Archive for May 12th, 2017

Matthew 3

Matthew 3 has John the Baptist preaching and preparing the way for Jesus.  “Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight”. He was a unique man, not necessarily the guy you’d expect to carry the torch for the Savior of the world.  Scripture tells us that he “wore a garment of camel’s hair and a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey”.  God not only tells us in scripture, but we see over and over how He uses people based on their heart, not their appearance or skills, to do His work.  God plus anyone can do anything.

John had quite a following as people came from far and wide to hear him preach about sin and salvation and to be baptized by him in the Jordan river.  That didn’t sit well with the Pharisees and Sadducees who were the ruling class of that day.  John was infringing on their turf and they wanted him to stop what he was doing and quit disrupting their place.  John gently takes them on: “You brood of  vipers….God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees.  Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire”.

John has no fear.  He has a message to deliver and no religious leaders were going to step in his way.  John knows his place.  He isn’t the final answer – the One he is preparing the way for – Jesus Christ – is.  “I baptize you with water  for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire”.  John knows he is the messenger for the Messiah and carries that message loudly and broadly.

The ultimate transfer happens when John baptizes Jesus.  John wanted nothing of it at first.  “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”.  John has the following at this point, yet as soon as Jesus comes to him he steps out of the limelight and points it all at Christ.  He baptized Jesus publicly and God shows up in a mighty way.  “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”.

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