Note: Devotion taken from last Sunday's sermon on Matthew 3:13-17 (audio not yet uploaded).
Matthew 3:16 And Jesus when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:
17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
Here are some spiritual applications we might draw from the baptism of Christ Matthew 3:13-17:
First, we should reflect on John’s protest that he was unworthy to baptize the Lord (Matt 3:14).
John was given a task by the Lord for which he did not believe that he was adequate. John, a sinner, was commanded to baptize the sinless one.
One thinks of the apostle Paul who had persecuted the church of God and who was then appointed to be an apostle. In 2 Corinthians 2:16 Paul wrote, “And who is sufficient for these things?”
We are not worthy to bear his shoes! He still gives unholy men, holy tasks. John was not fit to baptize Christ but God himself demanded it “to fulfill all righteousness” (Matt 3:15).
What is your protest and how is the Lord overcoming it?
Second, we are reminded that our lives are hid in the sinless life of Christ.
Christ did not need to confess sin, for he had none. He did not need to repent of sin, for he had none. Yet, he submitted himself to baptism.
John Calvin said that Christ was baptized to assure believers “that they are ingrafted into his body,” buried with him in baptism that we may walk with him in newness of life (see Rom 6:3-4).
Calvin adds: “The general reason why Christ received baptism was, that he might render full obedience to the Father; and the special reason was that he might consecrate baptism in his own body, that we might have it in common with him.”
Third, we are reminded of the example of Christ.
As Christ was submitted to baptism by John, so we, if we are his followers, should be submitted to baptism (see Matt 28:19-20).
Matthew Poole notes that we learn from Christ’s example that no man is to have contempt for baptism or to neglect it.
Fourth, we are reminded of the Trinity as revealed truth.
We find several places in the Scripture where the one true God is plainly spoken of as Father, Son (or Word), and Spirit:
Matthew 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
2 Corinthians 13:14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.
1 John 5: 7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.
But here in the baptism of the Lord Jesus we see the triune God displayed in narrative:
The Father looks on from heaven with pleasure and speaks.
The Spirit descends, as a dove, and rests on Christ.
The incarnate Son of God is there in the water, in obedience to the Father, fulfilling all righteousness.
So, we can say with the ancient hymn, “Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.”