Jesus stands in the shallows of the Jordan River, his feet in the mud. Wading toward John the Baptist, he is surrounded by the confused, the wandering, the lost, the sad, the broken, the fearful. People like us. They come, confessing their sin and hoping it is still possible to change their lives and know the fullness of God filling them.
Jesus does not come to John to repent or confess sin, but to take his place in the drama of God’s saving love. His baptism is an act of commitment to God’s holy purpose. Jesus’ place is to stand there, among and with sinners who lose their way and forget who they are. He comes into the world to fulfill God’s promise of one who would be Emmanuel, “God with us” (Matt. 1:23). And here he is, already at his baptism—with us. He fulfills all righteousness by revealing that the Holy One is with us “always, to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:20), no matter our struggles or stage of life.
The divine voice tells us what we need to know: “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” The Beloved One comes to stand with us, that all the love in him may flow into our hearts, filling us with the fullness of God’s love. Our prayer today is simple: “Stand by me, Lord Jesus. Stand by me.”
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