Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Matthew 3:13-17 "Beginnings"

Read Matthew 3:13-17.

"And a voice from heaven said, 'This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.'" NIV
This act marks the beginning of Jesus' three-year ministry. You could call it His installation ceremony, and the Almighty showed up to give His blessing. Our Lord started with symbolically being cleansed of sin, of which He had none, so He could identify with all mankind. He says to John the Baptist that this had to be done to "fulfill all righteousness." To make all right with the world; to make it possible for us to have forgiveness of our sins and our relationship with the Father to be made right again, Christ had to identify with humanity. He demonstrates for us the forgiveness of sins and the repentance with baptism. We are cleansed of our past and come up out of a watery grave a new creation. I remember that feeling of the water flowing down my head, and shoulders, and on down my back. My baptism was almost 30 years ago, but I remember it so vividly. The sounds of the room disappeared and a tremendous peace flooded my soul. In that moment I knew I had been touched by God. It took about fifteen more years for me to really become sold out for Christ, to recognize Him as my Lord; but as my husband said in his sermon this last Sunday, "You can't encounter Jesus and not be changed forever."

And when Jesus came up out of the Jordan River, the heavens opened. With the Spirit of God in the form of a dove and the voice of the Father, the trinity was united again ready to fight for His children. The Jews expected a battle and dismissed Christ as the Messiah because He did not save them from the bondage of the Romans. But Christ came and was now prepared to fight a much greater battle against a much more powerful enemy. And He did it for you and me.

I am humbled by His sacrifice and ashamed that we still side against Him by our actions and hardened hearts. Lord, forgive us....again. Fill us, Holy Spirit, with Your power; guide us in Your ways. "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one." For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.

Further Thoughts:
  1. In the Christian church, baptism is considered a "sacrament." Look up the meaning of this word.
  2. Why did Christ have to be baptized?
  3. How are the events at His baptism evidence of His divinity?
  4. Look up the meaning of the word, "trinity." Who make up the trinity and when did they come into existence? Can you support with Scripture? (This one is hard. Let me give you some hints: Genesis 1:1-2 and John 1:1-2, Genesis 1:26, Matthew 28:19.) Why do these Scriptures support the triune God even though they don't use the word "trinity?"
  5. If you have never been baptized, but have received Christ as your Savior, pray about and consider being baptized. Our salvation is not in the act, but is made public by it, and through baptism we declare our allegiance to Christ. It's an amazing experience you will never forget.

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