In HIS Steps

John baptizes Jesus

Matthew 3:13-17 (also in Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-22)

Then Jesus went from Galilee to the Jordan River to be baptized there by John. John didn’t want to do it. “This isn’t proper,” he said. “I am the one who needs to be baptized by you.”

But Jesus said, “Please do it, for I must do all that is right.” So then John baptized him. After his baptism, as soon as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God coming down in the form of a dove. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, and I am wonderfully pleased with him.”

Why did Jesus ask to be baptized? It was not for repentance for sin because Jesus never sinned. He was baptized because (1) he was confessing sin on behalf of the nation, as Nehemiah, Ezra, Moses, and Daniel had done; (2) he was showing support for what John was doing; (3) he was inaugurating his public ministry; and (4) he was identifying with the penitent people of God, not with the critical Pharisees who were only watching.

Let Go of Ego

Put yourself in John’s situation. Your work is going well, people are taking notice, everything is growing. But you know that the purpose of your work is to prepare the people for Jesus (John 1:35-37). Then Jesus arrives, and his coming tests your integrity. Will you be able to turn your followers over to him? John passed the test by publicly baptizing Jesus. Soon he would say, “He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less” (John 3:30). Can you, like John, put your ego and profitable work aside in order to point others to Jesus? Are you willing to lose some of your status so that everyone will benefit?

Published by Intentional Faith

Devoted to a Faith that Thinks

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