“Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. And John tried to prevent Him, saying, ‘I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?’ But Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.’ Then he allowed Him.” Matthew 3:13–15
As parents, there are many things we do that are wholly for the benefit of our children. I can’t recall the number of times I’ve made trips to stores so that one or more of my children could buy something they just had to have. For most of those outings I would have preferred to stay home but the needs and desires of my child won the day and I went. Not all of those trips have been brief runs across town either. Sometimes travel of an hour our more, one way, was required to reach the store with the desired item. I’m sure every parent reading this post can recall their own set of outings solely for the benefit of their children. The truth is, while at the moment we might have wanted to stay home, we’re glad we were able to be with our kids and give them this gift of our love for them.
Nearly everything Jesus did while he was on this earth was for our benefit rather than his. The entire purpose of the incarnation was to fulfill God’s twofold desire for a sinless universe and the salvation of sinners. However, once Jesus entered this world virtually every action he took, either individually or in combination with other actions, served to fulfill a need you and I have and not one he had.
Entrance into heaven requires a sinless life. On our own we’ll never have one so Jesus came and lived a perfect life so that we could present his as a substitute for ours.
Take for example our baptism. When Christians are baptized we do this to show the world that we want our lives to be washed clean of sin, that we want to die to sin, and that we want to have the life of Christ reigning in our lives. But the truth is that the message we send in our baptism is only part of what we want. Yes, part of us does want to clean of sin with Jesus guiding every step we take, but there’s also a part of us that wants to keep doing some of the sinful things we’ve been doing. Our baptismal witness isn’t the perfect witness we wish it was.
So our sinless Savior was baptized as our substitute. His perfect submission takes the place of our half hearted submission, which isn’t really submission at all. His perfect obedience replaces our waywardness. His perfect surrender to the Holy Spirit stands as a substitute for our faulty one.
Far more selflessly than any earthly parent ever loved their children Jesus has loved us.
As parents we like to think that we’d do anything for our children, and when it comes to the big things I think we would; it’s the little things that betray the selfishness in the hearts we have.
Christ has demonstrated his love for us in all the big things and all little things and in so doing has fulfilled the requirement of righteousness for us.
Thank you Jesus for loving us the way you do.