Matthew 3:13-17 (Part 1)
13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. 14 But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”
15 Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.
16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
John struggles briefly with Jesus' request to baptize him. He recognizes that Jesus, as the Messiah, was greater than he and thought it would be inappropriate for him to baptize the Son of God. He also understood that the baptism he had been offering others was an outward sign of repentance of sin. How could one who is sinless repent? Jesus, however tells John it is right in the eyes of God to baptize Him.
Jesus humbled himself, as He would continue to do throughout His ministry. Jesus was always seeking the lower and more vulnerable position as a platform from which to demonstrate God's love. This is how Jesus built trust and opened hearts. His vulnerability had the effect of disarming the defense mechanisms we often use to protect ourselves in the event the love offered to us is not genuine. What a wonderful contradiction! The Creator, not only stooping to meet his creation, but going beyond that point and seeking an even lower position from which to serve and love the ones he has created. Jesus demonstrated that the nature of true love is to risk everything through vulnerability for the sake of the beloved.
Where might God be inviting me to take the lower position in order to reveal His love?
Jesus, we confess that it goes against the grain for us to look for lower ground beneath the gaze of our peers. It is especially challenging when those whom we serve are filled with pride in what they have and do and seem unworthy of our service. Help us to remember the paradox you have shown us by taking on the nature of a servant as the King and Lord of Creation. Open our hearts and minds to your way of loving. Grant us the grace today to live out a paradoxical love in the world around us.