January 7, 2020
Isaiah 42:1 - Behold My Servant, whom I uphold, My Chosen, in whom My soul delights; I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the nations.
Last Sunday we began the season of Epiphany. During this time we celebrate Jesus' Baptism. We remember the day He went down to the Jordan River and was baptized by His cousin John. We also remember our own baptisms on this day.
There is something strange about Jesus' Baptism, though. We all know why we were baptized: we were sinners and enemies of God. But when we were baptized, we became God's own children, clean and holy. This happened because of God's own promise to everyone who believes in His Son Jesus.
But why was Jesus baptized? He wasn't a sinner; He never did a wrong thing in His life. He wasn't an enemy of God. He was God's own Son. So why was He baptized?
John wanted to know the reason, too. He felt funny having to baptize Someone so much greater than he was himself. But Jesus told him, "Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness" (Matthew 3:15b).
There are probably a lot of reasons why Jesus was baptized. But one of them must have had to do with His work. When Jesus was baptized, He began His public ministry to the world. This is the work Isaiah alludes to in our Old Testament reading today.
What kind of a servant was Jesus? Isaiah describes Him very well. He starts by saying, "Behold My Servant, whom I uphold." That means that Jesus depended on God all the way. He did not try to do things in His own power or strength, according to His human nature. He trusted in God for everything He needed.
God also calls Jesus "My chosen, in whom My soul delights." This means that God is happy with Jesus. When Jesus was baptized, God spoke from heaven and said, "You are My beloved Son; with You I am well pleased" (Mark 1:11b). These words were true then, and they are still true today.
Jesus is the Servant of the Lord. He is the One who has done all of these things for us: He fulfilled God's Law perfectly; He went to the cross and died for our sins, and He rose from the dead, three days later, to defeat sin, death, and the devil on our behalf. He did these things because He loves us.
Now He calls us to follow Him in the same work for others. At our Baptism, that is one of the gifts we received: the opportunity to share in the service of God's people.
This is a blessed gift God gives to us. Let us embrace it wholeheartedly and live unto Him throughout 2020.
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, You have called us to Yourself through the life, death, and resurrection of Your Son Jesus. May we cling to Him in faith, loving You forevermore. Amen.
Used by permission; all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).