Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented Him, saying, "I need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?" But Jesus answered him, "Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." Then he consented. And when Jesus was baptized, immediately He went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on Him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, "This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased." (Matthew 3:13-17)
You may remember the story of Moses and how he started his work. God found him tending sheep in the wilderness, and He spoke to him through a burning bush and sent him to set the people of Israel free. What you may not know is that Moses had already taken a whack at that job, 40 years before. He had attacked an Egyptian slave driver who was beating a Hebrew man. Moses' self-appointed rescue job didn't work out. He was accused as a murderer and he had to run for it. It was another 40 years before God called and sent him back to do it right (see Exodus 2:11-25). God's call makes all the difference.
Jesus knew that, too. And when the time came for Him to leave His quiet life in Nazareth and start actively walking the path to the cross, He didn't hesitate. He came to the place where God was calling—to the place where the prophet John the Baptist was preaching and baptizing people at the Jordan. This wasn't any fancy place—it was out in the wilderness, far from any palace or big city. But it was where God was at work. And Jesus was baptized.
To be sure, Jesus had no sin of His own that would make Baptism at all necessary. But we certainly did! And since He was coming to be our Rescuer, He submitted Himself to the same Baptism that marks our lives as God's people. It was the right start. He joined Himself to us in Baptism so that we ultimately would be joined to Him in His suffering, death, and resurrection.
THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, thank You for joining Yourself to us so that we could belong to You. Amen.
* Have you ever started a job wrong and then had to re-start it right?
* When were you baptized? What do you know about the circumstances of your Baptism?
* In Baptism, God marked you as His own child. What kind of a start has that given you in your life?
Lenten Devotions were written by Dr. Kari Vo.
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