Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – January 5, 2017
By Tripp Prince
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. As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Matthew 3:13-17
Have you ever found it curious that Jesus, the sinless and perfect Son of God, was baptized? It is easy to sympathize with John the Baptist’s words to Jesus, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” If there’s anyone who didn’t need to be baptized, surely it was Jesus! And yet, Jesus pushes back and says “let it be so.” Why?
In the baptism of Jesus we learn something fundamental about his mission and the purpose for which he came. Jesus doesn’t stand aloof and at a distance from the world but instead enters into the pain of the world and identifies with sinners in their brokenness and need. The baptism of Jesus is the public launch of the rescue mission that began in the manger. It is the unveiling of the very heart of our triune God towards the world he created, sustains, and loves.
If the baptism of Jesus teaches us about the mission of God, it is also meant to teach us about our own vocation and mission in the world. If Jesus is willing to empty himself and identify with sinners in their deepest places of need, we who are baptized into his life and death must do the same.
We must be willing to empty ourselves and live for the sake of others. We must learn to turn away from our need for success, recognition, advancement and achievement and instead plunge ourselves afresh into the waters of baptism and encounter the Lord Jesus in that place. Likewise, we must resist the temptation to turn away from the brokenness, violence, and evil that we see in the world and to insulate ourselves from pain and trouble. If Jesus was willing to quite literally immerse himself in the world around him, we must have the courage to bear one another’s burdens in sacrificial and costly ways.
Baptism for Christians is never meant to be a single event from the distant past. It is instead a daily source of identity, mission, and purpose. As we recall the baptism of Jesus and there encounter the depth of his love and humility, may we also faithfully live out our own baptismal promises by joining God in his mission in the world!
PrayerFather, in the baptism of Jesus you revealed to us the depths of your love for us. May we respond with faithful hearts and lives that join you in your mission of love in the world today.
ApplicationReflect today upon your own baptism and how it can continue to lend meaning and purpose to your daily life.
Related ReadingZechariah 9:9; 2 Corinthians 8:9; Philippians 2:5-11
Post/Tweet todayChrist calls us to empty ourselves and live for the sake of others. #WisdomHunters #missionofJesus
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