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Daily Reading: 17th June 2016

Matthew 3.13-15

13 Then­­­­­­ Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him.

14 But he prevented Him, saying: “I need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?”

15 Then Jesus replied and said to him: “You must allow it for now, for it is proper to fulfil all righteousness”. Then he agreed with Him.

We know that John was sent by God to proclaim a message of repentance, and that he baptized people who repented from their sins.

We also know that John knew that he was preparing the way for Jesus, the Messiah, who would come to be the sacrificial Lamb of God.

Perhaps we can identify with John when he saw Jesus approaching him with the intention of being baptized. John could not understand this, because He knew that Jesus had no sin from which He needed to repent. John knew that Jesus was living in the perfect will of His Father. He knew that Jesus was the spotless Lamb of God.

That Jesus wanted and needed to be baptized defied Johns’ understanding.

As far as John was concerned, Jesus had no need of being baptized.

Jesus being baptized has perplexed people throughout the centuries, for exactly the same reason that John was perplexed.

We must remember that the Jews did not submit themselves to baptism. As far as the Jews were concerned baptism was reserved for the Gentiles, who turned from their idolatrous ways to become Jewish converts. Upon their doing this they were baptized.

Therefore, when John came preaching the baptism of repentance he was proclaiming a very radical message. He was telling the Jews that they also needed to be baptized, and that they needed to turn to God from their sinful ways, just as much as the non Jews needed to.

There was no escaping the fact that John was baptizing people because they repented from their sins and were turning to God.

Therefore, it is not surprising that John was confused when Jesus, the sinless one, came forward to be baptized.

He knew that Jesus was greater than he was, and he felt that he should be baptized by Jesus.

So why did Jesus submit to the baptism of repentance, when He had no apparent need to do so?

What was the point that Jesus was making?

continued tomorrow.

 

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