11th January 2019

Change Your Life. God’s Kingdom is Here.

“Jesus then appeared, arriving at the Jordan River from Galilee. He wanted John to baptise him. John objected, ‘I’m the one who needs to be baptised, not you!’ But Jesus insisted. ‘Do it. God’s work, putting things right all these centuries, is coming together right now in this baptism.’ So John did it.”
Matthew 3:13-15 (The Message)

Sometimes I like to read a familiar passage in a different translation; it can bring into focus things I may have missed before. The momentous account of Christ’s baptism told here in Matthew chapter three is a good example. Reading from The Message translation, I was struck by these words of John the Baptist in verse two, “Change your life. God’s kingdom is here.”

Notice the text does not say, “Change your life, your salvation depends on it”. John the Baptist urges repentance from his audience, among them many Pharisees and Sadducees, not because of what they were or weren’t doing but because of something so much bigger that God was doing. Jesus elaborates on this just a few verses later, “It is proper for us to do this (baptise me) to fulfil all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15 NIVUK). Or as Eugene Peterson interprets it in the Message version, “God’s work, putting things right all these centuries, is coming together right now in this baptism.”

The wrong of human sin can never be made right again by anything we human beings do. But God’s age old plan to be born in the flesh so that we could be made righteous through him, was finally being fulfilled. Jesus, who was sinless, did not need to be baptised for his own salvation. But we need to be united with him in his baptism, symbolising his death, so that we can also be united with him in his resurrection, which brings eternal life to all who believe in his name.

Prayer
Father, we thank you, as it says in 1 John 4, that before we even knew you, you loved us and sent your Son to do what we never could, fulfilling all righteousness. In Jesus’ Holy name.
Amen

Study by Peter Mill
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About the Author:
Peter Mill is an Elder and on the National Ministry Team of Grace Communion International in the UK. He is also a Pastoral Council member of the Edinburgh Congregation of the Worldwide Church of God UK, a part of Grace Communion International (Gracecom for short).

Local Congregation:
Gracecom Edinburgh
Gilmerton New Church
Ravenscroft Street
EDINBURGH
EH17 8QJ

Meeting time:
Saturday 11:00am

Local Congregational Contact:
Peter Mill
Email: peter.mill@gracecom.church