Bible Reading: Matthew 3:13-17
Have you ever wondered why Jesus had to be baptized? He is the Messiah; the Savior of the world. We know that Jesus was sinlessly perfect, so why did He have John baptize Him? Baptism, we know, is an outward expression on the heart-cleansing salvation God has done. But Jesus did not need to be saved from sin. Actually, the exact opposite is true, in that Jesus had come to save sinners. When He comes to John seeking baptism, John says that Jesus should be the one baptizing him. Jesus gives an interesting response that can seem confusing to us. Our Lord said, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” What does this mean?
When we profess faith in Christ, there are a few things that happen. One, our sins are forgiven. Through the atoning, sacrificial death of Jesus upon the cross, our sins have been dealt with. Jesus took all of our sin upon Himself. Another way of thinking about this is that He paid the debt that we owed. Thanks to Christ, now, when God looks at believers, He does not see sin, because our sin has been covered by Jesus. As amazing and beautiful as this is, it is not all that happens to bring about our salvation. There is a second thing that happens, and it is equally amazing as the first. Our sins are taken away from us and put on Christ, and His righteousness is placed on us! Our sin is replaced with the righteousness of Christ, and now, not only does God not see our sins but instead He sees righteousness.
Have you ever wondered why Jesus came down to earth and lived for 33 years before He laid down His life for ours? Why not come down as an adult, 33-year-old man, and die quickly? Instead, our Savior left His perfect, heavenly home to live in this fallen, sinful world for 33 years. He lived in the midst of darkness and evil, yet He Himself remained holy, perfect and sinless. Jesus did this in order to “fulfill all righteousness.”
Because of His perfect life, He gives His righteousness to us. Because of His sacrificial death, He takes our sin upon Himself. Because of His resurrection, He gives us hope of eternal life. Because of His ascension, He sits on high interceding for us.
Call to Action: We praise the name of Jesus Christ because our sins are forgiven, AND because we are made righteous through Him. Christ has made a way for us to live a righteous life. He sets us free from the powers of sin, and sends the Holy Spirit to fill us and transform us. As Christians, we can face every day knowing that God is with us, and He is for us. This truth should draw us closer to God, and give us a burning desire to know Him more. We should yearn for time spent with God in prayer and fasting. We should crave the Word of God, and fill our hearts and minds with its life-giving truth. We should live loving and righteous lives towards all people. We should do all this out of love for our Savior, who loved us so much that He lived a righteous life, and died an atoning death, and He did it all for us. Praise His great name today!
Rev. Larkin Sumerlin