Anglican Morning Devotion for 7 January 2022 Anno Domini
a ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. 14But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? 15And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. 16And 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: 17And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:13-17; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
“This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.” (2 Corinthians 13:1) Paul is not stating a new legal, but one as old as the law of Moses. (see Deut 17:6) In today’s lectionary text, we discover that legal principle satisfied at the very highest level – the two or three Divine Witnesses. Our Lord Jesus Christ did not suspend the law of Moses or of His Father in Redeeming us. In fact, He saved us by every jot and tittle of the law. He saved us under the terms of the law by satisfying the demand of the law for the death of every sinner by serving as our surrogate without the gates of Jerusalem on the cross at Calvary. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God . . . . For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 3:23 & 6:23)
In satisfaction of that law of Moses, our Lord was circumcised on the eighth day, attended to His duties of worship at the Temple and the Feast of Passover, and obeyed every minute demand of the Law. He died in satisfaction of that Law that we should die and not live. He died in our place.
Now comes the Lord Jesus Christ to the Jordan Banks to John to satisfy the requirement of baptism. He being sinless had no need of baptism, but He was baptized in order to satisfy every need expected of the sinner. He satisfied not only every legal requirement, but every law of righteousness as well.
Jesus was baptized there in the Jordan Waters by John the Baptist – a man who baptized the Lord with a humble reluctance knowing himself unworthy of such an act.
Something of profound importance occurred at the moment of our Lord’s baptism. “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: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
The standard of credibility to satisfy demands of proof at the bar of Moses was the testimony of two or three witnesses. We have a far greater panel of witnesses at the baptism of Christ as to His Divinity and Sonship.
We have the seal and testimony of the Holy Ghost descending upon Christ at the moment of His baptism. And we have the very Voice of the Father at the same moment declaring the Lord Jesus Christ to be His Beloved Son and His great satisfaction in Him. These are two immutable Witnesses. And we have the third Divine Witness in the life and passion of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.
This is the only occasion of which I am aware that the Holy Trinity has been both physically and audibly present on earth on the same occasion – the physical descent of the Holy Ghost, the Voice of God Almighty, and the presence of the Son to bear witness of the unassailable truth of the Son’s Divinity and Sonship.
The Voice of God was heard on another occasion on the Mount of Transfiguration: “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.” (Matthew 17:5) God the Father bore witness of His Son both at the beginning of His ministry and during the waning days thereof. “Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. 28 Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.” (John 12:27-28) The men who stood by during this last proclamation from Heaven heard the Voice clearly, but some considered it to be thunder. The same is happening today when God speaks – some understand and many either deny it, or do not understand.
The Holy Spirit has been dispatched to us today to testify and witness of the Lord Jesus Christ. Some hear and believe, others simply disregard because they have not the truth of God’s Word in their hearts. Do you?