Scripture Passage: Matthew 3:1-17 based on the LCMS Daily Lectionary for September 25
Meditation: John the Baptist came to prepare the way. Prepare the way for whom? He prepared the way for the Messiah, the Christ. How did he prepare the way? Out in the wilderness, he preached, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand (3:1-2)!” Those who responded by “confessing their sins” were baptized. Their baptism symbolized cleansing from their sins. Their sins were washed away by repentance and baptism.
How did this prepare the way for Jesus, the Messiah? John’s preaching emphasized the coming of God’s Kingdom to earth. While the people, nor John the Baptist, fully understood the meaning of it, they knew that if the Kingdom of Heaven was at hand that the King was coming! Responding to John’s preaching by confession and baptism meant that they were ready for the King to come.
So, you can imagine when the King, Jesus, comes to John to be baptized! John has been telling them about the one to come who would baptize them with the Holy Spirit. Then, that very one shows up to be baptized! John attempts to dissuade Him. Why would Jesus need to be baptized by John? Maybe, it would be more accurate to ask, why would Jesus want to be baptized by John? It seems so unnecessary!
Since Christians believe that he was sinless, we do not believe it was because of sin in Jesus’ own life, yet was it because of sin? Did Jesus need baptized because of sin? He did need to be baptized because of sin, but not because of his personal sin. The coming King identifies with the people for whom he comes to rule and reign. He becomes our representative. What kind of King does this?
Jesus came to be the King, but not a typical kind of monarch. Jesus was baptized because of our sin. He identified with sinful humanity through his baptism. While he became human through his birth, he became our King and representative through his baptism. While he had no sin of his own, he would eventually embody sin for the sake of all humanity.
The King revealed among his people; a herald completing his task. Our King, who identifies with us in all of our humanity, draws us to himself, and gives us the gift of faith in Himself for the forgiveness of sin and life eternal. Amen.
Living the Word Today seeks to provide brief devotional thoughts for daily living from a passage of Scripture. It is not meant to be academic exegesis, but a humble attempt to listen to God’s voice through His written Word.
Sources: All Scripture quotes are from The World English Bible. The World English Bible is in the Public Domain. That means that it is not copyrighted. However, “World English Bible” is a Trademark.