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Baptized with the Spirit

Read: Matthew 3:13-17

Thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness. (v. 15)

I am the kind of student who “learns by doing.” I learn best by following someone else’s example. Some of the most effective teachers model a desired skill or attribute, then demonstrate how to become “like them.”

Jesus’ earthly ministry begins with a surprising moment. Jesus, who is without sin, demands to be baptized. When John asks why, Jesus says his baptism is necessary to “to fulfill all righteousness” (v. 15). Jesus came not only to die the sinner’s death we should have died; but to live the perfect life we should have lived. Jesus models the life God expects of us: the life of perfect righteousness. This life begins with baptism, an act signifying full submission to the will of the Father.

But more important than the act of baptism is what immediately follows: heaven opens, the Holy Spirit descends, and God the Father says, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased” (v. 17). Empowered by the Spirit and embraced by the Father, Jesus resists temptation, heals diseases, casts out demons, and raises the dead. Jesus then tells his disciples (in the Gospels, and in every time and place) that what is true of him becomes true of them. Jesus models not only what we should do but who we shall become. Through Jesus, we can be empowered by his Holy Spirit. Most importantly, we can become beloved children of his heavenly Father. —Ben Van Arragon

As you pray, hear the voice of the Father saying, “You are my beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”

About the Author

Ben Van Arragon is a pastor, husband, and father of two teenage daughters. He has served the First Christian Reformed Church of Detroit since 2008. He writes and produces video teaching on the Bible and Reformed creeds and confessions. His writing for Words of Hope includes series on Jeremiah, Exodus, and Work and Rest.