Listen to this devotional:
Matthew 3:13-17 – Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, 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 it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness." Then he consented. And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him 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, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased." (NRSV)
This event took place two thousand years ago as Jesus met John at the Jordan River.
Last year, I stood beside the Jordan River, watching my friend being submerged into its waters. Covenant words were spoken, and the waters of the Jordan washed over her with love and forgiveness, just as it did in John's day. The heavens did not open, neither did a dove descend, but yet the sacredness of the occasion was felt by all who gathered there. We left the baptismal site with the feeling that we were beginning a new mission — to help Jesus with the mission that He had begun that day, so long ago.
For Jesus, His baptism had been the "official" beginning of His mission here on earth. John the Baptist was completing his mission. He said of Jesus, "He must become greater; I must become less." (John 3:30 NIV) This was not to say that John's mission was not an important one. Indeed it was. Just as we are called to serve in different ways today, John and Jesus each had their own way of serving.
May we strive with faithfulness to carry out our mission with the dedication shown by John and Jesus!
Prayer: Precious Jesus, thank You for coming to the earth and living among men, showing us how a Christian should live. Guide and direct and empower us to help carry on the mission You began. Amen.