Sunday

12 January 2020

Matthew 3:13-17

And a voice from heaven said, 'This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.' (v. 17)

Psalm: Psalm 29

Background

Obedience to God is always good; whether it is in the smallness of our commitment to worship, prayer and Bible study or in the grandness of Jesus submitting to be baptised by John in the Jordan. For John too, to step up and to allow himself to be used as Jesus’ minister in this baptismal event is an act of obedience. He acknowledges the huge nature of the moment and sees himself as he is – unworthy and in need of his own sanctification. Jesus gives the permission that John needs to fulfil ‘all righteousness’. John’s obedience is dependant on Jesus’ humility. He allows himself to be vulnerable to John’s ministrations and in that enactment of death and rebirth through the waters, Jesus places himself into the hands of sinners and demonstrates the fullness of his own humanity.

What then of our own obedience? What could it mean to be more ordinary in order that more people might hear the good news of God’s saving love in Jesus? As we look at our Covenant promise to God (which we do on an annual basis, reminding ourselves of the faithfulness of God in making and keeping his promises throughout the Scriptures and fulfilling them through the person of his own Son), we consider our own obedience to God. Will we lay self-will aside to promote God’s perfect will in our life and community? Will we surrender ourselves to be humbled or elevated as God chooses for the good of his kingdom?

The participators in this passage are the three persons of the Trinity converging at the River Jordan as a man allows himself to be fully at the disposal of God. John also participates as he does for Jesus what he has done for everyone else who presented themselves for baptism – to minister to the one who comes and allow himself to be part of God’s story of salvation. God’s pleasure is not covert and discreet, but voluble and immediate. Delight in obedience, delight in the opportunity for salvation that this moment has ushered in.

 

To Ponder:

  • Is your own reluctance to put yourself forward for things getting in the way of God’s will being done?
  • Is your own enthusiasm for being available inhibiting others from participating in the will of God being done?
  • How can you minister to others so that they might fulfil the purposes of God in their lives?
  • What skills are you honing in readiness for God to put them to use?

Bible notes author

Catherine Hutton

Catherine is currently Superintendent of the Norwich Circuit where she enjoys preaching and teaching to her lively and opinionated congregation in Sprowston. She is an innovator for the gospel, developing ways of sharing the Good News with the local community through local discipleship and intentional evangelism.

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