SUNDAY, JANUARY 13, 2013.
LESSONS ON THE BAPTISM OF JESUS
‘And Jesus, when he was baptised, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased’ -Matt. 3v16-17.
JOHN the Baptist was reluctant to baptise Jesus at River Jordan. It was understandable because, first, Jesus knew no sin. Second, His baptism was to fulfill all righteousness and third, it was a sort of identification with the suffering humanity.
It is quite amazing that Jesus surrendered Himself and John, who earlier announced His coming, had to baptise Him.
Each time the story is told, one is simply moved that Jesus, Saviour of the world, took on flesh to draw sinful humanity back to God. Mark and Luke recorded the urgency of His baptism in their gospels. (Mk 1v9-11, Lk 3v21-22.)
The baptism of Jesus was a further Epiphany (manifestation) of Him as the Son of God. After His baptism, the Spirit of God, like a dove, descended on Him, and a voice was heard from heaven, ‘This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased’. It is true, according to Luke’s account that the dove descended in a bodily form.
Let it be stated that the baptism of Jesus moved the Father to acknowledge, publicly, the Sonship of Jesus Christ. Some Bible commentators observe, however, that God’s public declaration of Jesus, as a beloved Son, could not deter the devil from tempting Jesus. The Bible noted: ‘Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil’ -Mt. 4v1.
It is most revealing the extent to which the devil can go in his resolve to entangle believers. The devil was not afraid of Jesus after His baptism and confronted Him with if’s– (if you are the Son of God command these stones to turn into bread; if you are the Son of God, jump off…), etc.
Today, not quite many Christians are aware that the devil does not fear or respect their status as children of God. Yes, though baptised in the offices, institutions, organisations or set up, the devil will always make an incursion, if only he can induce a believer to sin. He is aware that sin causes a separation between God and believers, so he will always use it to populate the kingdom of darkness.
It is not surprising, therefore, that some believers have fallen, some others have been trapped and may not rise up again. But why must believers give the devil a field day? John warns us: ‘the devil came to kill, steal and to destroy’ -John 10v10.
As believers, it is time to wake up, especially those of us who have been baptised into Christ’s body. We should not allow the devil to overwhelm us and use us as a pawn. Check out the way you are living presently. Are you living the life of those baptised, washed and set apart for God’s kingdom. Jesus’ baptism should re-invigorate and make us shun the works of darkness. Yes, the time to do it is now.