Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. – Matthew 3:13. Jesus was almost 30 years old when He went to John the Baptist to embrace His future.
Jesus was almost 30 years old when He went to John the Baptist to embrace His future. This was the moment both men came of age. The fullness of their time had come. Jesus, hearing John’s call to repent, came to begin His ministerial service. John probably started his ministerial service six months earlier, since he was six months older.
Christ’s action in going to the Jordan River to be baptized by John teaches us to embrace our future and not run from it or to be frightened by the duty, pain or turmoil within it.
Embracing our future often creates an opportunity to draw nearer to God and to receive power from the Holy Spirit.
Those who want to find must first seek. Those at the door of opportunity must first knock before they can enter. And those who want to receive answers must first ask questions.
An unknown author once said, “Forget about yesterday, it is the past, that is why it did not last. Hold loosely to today, if not there will be a price to pay. Embrace tomorrow, because you never know what will happen.”
One of the key ingredients to embracing the future is accepting the humbleness that comes from starting at the bottom. Christ showed great humility because He who knew no sin was willing to submit to a baptism of repentance. From that time on, Christ preached humility in words, preached humility by example and preached humility to all, especially to his young disciples.
Destined for the highest honor, Christ’s first step was to humble himself before John. Those who would rise high, often first begin low, because, generally, before honor comes humility.
Another thought on humility is that God has further honor in store for those who continue being humble even when their reputation rises.
By the time Christ went to John for baptism, John had become a man of great reputation but notice how humble he remained toward his younger cousin, Jesus.
John tried to deter Jesus, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” In John’s response we see his humility as he too embraced his own future.
Christ said to him, “Let it be so for now, it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15).
John thought it wrong for him to baptize Jesus because he, John, was a sinner. When you think about it, John was the greatest man born to human parents and yet he was fully aware that he too was polluted and he acknowledged this and admitted his need for Christ’s cleansing.
Christ accepted John’s humility but not his refusal to baptize Him. Christ wanted the baptism done. He knew it was critical to His future. He didn’t deny John needed to be baptized by Him but Christ now must be baptized by John.
Why then? Because that was the moment Christ was to embrace His future and He wasn’t going to run from it. It was a special moment because, at that particular time, Christ was in a state of humility.
He had emptied Himself out and considered Himself like the other people at the river. At that moment, Christ was just one of them. He had no special identity or big reputation.
Only John knew who He really was. Christ began His mission low and that allowed Him to rise to glory.
Another unknown author said, “We should know the difference between cherishing the lessons of the past, and living in the past, likewise the difference between being prepared for the future, and being worried about the future.”
Christ knew what the prophets had said He must do and He knew He had to get prepared to do it. He was not only doing as the other people did, who sought salvation; He was also taking on the likeness of sinful flesh.
Are you embracing your future or running from it? Jesus’ getting baptized was critical to His embracing of His future. His action allowed the descent of the Holy Spirit. Had He not done so, the Holy Spirit could not have come down and He couldn’t have given it to us.
The Rev. Dr. R. Joaquin Willis is pastor of the Church of the Open Door UCC in Miami’s Liberty City community. He may be reached at 305-759-0373 or firstname.lastname@example.org