Matthew 3: 1-3 (NIV)
In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: “A voice of one crying in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’
Matthew 3:11 (NIV)
“I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
At Jesus’ request, John baptized Jesus.
Matthew 3:16 – 17 (The Message)
The moment Jesus came up out of the baptismal waters, the skies opened up and he saw God’s Spirit – it looked like a dove – descending and landing on him. And along with the Spirit, a voice: “This is my Son, chosen and marked by my love, delight of my life.”
Thinking back on Rachel’s sermon on Sunday, I remember her describing different types of shoes. And here in the 11th verse we find John the Baptist talking about Jesus’ shoes – sandals. John is saying he is unworthy to untie the laces of Jesus’ sandals. Clearly John recognized Jesus as the Promised One, the King of this kingdom of heaven John was preaching about. And when John baptizes Jesus, the voice of God the Father announces out loud that Jesus is his chosen Son, along with his love for and delight in him.
This choosing, love for, and delight in Jesus his Son is foundational, for immediately after his baptism the Holy Spirit leads him into the wilderness where he is tempted by the devil.
So it is with us. Whatever difficult, tempting, identity-shaking experiences you find yourself in now, are you grounded in the Father’s great love and delight for you? Are you convinced of his having chosen you? Have you experienced the Holy Spirit’s descending upon you whereby you are aware of your adoption by God as his daughter or son? Surely, we need to know to whom we belong in order to confidently walk as Jesus walked in this being-reconciled world.
In a quiet and uninterrupted place, simply ask your heavenly Father to teach you how he sees you, how he considers you. Ask him to validate you and establish you in his love.
Heavenly Father teach me to walk in your delight over me. May your love for me be the joy of my life. Center me and steady me with your voice that affirms me as your child. Teach me the loving lifestyle of your Son, Jesus, as I endeavor to walk in his shoes.