Faith of Jesus Daily Devotional - Day 6
Previous Context: devotion:Matthew:2:19-23
What is God doing?
- One thing/the same thing promised from the start to fulfill: Seed (He) crushing serpent, Serpent striking (His) seed's heel, Provide Him as a covering for man's sins.
- Preparing way for Jesus (He)
- Fulfilling since before His birth prophecy after prophecy as already seen.
- Providing a major prophet along the lines of a Elijah ahead of Jesus' official ministry pointing to this time as the fulfillment (at hand) of Messianic Prophecy.
- Calling what remains of the nation to an initial baptism of repentance.
What is man doing?
- Many things all of which have corruption: Judging by what was right in their own eyes (being gods in their own eyes), fabricating their own covering else diminishing/ignoring the true extent of their sin.
- Those that went to repent and be baptized, how many repented to the level and manner divinely intended? How many went in a more nationalistic sorrow than a personal submission to God's will? How much did their repentance turn them toward doing what was right? How well did they actually accept the "One for whom" John "was not worthy to bear"?
- The religious elite from both major parties watching on were accused of not having fruits meet for repentance. They had already been would remain a constant menace to both Jesus and John.
I imagine multitudes of people went out to do this, that is why the religious establishment (differing factions suddenly united in cause) not only were there to observe but to publicly challenge the authority of John to perform this. John is described by Jesus soon after John's death as the greatest prophet born of woman, which suggests John to be very well known and very effective in his time, not just long after. The question is however what did these multitudes of people go out to do and how much of their individual effort was to what extent corrupted?
That this many people were effected by John is itself the working of God. What was the draw? Either John has been establish beforehand as a prophet worthy of listening to or else the people's heart as a mass was pressed so suddenly towards this particular call. The curiosity I find of interest is that though God would move the people towards this, HE left their own will intact enough that they still found ample ability to corrupt the movement just the same.
It is said that John was greatly loved of the people, such wide respect got in the way of the Pharisees doing to Jesus as they really wished frequently. Yet no one stood for John when he was arrested, no one called the Pharisees out for not supporting his judgments against the kings adulterous marriage to the kings brother's wife, no one cried for the kings head when the king beheaded him. Such is the way of the people towards God's prophets, they will gladly memorialize them after the fact, but flee from them at the presence of any foreseeable trouble.
The need for repentance and baptism are made abundantly clear. The baptism to come though is a baptism of the Holy Ghost not a baptism like any of the rest of the world has seen. This new baptism can only be made available in the completed death/resurrection/ascension of the Promised One.
What does this passage tell us about the about the commands and faith of Jesus that saints are to keep/guard?
There are the things that we do knowing that they are things that God is pressing us to do. We can obediently follow them out to where ever HIS good intention lead us and we can obey to do them. That still does not mean that these things we have done in obedience we have done without corruption. There is the half heart. There is the ulterior motive. There is the still doing the thing by our own power and resource. There is the pride having done so that swells us up and makes us to fall soon after. Keeping and guarding and faithfulness are a matter of the heart; and the heart is deceptive above all else. To keep the commandments and faith of Jesus is to keep hold on the heart, to keep it focused on the truest of matters and the most excellent of all persons; that being the true person of Jesus. For that it must be washed everyday afresh by the Spirit and sealed in a baptism similar to the baptism undergone by our precious savior Himself.
Next: devotion:Matthew:3:13-16 The Baptism of Jesus