Our scripture this week is Matthew 3:13-17.
Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented. 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. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
Jesus came as a human not to seek anyone’s approval, but to do what God had called Him to do. We on the other hand like to be liked and will often say or do things merely to be accepted. In order to follow Jesus, we need to give up our concern about what the world thinks of us and listen more closely to God’s desire for our lives.
When Jesus came to John to be baptized, it wasn’t because He needed people’s approval or forgiveness for sin. He says “it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness” (verse 15). This was His only concern, to do what God had asked of Him. We hear in this reading that God was pleased with Him.
How can we please God? Jesus gave us the three points to remember in all His lessons – love God, love neighbor, make disciples. We must be in touch with God to hear His call on our lives and receive His loving approval when we do His will. If we aren’t in touch with God we miss both of these essentials.
People often say “I wish I could hear God as clearly as Jesus did”. My first question is “Are you listening closely?”. Listening to God is the most important thing we do. We can’t ask God to speak to us if we continue to blunder through our lives doing only what we want. I’ve also heard it said “If God really wanted me to do something, He’d grab my attention”. God isn’t a “grabber”, He reaches out in love to us and waits for us to take His hand. Spend time listening today and hear God’s invitation.
Patient God, we know You are there waiting for us. Your grace is given long before we ever respond. Help us to listen and be aware of the needs in Your world that we are called to meet. Amen.