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December 28 – Breaking the Rules of the World

John seemed to be indiscriminate in who he baptized. If someone came out and said that they had repented, he’d dip them under the water of the Jordan River as a sign of that repentance and a promise to follow God. The only person that he seemed hesitant to baptize was Jesus. John recognized who Jesus was and let Jesus know that Jesus should be baptizing him. Jesus, instead, asked John to baptize Him, not as a sign of repentance, but, in my personal opinion, to demonstrate His unity as a human being with those who came out to be baptized. Whatever the reason was, God approved, and we have a verbal picture of the Trinity gathered together in one place as the heavens opened up, we hear the voice of the Father call out letting all those at the river know that Jesus was His Son – and He was a proud Father, and the Holy Spirit showing up in bodily form as a dove to sit on Jesus. It was the beginning of the end of John’s popularity, which was as it was supposed to be. As noted in the gospel of John, the John who baptized said that he must decrease so that Jesus could increase.

There’s a beautiful picture of the Trinity gathered on the banks of the Jordan in this story. I can’t explain it, but we see it as we picture this story in our mind. There was communication amongst themselves in the Trinity. There’s another interesting picture that we see, though, and that’s the humility of Jesus. He was God, the Son. He had ruled in heaven. Not only had He come down to earth as a young child, now, He was walking among the masses of people, the holy among the unclean, and was willing to be baptized by a backwater preacher of repentance. While we know more of the story than the first century Jews did, that’s what most of them saw. As described in the book of Philippians, Jesus, though He was God, didn’t cling to His rights as God. Instead, He was willing to get His hands “dirty” by walking, talking, and dealing with the “sinners” of Jewish society while enduring the scorn of the “religious elite.” He reminds us today that true faith doesn’t set up barriers between people; it doesn’t set up pedestals that we can climb to look down on people; it breaks the barriers and conventions of this world so that those who follow God can share His grace and mercy with those who need to follow Him. If that’s what Jesus did when He was on earth, that’s what we should do every day.


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