“Jesus arrived from Galilee at the Jordan coming to John, to be baptized by him. But John tried to prevent Him…Jesus answering said to him, ‘Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.’ Then he permitted Him.” - Matthew 3:13-15 NASB
We can picture the scene. John was in the wilderness, preaching a very direct and challenging message: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Multitudes responded, but John clearly understood that his purpose was to fulfill Isaiah’s prophecy and “make ready the way of the Lord, make His paths straight” (vs. 2-3).
We can imagine John’s reaction when he saw Jesus arriving. This must have seemed like the moment for him to step aside and let Jesus take center stage. So he seemed surprised when Jesus indicated that He was there to be baptized. John responded, “I have need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?” (v. 14)
Jesus told John that he needed to be thinking about “righteousness.” Their actions that day were to “fulfill all righteousness.” They were to make sure that all the right steps had been completed, that they’d acted in the right way and were doing what was right.
Here Jesus was setting an example. He was focusing on the importance of completing prophecy and fulfilling His mission (as well as fulfilling the mission of John the Baptist). He was demonstrating the importance of righteousness and doing the right thing.
These are the patterns and principles that were important to Jesus, and they should be important to us as well. We, too, must be conscious of and focused on our mission and the purpose of our lives. We, too, must focus on righteousness and completing our ministry—concerned about pleasing God, always doing the right thing in His sight.
PrayerFather, help me to know the things You want me to do. Help me to be faithful to Your call on my life. Use me to impact others with the Gospel. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Extended ReadingMatthew 3