September 29, 2021

Matthew 3:13-15 
Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.

This week, we’re looking at how this story of Jesus’s baptism takes unexpected turns and what it teaches us about the love of God. On Monday we looked at Jesus choosing humility and submission when he could have taken authority and control. Today, let’s take a closer look at another unexpected aspect of Jesus’s interaction with John. Jesus did not need to repent and be baptized, but he chose to be baptized anyways.

If you remember high school English class, this is what we refer to as foreshadowing. Something happens to give us a hint about a much bigger something that will be revealed later. I know it’s pretty obvious to us in hindsight—Jesus being baptized for sins he didn’t commit foreshadows the cross when he paid for all sin. But imagine yourself on the banks of the Jordan River, watching Jesus be baptized. It was a pretty significant plot twist. No one imagined at that point that Jesus’s plan was to be the sacrifice for sin. But they probably started asking, “How does Jesus plan to fulfill all righteousness? And what does his baptism have to do with it?”

Most people mark this baptism as the beginning of Jesus’s public ministry. It’s no coincidence he laid the foundation in this way. He began in the way he would end, by demonstrating God’s ultimate desire to atone for sin and see us restored. The challenge for you and I is the same as we begin new opportunities or relationships. How might we begin in a way that, from the very start, demonstrates God’s desire to see healing and wholeness flow in us and through us? How do we build on a foundation of self sacrifice and love in our jobs, marriages, classes, and friendships?

Your efforts to be extraordinarily loving might be confusing to those around you. I’ll never forget the time I brought bagels to a job I had just started. One co-worker straight up asked me what my angle was. She couldn’t understand why I would do something nice for others without expecting something in return. But here, over a decade later, I’m still in contact with her and other people from that workplace because I decided to begin with a foundation of the love God demonstrated to me in Jesus.
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