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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Sunday, January 3, 2016
Today’s scripture reading:
John had been explaining that Jesus’ baptism would be much greater than his, when suddenly Jesus came to him and asked to be baptized! John felt unqualified. He wanted Jesus to baptize him. Why did Jesus ask to be baptized? It was not for repentance for sin because Jesus never sinned. “We must do everything that is right” refers to accomplishing God’s mission. Jesus saw his baptism as advancing God’s work. Jesus was baptized because (1) he was confessing sin on behalf of the nation, as Nehemiah, Ezra, Moses, and Daniel had done; (2) he was showing support for what John was doing; (3) he was inaugurating his public ministry; (4) he was identifying with the penitent people of God, not with critical Pharisees who were only watching Jesus, the perfect man, didn’t need baptism for sin, but he accepted baptism in obedient service to the Father, and God showed his approval.
Put yourself in John’s shoes. Your work is going well, people are taking notice, everything is growing. But you know that the purpose of your work is to prepare the people for Jesus. Then Jesus arrives, and his coming tests your integrity. Will you be able to turn your followers over to him? John passed the test b publicly baptizing Jesus. Can we, like John, put our egos and profitable work aside in order to point others to Jesus? Are we willing to lose some of our status so that everyone will benefit? (NLT)
Matthew 3:13-17 – Then Jesus went from Galilee to the Jordan River to be baptized by John. But John didn’t want to baptize him. “I am the one who needs to be baptized by you,” he said, “so why are you coming to me?”
But Jesus said, “It must be done, because we must do everything that is right.” So then John baptized him.
After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, and I am fully pleased with him.”
Frank Ramirez (Pennsylvania) titled his story “THE FIRST STEP;” here is a portion of Frank’s story:
“. . . I think God is already well pleased with us as we take the first step in any new ministry. This prompted me to ask myself, What first step do I need to take in order to begin whatever mission God has set aside for me? We can trust that as we take that first step, God is already well pleased!”
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – I want to hear God say, “Beloved, I am well pleased with you.”
To read the rest of the story in The Upper Room, click on the following link: http://devotional.upperroom.org/
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