Today’s Reading: Matthew 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-22
God had a magnificent plan for John the Baptist, yet John remained humble. He was given the role of preparing Israel for the coming of their Messiah, he was given the honor of seeing Jesus revealed as the Son of God and he was given the privilege of introducing the “Lamb of God” to the very people whose sins Jesus would die for.
John could have thought much of himself but he knew he was also one who needed a Savior and that knowledge kept him humble. He could have said, “Hey, we’re family – Jesus is my cousin! God has chosen this relative of mine to bring salvation!” But instead he left himself out of the introduction and simply said, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”
It seems to me that John told half the story of Jesus’ baptism and Matthew told the other half. Therefore, I am going to combine both passages so that we can get an idea of how this took place:
John told them, “I baptize with water, but right here in the crowd is someone you do not recognize. Though his ministry follows mine, I’m not even worthy to be his slave and untie the straps of his sandal.” – John 1:26-27
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! He is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘A man is coming after me who is far greater than I am, for he existed long before me.’ I did not recognize him as the Messiah, but I have been baptizing with water so that he might be revealed to Israel.’” – John 1:29-31
Then Jesus went from Galilee to the Jordan River to be baptized by John. But John tried to talk him out of it. “I am the one who needs to be baptized by you,” he said, “so why are you coming to me?” But Jesus said, “It should be done, for we must carry out all that God requires.” So John agreed to baptize him.
After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.” – Matthew 3:13-17
Then John testified, “I saw the Holy Spirit descending like a dove from heaven and resting upon him. I didn’t know he was the one, but when God sent me to baptize with water, he told me, ‘The one on whom you see the Spirit descend and rest is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I saw this happen to Jesus, so I testify that he is the Chosen One of God.’” – John 1:29-34
The study Bible I use pointed out that the language John the Baptist used when he referred to Jesus as “the Chosen One of God” and the language God used when He said “This is my dearly loved Son” is the same language used in Isaiah 42:1: “Look at my servant, whom I strengthen. He is my chosen one, who pleases me. I have put my Spirit upon him. He will bring justice to the nations.”
Just as God had a plan for John the Baptist who remained humble in carrying out God’s will for his life, we should also remain humble. What God calls us to do, the position He places us in and the things He calls us to, none of it is about us. It’s about Him – the Chosen One of God, the Dearly Loved Son. It was for our sins that Jesus died and we come to Him as a humble servant, ready to be used however He desires for His glory and not ours.
He was despised and rejected – a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.
We turned our backs on him and looked the other way.
He was despised and we did not care.
Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down.
And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins!
But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins.
He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.
All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own.
Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all.
He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word.
He was led like a lamb to the slaughter.
And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth.
Unjustly condemned, he was led away…
And because of his experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins.
I will give him the honors of a victorious soldier, because he exposed himself to death.
He was counted among the rebels. He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels. – Isaiah 53:3-8,11b-12
Now it’s time to make it about me! I’m a rebel – a rebel who humbly enters God’s presence this morning and bows before the Son of God to say…
Thank you for dying for my sins.
Thank you for carrying my weaknesses and my sorrows,
for being pierced for my rebellion, crushed for my sins.
I am whole because you were beaten;
I am healed because you were whipped.
There have been so many times I have gone astray and left your path to follow my own, yet you willingly bore my sins and interceded for my rebellious heart. This morning I submit to your path and give you all the praise and glory for where this path takes me. Amen.