he does not know exactly how it is all going to play out. Despite this, John is obedient to Jesus’ wishes.
Jesus, although without sin, in humility, allows himself to be baptized to identify with us, whose sins he has come to take away.
We can certainly relate to John’s hesitancy. Oftentimes we are faced with decisions which we believe will have life-shattering consequences if we respond in the “wrong” way. Yet, if we pray about them and leave ourselves open to the moving of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit will confirm our decision and lead us in the path he has chosen for us to follow.
Solomon, the wise king, gives us sage advice. He says:
With all your heart
you must trust the Lord
and not your own judgment.
Always let him lead you,
and he will clear the road
for you to follow.
Proverbs 3:5-6, (CEV)
In every case, Solomon’s words are true.
Immediately as Jesus is baptized, something spectacular happens. Not only does God the Father break open the heavens in dramatic fashion, but the Holy Spirit lovingly engages with Jesus, the Son. Then, after God confirms that Jesus is indeed his Son, he affirms and consecrates him by declaring that he is pleased with Jesus.
What a beautiful picture of the Trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit! Undergirding all this is Jesus’ obedience as he begins fulfilling his ministry of redemption.
Oh how we need to walk in the footsteps of Jesus’ obedience and faith in the plans that God has ordained for us. While we may be unsure of the path that lies ahead, God has already mapped it out.
God confirmed his love for us by sending Jesus to die for our sins, and he affirms us daily by reminding us that we are beloved children of the Most High God.
PRAYER: Lord, God, you give us opportunity to do new things—to start afresh, to journey with you through a year that offers us hope of a brighter tomorrow. Empower us, as your daughters and sons, to fulfill your expectations, that you, Lord, may be pleased. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.