Since some parts of the Church celebrate the Lord’s Baptism (Boboteaza, RO) today, I was reflecting on Jesus’ baptism by John. If I had to sum up the whole passage in one word it would be ‘humility’. Read again Matthew’s account:
13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. 14But 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.”
John’s reaction is so unexpected. He would struggle to fit in a 21st century leadership model, even a Christian one. Instead of basking in the glory that the Messiah was coming to visit him – he tries to dissuade Jesus from getting baptized. He could have used the event as shameless self-promotion publicity stunt. Instead, John remains consistent in his humility displayed even before the event. That shows character. He remains true to his conviction when temptation was handed to him on a plate.
But as much as I admire John, it is Jesus Himself that shows incredible humility. He goes to John. He goes through a shameful public act that was meant to display repentance and regret. Just like the crucifixion on Golgotha, He goes through with the Father’s plan – as difficult as that was. And the Father is so appreciative of it. He ‘shows off’ in His recognition of the Son’s obedience. In a way, just like the other people who were baptized by John, for Jesus it was a new beginning.
Today is a a day to remember the two examples of authentic humility. Humility, in the face of many temptations to show pride. A great encouragement to us to remain humble. If God has called you – obey with a faithful heart. If you lead, lead with humility – letting Him get the glory! And I can guarantee that even if you look like a ‘loser’ in the deceived eyes of the world – in His eyes you will be a son and a daughter that He is well pleased with.
‘Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.’ (1 Peter 5:6)