“When all the people were baptized, it came to pass that Jesus also was baptized; and while He prayed, the heaven was opened. And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said, ‘You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased.’” (Luke 3:21-22 NKJV)
As the people came out to see John, wondering if he was the Messiah, which John denied, they were convicted of their sins and were baptized as a sign of washing away sin and starting a new life. A new convert to Judaism back then was often baptized as a way of saying that he was leaving his old way of life behind. Then came Jesus. As Matthew told the story, John objected to baptizing Jesus. John knew that Jesus was God’s Messiah. He knew that He was sinless and had nothing to repent of, and thus said that Jesus should baptize him. Instead, Jesus was baptized. I believe He did that to identify with sinful humanity. (I could be wrong, though, check back with me in about a hundred years.) The end result, though, for people who understood what they were watching was that God identified Jesus as His Son. This marked the onset of Jesus’s earthly ministry at about the age of thirty.
It’s in this story that we see the truth portrayed that while Jesus was fully God, as God’s Son, He recognized that He was fully human. It’s because He’s fully God that we know that He’s sinless; it’s because He’s fully human that we know that He was tempted and can understand what we’re going through. As we approach the end of the year, many people look back over the last year looking at victories and failures. If you do that, try to understand how God was there with you: celebrating your victories and consoling you in the failures. He cares. As you look forward to this next year, seek His guidance in your planning. He will lead you, and walk with you, in far greater ways than you can imagine for yourself. And, when you fail next year, as you surely will at some point or another, recognize His presence in that dark time. When you succeed, rejoice with Him and give God the glory knowing that He’s been walking with you all the way.
Lord, thank You for walking with me this past year. You’ve walked with me when it seemed the world was falling apart and You gave comfort. We rejoiced together in good times. As I look forward to next year, remind me that You’re still walking with me. Inspire me to bless others because of Your presence.