JANUARY 5, 2022 ~ 52 WEEKS THROUGH THE NEW TESTAMENT
JANUARY 5, 2022 READING... Matthew 3
All four writers of the gospels tell us about John the baptizer. Luke actually introduces John while he is still in the womb of his mother Elizabeth…as John leaps in the presence of Jesus being about six months younger still in Mary’s womb. Just a side note…should speak loudly to us about the reality that babies in the womb are human and they are alive…not expendable masses of tissue. Matthew begins his narrative about John with him being in the wilderness baptizing people who received his message… “Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand!” John is the forerunner of Jesus spoken of by the Prophet Isaiah. You will notice that John was baptizing people. There are those who believe baptism was instituted first by the church, when in reality we see before the existence of the New Testament church John was baptizing his disciples. These were people who identified and believed John’s message. We baptize believers in the church for the same reason…they are identifying with Jesus and declaring their belief in Him. John was a unique individual, a nazarite from birth, who wore genuine camel hair for clothes, and ate locust and wild honey. He was hated by the religious authorities, the Pharisees and Sadducees, for he did not hesitate to call them out for their hypocrisy and spiritual abuse of the people. He reminded them that their national identity did not make them right with God. John foretold of the coming Messiah whose baptism would be with the Holy Spirit and with fire. He warned them that they had better repent and believe or they would face the horrible judgment of God.
Jesus is now an adult, about the age of 30, and he traveled to the Jordan River in the Judean wilderness in order for John to baptize Him. John was overwhelmed with Jesus’ request, for the Holy Spirit had revealed to John that Jesus was the Messiah. John recognized his spiritual condition in the presence of Jesus and said that he needed Jesus to baptize him, not the other way around. Jesus told John that this is part of God’s plan to fulfill all righteousness. Why did Jesus get baptized? Well, it certainly was not for salvation…nor was it to make Himself right with God. And, why did Jesus choose John to baptize Him? John was not the only prophet, nor the only one baptizing disciples to himself. Jesus chose John to baptize Him to identify John as the foretold one from the Old Testament prophets, and to let the world know that it was John’s message that came from God, and therefore was approved of God over all the other messages being declared in that time. In Jesus’ baptism here in Matthew we have the revelation of the Holy Trinity…Jesus the Son, the Holy Spirit descending like a dove descends, and the voice of the Father…”This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
Please share your thoughts from today’s readings.
TOMORROW’S READINGS… Matthew 4