Summary: We began our year with prayers that God would open our eyes to help us find Jesus. Today we continue that prayer asking God to help us follow Jesus.
We began our year with prayers that God would open our eyes to help us find Jesus. Today we continue that prayer asking God to help us follow Jesus.
Psalm 25:4-5 “Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.”
In Matthew 3 there is a voice calling in the wilderness, “Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.” Today we need to prepare the way for the Lord in our hearts, our lives. Not just know about Jesus, but to Know Him and to allow Him to direct our path. It was the ministry of John the Baptist to prepare the people for the ministry of Jesus. John was an attention-getter! His was a message of repentance.
In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea2 and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” 3 This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah:
“A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’”
Matthew 3:1-17 John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. 5 People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. 6 Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.
7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8 Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. 9 And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 10 The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
11 “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. 14 But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”
15 Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.
16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
All of the Gospels record the baptism of Jesus, but only Matthew reveals the discussion between John and Jesus about his baptism. John felt he should be baptized by Jesus! We would agree! Jesus, however, has a bigger picture in mind – he is being baptized to fulfill all righteousness.
If we are praying for God to open our eyes to find Jesus and to follow Jesus, how would that prayer be answered?
1. We Would Follow Jesus in Humility. (Matthew 3:11, 15)
The humility of John. Unworthy to carry the sandals of Jesus. “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30).
The Humility of Jesus (Matthew 3:15).
The Divine Son of God submitting to an act designed to demonstrate cleansing, repentance and forgiveness. Jesus got down into the muddy river to show us how to be clean. Jesus presented himself for baptism as an act of solidarity with a nation and a world of sinners. Jesus simply got in line with everyone who had been broken by the “wear and tear” of this selfish world and had all but given up on themselves and their God. When the line of downtrodden and sin-sick people formed in hopes of new beginnings through a return to God, Jesus joined them. At his baptism , he identified with the damaged and broken people who needed God. – Robert M. Brearley
The Humility of Us. Humility admits the reality of sin. We are all sinners without the ability to remove even one sin on our own power.
Luke 18:10-14 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”