We cannot pick and choose how we will serve God or what we should believe. The words of God are a lifelong challenge for us to read and meditate upon, their meaning becoming gradually more clear. They are rather like a jigsaw that falls into place. However, the main pieces fall fairly quickly into position – as long as we have approached them with an open mind.
Taken together the four gospels fill out the picture, as God wanted us to see it, of the life and teaching of His son Jesus. John the Baptist was sent to prepare the way, challenging the people to repent, be baptised and show their repentance by the way they lived: but to then be aware that “there is one coming after me (who) is mightier than I” (Matthew 3:11).
Jesus came “from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him” (verse 13). John objected, “But Jesus answered him, ‘Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfil all righteousness’” (verse 15). We notice, Jesus did not say, ‘it is fitting for me’ to do so – he set the example, he was human: as we are told in Hebrews, “he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God” (2:17; see also 4:15,16).
Baptism means immersion under water, that is why John used the Jordan, and after he baptised Jesus, “he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased’” (verses 16,17). In John 3:34 Jesus was given “the Spirit without measure” so he could do all things, including reading the minds of his hearers!
Let us “fulfil all righteousness” by being baptised as a start to becoming instruments that God can use in His service, especially as the time is getting near when, as John had preached (verse 12), God will “gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire”. How wonderful when this world becomes God’s barn. Let us all live now so that we will, by His grace, be there.