Today’s Scrip-Bit 10 November 2012 Matthew 3:17

Matthew 3:17.         And lo a voice from heaven saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
Ah Friends, it’s another day in the heartache of Hurricane Sandy and associates. It seems the heartless, and thus the evil spirit of capitalism is showing up now in New York and New Jersey, where some people are taking further advantage of the already terribly disadvantaged by selling hard to get gasoline for up to fifty dollars a gallon, while it’s selling in the gas stations for under five dollars. And no doubt some of the die hard advocates of capitalism will consider that proper behaviour; make a buck or several bucks wherever you can, regardless of the hardship your customers are suffering. Thankfully, that’s not the way of Jesus or His genuine followers. I’m sure though, that some of those gouging their fellow man will nonetheless consider themselves Christians, because they claim to believe in Jesus, when in fact they are simply crooks. But as we constantly read in the Good Book, the wicked will get their comeuppance eventually. Enough talk about crooks though, and man’s inhumanity to man. Let’s talk instead about Jesus, who advocates Peace and LOVE, Good Health and Happiness for all mankind to share. And all God’s people shouted a joyful: ‘Glory Hallelujah! Praise the name of Jesus, the Lamb that was slain for us!’ Yes Friends, that’s exactly whom we’re referring to. And what does our Bit say about Him? ‘And lo a voice from heaven saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’ This particular incident occurred when Jesus came to the Jordan River to be baptized by John the Baptist. John at first refused, claiming that Jesus should be the one baptizing him. (Matt.3:14) However, Jesus persuaded John, saying: ‘Suffer (allow) it to be so now: for thus it becometh us (is fitting for us) to fulfill all righteousness. Then he suffered (allowed) him.’ (Matt.3:15) Jesus knew that he had to be baptized to fulfill the prophecies that had been spoken of Him by the prophets like Isaiah. Now here are some thoughts on that scripture from the scholars. ‘Jesus sought this outward identification with John’s ministry to fulfill all righteousness. By identifying Himself with those He came to redeem, Jesus inaugurated His public ministry as the Messiah. In regard to the Jewish religious observances, such as synagogue worship, attendance at feasts, and payment of the temple tax, Jesus always met the duties of a faithful Jew.’ The next verse then opened up a whole new chapter in the annals of man’s history here on earth. ‘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.’ (Matt.3:16) Yes my fellow believers, the heavens were opened and numerous prophecies were fulfilled on that most momentous occasion! And not only that, but the Father also acknowledged to all and sundry, His complete trust in, and sincere appreciation for Jesus, through our Bit that comes after. And this is what the scholars have to say, re that scripture. ‘In the process of His baptism, Jesus went up…out of the water, the prepositions suggesting that He was completely in the water and came up out from it, again indicating immersion. The descending of the Spirit of God fulfilled the predicted sign to John in order to indicate the true Messiah (cf.John 1;33, Is.11:2). The dove was a symbol of innocence and purity (cf. Matt.10:16) and served as an ideal symbolic representation of the Holy Spirit. The voice from heaven is that of the Father, giving His verbal approval to the ministry of His beloved Son. There can be no doubt that all three persons of the Trinity are actively involved here as distinct persons of the Godhead. The Father speaks, the Spirit descends, and the Son is baptized.’ Oh Friends, I couldn’t have said it any better myself. (smile) Now let’s check out a couple of scriptures that provoked all that action. We’ll begin with Isaiah, who had the most to say about Jesus. In chapter 11, he boldly declares: ‘And there shall come forth a rod (shoot) out of the stem (stock or trunk) of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow (bear fruit) out of his roots. And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.’ (Is.11:1-2) And on that auspicious day my brethren, in the muddy Jordan, the Spirit of God, did rest on Jesus! For further confirmation of those facts, let’s turn to the Gospel of John, where he talks about John the Baptist thus: ‘The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me (ranks higher than me): for he was before me. And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water. And John bare record (witness), saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode (remained) upon him. And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw, and bare record (testified) that this is the Son of God.’ Wow! What powerful scripture my people! And we’ll end with some wise words of the scholars. ‘The baptism of Jesus serves as proof of His deity to John. The Holy Spirit came on Jesus and remained to assist him in His baptismal work. Before Jesus’ baptism, John knew Him only as a good cousin, not as the Lamb of God. Not until he saw the Holy Spirit descending on Jesus did John realize that He was the Son of God.’ That’s enough for us to ponder on today my people. So please read and inwardly digest all that stuff which will surely help us to understand some of the intricacies of the Good Book concerning our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, through whose selfless sacrifice, our salvation and life eternal have been guaranteed. Much LOVE!…to know, know, know Him…is to LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Him…


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