January 7

Matthew 3: 13-15

“Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, ‘I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?’” vss. 13-14

All the gospel writers were aware that Jesus had been baptized by John the Baptizer, but only Matthew includes John’s initial refusal to do so. Mark and Luke had simply written that Jesus submitted to baptism along with the rest of the crowd who had come to the Jordan. Evidently Matthew felt that description to be inadequate–perhaps he thought readers could get the impression that Jesus had also needed to confess his sins. We can understand Matthew’s concern. The New Testament is full of references to the sinlessness of Jesus. If Jesus weren’t sinless, the early Christians reasoned, he couldn’t have been the perfect sacrifice for sin. We can understand such reasoning–it’s crucial for the sacrificial notion of atonement–but at the same time there are some who wonder. What would be so wrong if Jesus was like everyone else? And there are other questions too. How can we even think about walking in the way of Jesus if he was perfect? For many it’s much more comforting to have a Savior who really knows what life is like, who understands feelings of guilt, and who even knows what it’s like to confess. After all, when it comes to relationships, it’s weakness and not strength that draws us together. Perhaps the same is true for Jesus!

Thought for the Day: What would it even be like to live without sin?

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