Being Baptized to Restore Authority to Man
1st Sunday after Epiphany
Readings: Isaiah 42:1-9
Acts 10: 34-38
Matthew 3: 13-17
Today’s Gospel talks about the Baptism of Jesus. Why did He have to be baptized? After all, He came from the Father, He faithfully performed His duties at home, obeyed His earthly parents, Did carpentry work with Joseph, living an ordinary life. But He was being prepared for His future. God sets our future. He has plans for us. For Jesus, He knew His time had come when John the Baptist arrived. The children of Israel, knowing that they came from Abraham, did not see the need for baptism. But when John went out into the wilderness and talked about repentance, this was the right time for change. Prophets of old foretold this, and the people were starting to become aware that something was going to happen. Psalm 2:7 “I will declare the decree: The LORD has said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.” This was a confirmation to Christ. When He emerged out of the water, and a voice from Heaven proclaimed Him as The Beloved Son. Why did Jesus come out immediately from the water? This is saying to us that God’s cleansing is immediate. The purpose of Jesus’ coming was to become flesh. He had to come from sinful flesh and now through the act of baptism, there was cleansing. Christ knew who He was. He was humble, He was not arrogant. He had come in the flesh and the flesh needed cleansing. The Dove, being a symbol of the Holy Spirit came down upon Him, filling Him with power.
Man had been given authority by God but when man failed, he gave the authority to the enemy. Since God gave man the authority, Christ as flesh had to be the one to restore that authority which man gave the enemy, back to him. We are not Christ. But we are to be like Him. Our task is to bring back the authority. What Christ did, it is now our task. We need to realize we have the anointing. God takes away our sin. He does things in immediacy but always complete. What He does is perfect. John 1: 31 “I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.” Christ had a task to do, which was why He had to obey the law and fulfill it. Jesus came to do away the curse. He had to fulfill the law in order to show that He was stronger than the law. Psalm 89:3 You said, “I have made a covenant with my chosen one, I have sworn to David my servant.” He had to fulfill the law because He was going to wipe away all sin. He was doing this not only for Israel but for us all. He went about healing the sick and all those who were oppressed. Sickness is of the enemy. Oppression is of the enemy.
John lived in the wilderness. He was the voice crying out in the wilderness to “clear the path for the Lord’s coming. As Isaiah the prophet declares, “Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain.” This doesn’t mean we won’t have problems. But if we know that Christ is in us, we will know that greater is He in us than anything in the world. When we are baptized, we will find ourselves in the wilderness. We may face difficulties and be tempted by the enemy. But we need to be overcomers. This is part of the new life that we have, able to overcome difficulties. Christ showed us an example so we could be like Him. All things are possible if only we would believe.