He Showed Us How

John didn’t get it. Who could blame him? As Jesus approached him at the Jordan River, all the Baptizer could muster was a humble inquiry rooted in puzzlement: “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” It was necessary, however, for the One who came from God to consecrate Himself to God, so as John baptized Jesus, the Father thundered His approval and the Spirit descended upon the Son. God was there in His fullness; Jesus’ work on Earth had begun.

We know why Jesus came—to redeem a people separated from God by sin. We know what He taught us what to do—love God with all we have and love others as we love ourselves (the entire law is wrapped up in these). But one thing that escaped me all these years is this: Jesus also modeled for us how to live reborn lives. Consider the ways He lived with and in the Holy Spirit of God. As Isaiah foretold, God put His Spirit in this long-promised Messiah,1 and in fact, the Spirit lived in Him.2 Jesus was taught by the “Spirit of wisdom … understanding … [and] knowledge,”3 also as Isaiah prophesied, and the Spirit led Jesus4 while He went about His Father’s work. Astoundingly, it was by the power of the Spirit that Jesus was raised from the dead.5 All of this commencing from the baptism at the Jordan, when the Spirit of God alit on the Son of God.

Just before His crucifixion, Jesus told His disciples, “It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.”6 The Spirit had been Jesus’ friend—a faithful guide—and now Jesus was promising His presence with all who would believe. What then came of this promise? It should sound very familiar. God put His Spirit in us7 and His Spirit lives in us.8 He is to us, also, the Counselor would come and teach us, or “guide us in all truth.”9 The Spirit leads10 all who are children of God through Christ. “And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.”11 All this commencing from the faith into which we are baptized—when the Spirit seals us in the Son, who did the will of the Father.12

How do we love God with all our might, not only in our heart, but also in our words and our actions? How do we love our neighbors in what we think, say and do? Not in our own power, will or wisdom, but by living this life the way Jesus did—going where the Spirit leads us and saying what He tells us to say, not just in the epic, pivotal points in our life, but even more so in every day encounters with people. Jesus showed us how.

Father, I confess that my natural inclination is to place my priorities above yours. Send your Spirit today to lead me, and grace me to recognize His voice and to follow Him, moment by moment. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Christ in me is salvation.

Read today’s Scripture in Matthew 3:13-17.

1 Isaiah 42:1
2 John 3:34
3 Isaiah 11:2
4 Luke 4:1
5 Romans 8:11
6 John 16:7
7 Ezekiel 36:27
8 1 Corinthians 3:16
9 John 16:13
10 Romans 8:14
11 Romans 8:11
12 Ephesians 1:13

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