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Sunday, March 4, 2012

Jesus Baptism

Jordan River — Baptism and Temptation

John the Baptist knew Jesus, probably from childhood, for their mothers were related. John preached a message of repentance to prepare people to accept the coming Messiah, but he did not at first realize that the Messiah was Jesus. He knew Jesus had a personal goodness that exempted him from the need for baptism, but when Jesus insisted that John baptize him, John did so. Only then, as Jesus came out of the water and the Spirit descended visibly upon him, was John assured that this one was the Messiah.

The reason Jesus was baptized was not that he had sins to repent of, but that he wanted to declare, in an act of solidarity with all the faithful, that he was on the side of God and his righteousness. People were baptized to declare their obedience, and Jesus wanted to declare his readiness to carry out all God’s purposes. In response, the Father demonstrated his full satisfaction, giving Jesus specific spiritual power for the work that lay ahead of him.

No sooner had Jesus been equipped for his messianic work than Satan tempted him to use his messianic powers in the wrong way. For example, he could work a miracle to satisfy his hunger; but Jesus knew that, although food is necessary to maintain life, obedience to God is more important. Behaviour should be determined by God’s will, not by human expediency.

Another suggestion was that Jesus could convince people he was the Son of God by jumping from the top of the temple and calling upon God to save him. But Jesus would not rely upon spectacular miracles, whether to save himself or convince others. His path would lead not to self-acclaim or popularity, but to a cross.

Finally, Jesus could be assured of worldwide power if he accepted Satan’s methods of conquest. But Jesus did not come into the world so that people might be forced into his kingdom. He wants them to come because they choose to. He wants them to submit willingly to him, the one who willingly laid down his life for them.
~ Following Jesus, Don Fleming

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