At This Time

“Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15).

In today’s scripture reading, we find Jesus meeting His cousin and God-given herald, John the Baptist. We shall discuss only Matthew’s version of this encounter. Mark also describes it, but there are no words of Jesus in his rendition.

John is in the wilderness, calling people to repentance and baptizing those who positively respond to his message. Jesus asks for baptism and dispels John’s worries with regard to whom he can baptize and whom he cannot. This scenario is reminiscent of Lyndon Johnson having a friend of his, a low-level federal judge, swear him in as president following the murder of John Kennedy.

Today’s verse is Jesus’s response to John’s objection. By “at this time,” the Lord seems to be saying something like “I realize there are legitimate reasons to discuss this further before acting, but trust me when I say that any discussion we might have had would have led to a decision to go ahead with what I propose.”

John’s humility here is admirable, and though he makes a good point in saying it would be more appropriate for Jesus to baptize him, other factors counterbalance his concern. As fully man as well as fully God, Jesus needs baptism as much as anyone else. And though He is bound to live a sinless life, He has not yet done so. In addition, He needs to confirm His complete commitment to the Father in front of witnesses and, as He said, to fulfill all righteousness (i.e., do all things that are good). Perhaps God’s command here might be “Thou shalt keep thy ducks in a row.”

Matthew wrote primarily to his people, the Jews, though his occupation precluded their liking him.

During all of the time that Jesus spent in time, He constantly deferred to His heavenly Father. That’s because Jesus was fully man as well as fully God.

Prayer: Dear Lord, Abba (Daddy), Father, we love You and ask that we might love You more yet. Thank You for today’s insights about Your Word today, which is personified in Your Son, the Christ. As He so faithfully disdained all pride, even though He was entitled to it, let us do likewise and ever realize and practice our proper relationship with You, recalling that even Your only begotten Son did the same because of His humanity. Thank You again for answered prayer and even for prayer that is not, from our perspective, granted. In Jesus’s name. Amen

Published by Intentional Faith

Devoted to a Faith that Thinks

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