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Gene’s Daily Scriptural Postings.

Reflective Bible Study.

Flashback Episode — An Example of Righteousness: Matthew 3:13-17

Listen to this episode and/or subscribe on Episode: Year in Matthew – Episode 3: Early on in Matthew’s gospel, we learn of Jesus going to John the Baptist to be baptized. Discover what happened and why this event was significant in Jesus’ life and why it is significant for our lives today. Join the discussion on the original episode's page: Click Here. Read the transcript: As we continue moving into Matthew’s gospel, we’ll jump out of Jesus’ birth story and back in at His baptism. In Matthew’s gospel, as he shares what happened at Jesus’ baptism, we discover some amazing details. Matthew, Mark, and Luke all include Jesus’ baptism, but as you might have guessed, since we are in the Year in Matthew, we’ll be looking at Matthew’s version of this event. Let’s read what happened using the New American Standard Bible translation. Matthew includes Jesus’ baptism in chapter 3. Starting in verse 13, Matthew tells us that: 13 Then Jesus arrived from Galilee at the Jordan coming to John, to be baptized by him. 14 But John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I have need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?” 15 But Jesus answering said to him, “Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he permitted Him. 16 After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him, 17 and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.” This event is fascinating in my mind because of a number of reasons. Looking at this passage, we could divide it into two parts, and we could creatively call these two parts the part before Jesus’ baptism and the part after His baptism. In the first part, the part before Jesus’ baptism, we have a short discussion between Jesus and John the Baptist. When Jesus comes to be baptized by John, John rightly concludes that this event should happen in the opposite way. John knows that Jesus has no need of baptism because Jesus has no need of repenting and turning back to God in a visible way. We could frame this a different way by saying that Jesus did not have to die to a past sinful life and be raised up into a new life with God. I wonder if Jesus’ response to John essentially says that Jesus wants to set an example for all people. In verse 15, Jesus tells John, “Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” I don’t think Jesus needed to become more righteous than He already was, but I do believe that Jesus wanted to use this event as an official opening to His ministry. After being baptized, when Jesus comes up out of the water, it is amazing to picture the Holy Spirit descend on Jesus like a dove and to hear a voice from heaven from God the Father drawing attention to His Son. At the start of Jesus’ ministry, we see all three members of the Godhead distinctly represented and celebrating this opening to Jesus’ ministry together. However, we also see something else. In the act of being baptized, at the very beginning of Jesus’ ministry, we see a powerful picture of Jesus’ future death and resurrection which would mark the end of His earthly ministry. I wonder if one other reason Jesus wanted to be baptized was to give this subtle foreshadowing that His life was destined to be given up not many years later. While no-one else likely realized this at the time, I’m sure Jesus and the Godhead knew, and for us looking back on this, the connection is clear. But in the act of being baptized, we see another, more subtle foreshadowing of Jesus’ ministry. In the very act of letting someone else submerge you into the water, you are placing your life in their hands. In this way, we see Jesus, at the start of His ministry, place Himself below humanity and Jesus places His life in John’s hands. For the purposes of this big idea, John represents all humanity. Jesus places His life in humanity’s hands. The baptism event at the beginning of Jesus ministry is one place we see Jesus intentionally setting the stage for a ministry of service and selflessness. In the baptism event, we discover Jesus placing Himself below humanity and foreshadowing His upcoming sacrifice. While some people might say that this is just a story that has little value for us today, I find it amazing that three of the gospel writers would include this event thinking it wasn’t relevant for those they were sharing it with. Some of those who want to dismiss this event likely feel that it is as unnecessary as John did when he pushed back at Jesus, wanting instead to be baptized by Him. However, there is a huge lesson we can learn in Jesus’ baptism. Within this event, Jesus sets an example for each of us living today. Not only is this example the obvious example of being baptized as a way of showing our repentance and turning away from sin, but it is an example of how we should live and orient our lives. The greatest temptation we all face is living our lives for ourselves. This temptation places ourselves ahead of others. Within Jesus’ baptism, and the example He set for us, we see Jesus living for others, placing others first. Jesus lived His life completely dedicated to bringing glory to God through helping those who were hurting. With rare exceptions, Jesus always stopped what He was doing to help someone who needed help, and regardless of the circumstances, if Jesus knew a miracle would bring glory to God, He didn’t hesitate helping where He could so that God would be glorified. Jesus lived selflessly and He called us to be His representatives here on this earth. We are called to show Jesus’ selfless love to those around us! As we come to the end of another podcast episode, here are the challenges I will leave you with: As I always challenge you to do, intentionally seek God first in your life. Choose to model Jesus and live your life in a way that helps others and brings glory to God. If you choose to align yourself with Christ, intentionally represent Christ as accurately as you can! Also, continue praying and studying the Bible for yourself to learn and grow personally closer to God each day. While pastors, speakers, authors, or even podcasters can give you ideas to think about, take what you hear and read and test it against the truth of the Bible. While technology changes with time, the spiritual truths the Bible teaches are timeless, and they will survive past the end of this world. And as I end every set of challenges by saying in one way or another, never stop short of, back away from, chicken out of, or give up on where God wants to lead you to in your life with Him! Listen to this episode and/or subscribe on this article on the web on it's official page: Flashback Episode — An Example of Righteousness: Matthew 3:13-17

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