|We commence today with a number of readings from the four Gospels which depict the earthly life of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Here is His first public action, having left Nazareth where He had been brought up and walked down the Jordan Valley to the place where John the Baptist was preaching and baptizing. The distance would have been more than 60 miles, 100 kilometers.
No doubt the news of John’s ministry had reached the little town of Nazareth and Christ must have recognized that this was an indication that the time had come to begin His work. Can you imagine the scene by the river bank as John in some way recognized who the next one was in the line of those coming to be baptized? What did John say? “I’ve been saying you will baptize us with the Holy Spirit and with fire. Now you want me to baptize you.” Notice the gracious words of Christ, “I want you to do this, because we must do everything that is right.”
But why did Jesus need to be baptized? John called for men and women to be baptized as an act of confession of sin and to show their repentance. Christ was sinless, so why did He think He should be baptized in this way? It was an act of identification with His people. He wanted to show He was one of them. In a rather similar way, Moses, Nehemiah, Daniel and others identified themselves with God’s people in their day.
It was also an act of dedication at the beginning of His ministry. That God saw it that way was clearly seen in what followed. God the Father spoke from heaven saying, “I recognize this one as my own Son and I am fully pleased with Him - and what He has done.” It is often pointed out that the Trinity is involved in this scene. God the Father spoke from heaven, God the Son was baptized and God the Holy Spirit descended on Christ.
With this endorsement by the Father and the Spirit, Christ moved on to the beginning of His earthly ministry. It is the same for us - we can only be blessed in our work for God if we have His endorsement and His empowerment. Let us seek that day by day.