In Matthew chapter 3 we find the record of the beginning of John the Baptist’s ministry. He was a forerunner of Jesus, calling people to repentance of sins. He heralded the imminent coming of the Messiah, addressing the people, Matthew 3:2-3, “….Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.”
John baptized many in the River Jordan, confessing their sins unto repentance. Matthew 3:11, John declared, “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He that comes after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear. He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire.” He was referring to Jesus.
Verses 13 – 17 are the astonishing record of the arrival of Jesus to the Jordan, requesting John to baptize Him. The sinless Son of God requested the astounded John the Baptist to baptize Him in the water. Verse 14, John replies, “But John forbad Him saying, I have need to be baptized of you, and you come to me?”
Verse 15, Jesus replies, “Suffer it to be so now, for thus it becomes us now to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John baptized Jesus. (The word “suffer” used here is an old English word for “permit” or “allow”.)
Water baptism is symbolic of repenting of a past life and the beginning of a new life. Jesus had nothing to repent of.
How amazing! The sinless Son of God humbled Himself and went through the waters of baptism to identify with the sinners who needed to!….yet He himself had no sin to repent of. Jesus was the full embodiment and demonstration of humility in this act. He requested John to perform His baptism in order to “fulfill all righteousness.” Thus we see clearly that humility fulfills the righteousness of God.
Throughout His life Jesus demonstrated humility. Luke 3:42-52 records the event of Jesus’ parents losing Him, aged 12, after the feast of Passover at Jerusalem. His mother, Mary, finally found Him in the temple, questioning and listening to the doctors of the law, who were astounded at His understanding and answers. Mary was exasperated with Him for not leaving with the rest of the family. Jesus replied to Mary, who of all people should have understood, “How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be about my Father’s business?” However, verse 51 tells us that Jesus went down with them, (humbled Himself) came to Nazareth and was subject to them. As Jesus submitted Himself to His parents, verse 52 tells us that He increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man. He spent 30 years in preparation for His public ministry.
So, Jesus demonstrated that humility fulfills the righteousness of God. Humility needs to be the hallmark of our daily walk with the Lord, moment by moment. We are often caught off guard, but we can quickly repent, amend our ways and keep short accounts with God and man. Unrepented stubbornness and pride result in festering spiritual sores in the Body of Christ and a stench in the nostrils of God! But humbling and repentance bring swift forgiveness and the dove of peace returns. Eventually, we can learn from our mistakes if we walk humbly with our God. His Holy Spirit teaches us how to avoid the pit falls of our fleshly nature as we yield to the life of the Indwelling Christ within.
Many wrongly think that being practical is separate from being spiritual. It is not the truth. John 3:16 God demonstrated being practical by giving. He gave His Son. I found my redemption in receiving God’s gift, Jesus Christ. I may have great revelation but if I do not demonstrate it in my love for others, I have nothing, (1 Corinthians 13). If my love for others does not cost me anything, it is not love. Our Heavenly Father demonstrated real love, “For God so loved the world…..THAT HE GAVE…His only begotten Son….” John 3:16. Love requires a cost to the giver and a demonstration.
Matthew 21:20-28 The mother of James and John requested of Jesus that He give her sons seats on His right and left in His kingdom. She was requesting position and power for them. Jesus taught humility again, declaring that these positions were not His to grant, but His Father’s, and His kingdom was not about gaining prestige among men, but serving others. Verses 26-28 “….Whosoever will be great among you, let Him be your minister. Whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant. Even as the Son of man (Jesus) came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”
Many misunderstand the word “ministry”. Jesus explained that ministry is not about power and position, it is serving, laying your life down for others, preferring others before yourself, laying your will down that others may have theirs, in order to bless them and please the Lord.
Authority is function, function is ministry and ministry is serving.
Jesus said, “He that would be great among you, let him be servant of all.” Humility in demonstration.