Wednesday, March 19, 2008

John the Baptist and Messiah's Baptism

From the readings and questions this week:
Hebrews 5:7 stood out this week:
"During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission."
Through His baptism, Jesus aligned himself with those among God's people who truly, humbly desired to do God's will. He was acknowledging publicly God's justice and the He also received annointing from God as the promised Messiah.

1. Matthew 3:1-6 Jesus and John the Baptist
> Jesus is with us through all our trials.
> He will help us to obey God's requirements.
> We need to ask Him for help.
> He will empathise with us.
Locusts food for the poor. Dessert place of spirituality, finding God (cf Joshua before the taking of Jericho). John came in the spirit and power of Elijah, confronting corruption.
: Jesus is the source of our salvation because of His obedience.
> We are called to obey Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Q Do my actions and words demonstrate obedience to Jesus Christ?
Q Am I able to point others to Jesus as a result of my actions?
> We need to let others know what Jesus Christ means to us.

2. Matthew 3:7-12 John the Baptist’s message
John preached repentance: a change in one’s heart and mind leading to a change in one’s life and actions. There needed to be evidence of this repentance in the lives of the baptisee. John also warned that judgement was imminent. John’s baptism prepared the nation of Israel for the coming king and made the king known to Israel.
: Repentance involved changed thinking and a changed life.
> Baptism today publicly acknowledges repentance and faith.

3. Matthew 3:13-17 Jesus is baptised by John
Jesus the Lamb of God did not come to John remorseful and repentant but submissive and obedient. Jesus Christ had no sin to confess! The Father was pleased with Jesus, even at this early point in His ministry.
One reason was to give approval to John’s ministry in baptising for repentance, acknowledging that He was indeed the One whom John had made the way straight for.
: Just as the Holy Spirit anointed Jesus Christ for His ministry, the Holy Spirit anoints believers for service today.
> The Holy Spirit is working in us to prepare us for heaven, for the new heavens and new earth.

Even though we sin and fail we are a new person in Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 1:3-5 tells us, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade – kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.”

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