October 4 (Daily reading: Matthew 3; Mark 1; Luke 3) Today and tomorrow, we will tie together Jesus’s baptism and His temptations. When John the Baptist was baptizing, some speculated that he might be the expected Messiah. John made it clear from the outset: “After me One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to stoop down and untie the thong of His sandals. I baptized you with water; but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit” (Mk. 1:7-8).
Matthew, Mark, and Luke all gave some details of when Jesus came to John to be baptized. When John protested, saying that Jesus should baptize him, Matthew alone gave Jesus’s reply: “Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness” (Mt. 3:15). Jesus was saying, at least in part, that His baptism was a visible testimony that He accepted God’s plan. His baptism symbolized His death, burial, and resurrection, by which He would be the Savior of the world. (This explains the nature of Satan’s temptations, which we will see tomorrow). If no one else understood, God the Father did, and He responded: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased” (Mt. 3:17). Our water baptism is also a testimony of death, burial, and resurrection; we were “dead to sin,” but now we are “alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 6:11).
John also noted the baptism of Jesus by quoting John the Baptist’s testimony. “I have seen the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven, and He remained upon Him.” This was proof enough for John the Baptist: “I myself have seen, and have testified that this is the Son of God” (Jn. 1:32-34).
– Al Gary