Sunday, January 11, 2015

He identifies with us

"Baptism of Jesus" by Isabella Colette

"Baptism of Jesus" by Isabella Colette
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Mark 1:1-13

TO CHEW ON: "And it came to pass in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized by John in the Jordan." Mark 1:9

Mark makes it clear that people were coming to John for baptism to confess their sins and for the remission of their sins. So why did Jesus (who was sinless—2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15; 7:26—ask to be baptized?

I would submit that one purpose for His baptism was to identify with us. How so?

He would become sin for us. Paul says that God "...made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.." Though Jesus never committed sin, in His baptism He foreshadowed those awful / wonderful hours on the cross when He bore all the sins of all the people that had ever lived and would ever live (including yours and mine).

We can trust Him because He understands the human experience. Hebrews 2 talks more about what His identifying with us means:
  • He was subject to physical death (Hebrews 2:14). But His death was loaded with significance in that He would, by dying, satisfy God's wrath against sin ("make propitiation for the sins of the people" - Hebrews 2:17).
  • By taking on human existence, He understood/understands our temptation and is able to help us when we are tempted (Hebrews 2:18; 1 Corinthians 10:13).
  • When He limited Himself to a human body, He became subject to our weaknesses and so has compassion (deals gently) with us in them (Hebrews 2:5).

I love the aspect of Holy Spirit 's involvement in Jesus' baptism that unfolded when Jesus came up from the water and "He saw the heavens parting (torn open) and the Spirit descending upon Him like a dove" accompanied by the message of Father God's approval: "You are My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased" - Mark 1:11.

This scene pictures the trinity—Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It reminds us of the source and energy of spiritual life following repentance: the Holy Spirit.

Let's thank God for Jesus, our older brother (Hebrews 2:17) who was there first and who understands and sympathizes with our human struggles.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for Jesus's humility and obedience to subject Himself to a human body and go through with the act of baptism. Help me to live the post-baptism Holy Spirit-empowered life. Amen.

MORE: More on Jesus' identity with us
"All through the Bible it is revealed that Our Lord bore the sin of the world by identification, not by sympathy. He deliberately took upon His own shoulders, and bore in His own Person, the whole massed sin of the human race - "He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin," and by so doing He put the whole human race on the basis of Redemption. Jesus Christ rehabilitated the human race; He put it back to where God designed it to be, and anyone can enter into union with God on the ground of what Our Lord has done on the Cross" - Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, October 7 reading.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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