Sunday, July 17, 2011

Matthew: Chapter 3

The Isaiah passage that prophesies of the work of John the Baptist is a favorite of mine. The leveling of the paths, raising up the valleys and lowering the mountains speaks to me clearly about this journey of life. Christ brings a leveling of all things, a smooth ground upon which to walk--and John the Baptist proclaimed Christ’s coming and the need for us to turn from our own ways. Our sins are roadblocks to the work of the Lord. We must relinquish them!

I am intrigued, too, that John’s presentation was not to appeal to the masses. He proclaimed the truth he knew and did not pander to the appeal of others; his clothing was odd, his diet unusual and his dwelling, the desert. Yet crowds came. Sometimes, perhaps’ we focus more on making our presentation appealing than we ought. Jesus Christ lifted up draws people to Himself; we often have a stronger desire to draw people to ourselves. The Pharisees and the Sadducees had a variation of this disease. They were committed to their ideas more than the promised Savior from their God. Like the Scribes of yesterday, their head knowledge got in the way. God wants relationship with us; when that relationship is lacking, the changes needed are within us, not Him. Our relationship with God requires us to turn wholly toward Him.

Jesus’ baptism demonstrated that complete submission to the Father. Baptism is about identification…Christ willingly identified with rotten humanity to fulfill the Father’s glorious purpose. We are called to identify with Christ that we might receive His righteousness. Nothing we do on our own makes us acceptable; it’s all Jesus--and it’s all done! Hallelujah

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