06 January 2018
GraceNotes – A Journey of Discovery
Scripture: Matthew 3:13-17 (Click the link for the scripture in Bible Gateway)
Two things grabbed my attention today from this part of Matthew chapter three. At the peak of John the Baptist’s brief ministry, Jesus made the four day journey from Nazareth in Galilee to the Jordan River in Judea to be baptized by John. At first, John didn’t want to baptize Jesus. He said, “I’m the one who needs to be baptized by you!” Jesus replied to John, “You have to baptize me, John, because we must do everything that is right!” One translation says, “We must fulfill all righteousness.”
In our busyness, or driven by our demanding responsibilities, or when it seems like we should take the easy way and just “Git ‘er Done!”, it can be easy to forget that we must do the right things, not the easy things or the quick things or the things that “make sense”. We, like Jesus and John, must do “everything that is right!”
The other thing I noticed, is that even though Jesus had never yet preached a sermon, or healed a blind or lame person, or performed a miracle, God was fully pleased with him. As he came up out of the water, the Holy Spirit rested on him and his Father spoke from heaven saying, “This is my beloved Son, and I am fully pleased with him!”
The basis for pleasing the Father for Jesus and for us is simply to be in relationship with him and respond to his promptings. It’s not our performance or our achievements. This is a challenge for me! I’ve experienced so much performance-based religion and achievement-based approval in my life.
How about you? Do you find it difficult to accept the Father’s approval simply because he loves you, and not because of your performance and achievements? We all want to do the right things and accomplish something for God, but he loves us because we’re his kids! I’m determined to make some progress on “accepting my acceptance” today!
Father, Thank you for this little story about Jesus and John that makes it so clear that your love and approval isn’t based on my performance or achievements! Help me today to relax into your unconditional love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.