Matthew 3:13-17 — Jesus Christ: The Example for Us of Being In Submission to the Mission

Posted: September 4, 2015 in Gospel of Matthew

Matthew 3:13-17 — Many ask the question, why did Jesus need to be baptized? If Jesus is who He says He is then why did He submit to baptism? If Jesus was the perfect, sinless Son of God, why? Even John wasn’t believing that Jesus needed to be baptized. He said that Jesus needed to baptize him instead of the other way around. There are several reasons that Jesus submitted himself to this ritual. Today, let’s talk about the fact that Jesus was acting in submission to the mission!

It shows us the great humility of Jesus Christ. Jesus, though perfect, though co-equal with the Father and the Holy Spirit, shows us that while on earth He was functioning in submission to the Father. No, Jesus did not need baptism, but He did it to show us that He was in humble service to His Father in heaven. His baptism demonstrates his willingness to “fulfill all righteousness.” It reminds me that Jesus set aside His glory to come to earth as a man. He was willingly submitted to his earthly father and mother even though He is God. He was willingly submitted to those that were His elders in Jewish society when He was growing up even though He was God in the flesh. He was willing to learn a trade and earn a living as the son of a tradesman even though He was God. Here, even though He had no need of baptism, we see that He humbles himself to identify with us just as all of His human life was so that He could identify with us. His humility in this act is amazing.

It reminds us as Christians that we should be humble servants of the Lord in whatever capacity He places us. Our egos often tell us that we are better than what tasks that we are given in the body of Christ. We must think of Jesus when we think of such things. We must be willing to do whatever it takes in whatever task we are given to reach the world for Jesus Christ. It is the mission that matters. Whatever job we are assigned, we must do it with vigor and passion because we are doing it in the body of Christ. Jesus, Son of God, set aside His glory to come to earth to live as a lowly human being so that we could be saved from our sins through His sacrificial life. Talk about taking one for the team! We should act in no less humility as Christ followers. If we are assigned a behind the scenes job like cleaning up the church (including the toilets), we should do it in great humility because (1) we get to serve the Lord who saved us and (2) every job within the body is important. Cleaning the church may be that minute difference between someone writing off the church as not being done with excellence and never returning to church and someone seeing that this church loves the Lord so much that they do everything, everything, right down to the smallest detail that they come back and come back and come back —- eventually accepting Christ as their personal Savior. By no means am I saying that a clean toilet saves someone but you get the drift. When we serve the Lord, we should do it with humility and with excellence because we are doing it for the Lord. Regardless of the task, we should willingly accept our assignment because it is what God has in store for us at this moment in our walk with Him.

Many of us struggle with pride at church. We think we should be in positions that are visible. We want to be seen serving and sacrificing for the Lord. We think, oh if they only recognized my talents, I should be on stage! I should be in lights because I am a good speaker! I should be in a visible position because I am that good! Many of us may have important positions in the secular world and get offended by being assigned what we consider a menial task in the church world. We get burn out on church service because we are not in a position of power. The church staff doesn’t recognize my astounding gifts and talents. Clean up the sanctuary after church? Serve people in the cafe before church? Work in the background at a public event where no one can see me working for the Lord? Clean the toilets? All of these things are beneath me. Geez these people don’t recognize who I am? I will just leave this church and go to another church where they appreciate my talents and they will place me in a position that I deserve!!! Wow, how many times have you heard that one before? Why can’t we just have the same humility of Jesus Christ?

He is our example of a humble servant! Of course, He did not need baptism. But, He was on earth functioning as the Son of the Father. He had proven His humility throughout His life so far. He was and is God after all. But yet He submitted Himself to the limitations of being human flesh. He chose to submit to John here even though He and John both knew that Jesus was far greater than John. He completes His humility here. My pastor and his wife have a motto for their family, “whatever it takes…” It is their driving force to serve Christ and point others to Him. Whatever it takes means that they will accept whatever task the Lord assigns them so that others me find Christ. We should have this same attitude when it comes to serving the Lord. We have Jesus as a model. We should see any task assigned to us at church as an opportunity to serve the Lord. We should be so humble that no job in the body of Christ is beneath us. God has a reason for us being in the positions that we are in at church at this point in time. He has something for us to learn. He has something to teach us. He is maturing us. Let us be humble enough to recognize that God has us right where He wants us right now, at this moment in time, serving under, with, and over these people, because this is part of the process for what God is teaching us. It is also preparation for what’s next. Let us be humble enough to do whatever it takes in whatever job we are assigned because it’s part of the plan. We must do whatever it takes because our humble service may be the difference between someone coming to Christ or writing us off as a people who do things halfway and with no heart. Jesus did whatever it took so that we might have eternal life! Why can’t we be a humble servant like He was?

Father, help us to live out the example that Jesus laid before us in His complete and humble service to His Father in heaven even though He is co-equal to the Father. He humbly chose to submit to the Father. He humbly chose to set aside His glory to do whatever it took to give us the way to reconcile ourselves to a perfect God. May we have that humility in our service to You our Father! Amen.

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