Gracious Heavenly Father, I thank You for Your life-renewing peace. May I walk in peace with You today.
Read Matthew 3:13-4:11
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“For we…have a high priest…who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet was without sin” (Heb. 4:15).
John recognized Jesus as the greater and was perplexed by Jesus’ desire for a baptism which was so much less than the one, in the Spirit, which he would instigate. Jesus replied that it was the right thing for both of them, the righteous way. The meaning is then made clear by what follows. As Jesus identified with a baptism of repentance for sin he identified with us: in effect he made confession on our behalf. At that moment the Spirit of God descended and the Father spoke of his love for his Son, and his pleasure in the choice he had made. At the very start of Jesus’ ministry we are taken to the heart of atonement and the love within the triune God. In the future, Christians would be “baptized into his death … buried with him through baptism” (Rom. 6:3,4). As a consequence, we receive the Spirit and are assured of the Father’s love. John preached about a new Israel. Jesus would bring it about through his cross and resurrection.
There is a second puzzle in this passage. The gift of the Spirit and the assurance of the Father’s love lead not to a happy life, but to testing in the wilderness. Each temptation receives a response from Moses’ address to Israel at the close of their time in the wilderness (Deut. 6-8). This passage includes these words: “Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord your God disciplines you” (Deut. 8:5). Israel rebelled in the wilderness and was unfaithful to its redeemer. Jesus was tested and remained completely faithful to his Father. The new exodus would come through his death and obedience. Both a new beginning with God and a life following God are cross-shaped.
Is the Lord calling you to a special and specific task? Consider the response of Jesus and pray about your situation.
Lord Jesus, You heard a voice at Your baptism calling You to Your life’s mission. I wait for Your call and Your power to carry out mine.
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