Meditation for 10/31/2019
“All the people, even the tax collectors, when they heard Jesus’ words, acknowledged that God’s way was right, because they had been baptized by John. But the Pharisees and experts in the law rejected God’s purpose for themselves, because they had not been baptized by John” (Luke7:29-30)
The people, even tax collectors, strongly supported the words of Jesus because they had been baptized by John. The Pharisees and experts in the law stood in opposition because they had rejected John’s baptism.
Thus baptism became the public sign by which followers of John wee identified and distinguished from his opponents. In the say way, baptism became the sign by which Christians were identified. Later, in the time of the great Roman persecutions, it could mark them for martyrdom.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY:
Precious Abba, we Your people, have been and still are marked as Your own. When Jesus began his ministry, one of the signs given was the sign of a fish drawn in the dirt by one person and completed by another, if they were Christian. Today, we are more open, yet even more under attack than ever before. Abba, we seek Your counsel to determine Your will in all things and continue to reach out to others in the Good News of salvation through Jesus Christ. This we pray in His precious name. Amen
THOUGHT OF THE DAY:
“God will direct your footsteps, but you must be willing to pick up your feet.”
“And so John came, baptizing in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. And this was his message: ‘After me will come one more powerful than I, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.’ At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. As Jesus was coming up out of he water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: ‘You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” (Mark 1:4-11)
Matthew mentioned that John preached repentance and required evidence of it in order to baptize his converts. Mark used the specific phrase “baptism of repentance.” “Repent” means to “turn around” in both Hebrew (shub) and Greek (metanoeo). Thus baptism became for John and for later Christians a sign of turning one’s whole life around and directing it toward faith in God.
Ordinances, Baptism by John: (Matthew3:4-17)
The most direct background and source of Christian baptism is clearly the baptism of John the Baptist. He baptized faithful Jews as a sign of repentance and preparation for the coming Messiah. All of the elements of John’s baptism are taken into the later interpretation of Christian baptism. 1) call to repentance. 2) confession of sins. 3) bearing fruits as evidence of changed lives; 4) warning of coming judgment; and 5) the come One (Messiah) baptizing with the Holy Spirit.
Second Thought of the Day:
“Now some Pharisees who had been sent questioned him, ‘Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?’ ‘I baptize with water,’ John replied, ‘but among you stands one you do not know. He is the one who comes after me, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.’ This all happened at Bethany on the other side of he Jordan, where john was baptizing. The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, ‘Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of he world! This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him, but the reason I cam baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.’ Then John gave gave this testimony: ‘I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’” (John 1:24-33)
One of the main elements in John’s message was the announcement of the Messiah (Anointed One) who was coming after him and would be anointed with the Holy Spirit. This great distinction was further emphasized by the difference in their baptisms: John was baptizing in water, but the coming One would baptize with the Holy Spirit.
Two additional things are made clear in these in these verses: 1) John came baptizing in water so that the Messiah might be revealed to Israel; and 2) John recognized the Messiah because the Holy Spirit came down like a dove and remained on Him. This is the plainest statement we have as to why John baptized. He was and is a powerful witness to the messiahship of Jesus as the Son of God.