Daily D – Matthew 3:15
Matthew 3:15 Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.
Matthew 3:15 NIV
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 3:15 MSG
How would we know you are completely dedicated to a specific, important mission assigned to you?
Here are parts of the process indicating acceptance and intention:
Preparation – Before you start, you examine the necessary details, make a plan, gather resources, and set a time to begin.
Implementation – This is an often neglected aspect of completing assignments. A person has to start. This sounds simplistic. However, many students, employees, and teams often neglect this single best first step. The questions demanding answers are, “What is the single first best step,” and “What’s stopping you?” There are obstacles to clear before the beginning. There will be obstacles anticipated and unanticipated along the way.
Proper preparation should include a premortem. A premortem asks, “If this particular mission fails, what would cause that failure?” While this idea belongs in the preparation phase, it is often overlooked until the first unanticipated obstacles arise. Knowing this allows us to move this paragraph and attach it to the Preparation paragraph right after the word, “begin.”
Completion – Every mission has an objective, a goal, a point of completion. How well we plan, how well we start, how well we manage obstacles, how well we persevere, determine how we finish. The most important matter of the mission is the finish. Either we succeed or we do not.
Take a look at Jesus’ life and ministry. His baptism was Step One in the Implementation Plan of Seeking and Saving the Lost. John the Baptizer said, in effect, “Hold up a minute here.” Jesus said, “Now.”
Notice how even well-meaning friends and relatives often become obstacles to accomplishing God’s purposes. This is most often not because they oppose God, but because they do not understand the plan. Jesus briefly explained the plan. Three words tell us what happened as a result: “Then John consented.”
What happened next as the plan began, as Jesus took his first best step?
(Matthew 4:1-3 NIV)
Luke puts it this way:
(Luke 4:1-2 NIV)
Jesus was “full of the Holy Spirit.” Jesus was “led by the Spirit.” Jesus was tempted by the devil.
Skip down to verse 14.
(Luke 4:14 NIV)
“Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit.”
The long preparation phase was complete. Centuries, millennia, and eternity past had prepared all things for this particular moment in time. The implementation phase hit its first major obstacles which were fully anticipated because they were the first major obstacles in the Garden of Eden.
There were more obstacles along the way. There were religious leaders who misunderstood Jesus and some who outright opposed him and wanted him dead. They ultimately got their way. The plan, thankfully, was undeterred. This was anticipated, planned for, and overcome.
There were problems with the disciples all along the way. Right at the end, there were really big problems with Peter and Judas.
Where Adam and Eve and Peter and Judas failed, Jesus succeeded. Adam and Eve were forced out of the garden. Peter and Judas left the garden in shame. Jesus died to pay the penalty of their sin and ours and was buried in a garden. His resurrection and ascension are loud declarations that God finishes what he starts.
The conclusion to this story is still to come. Then we begin at the beginning of the never-ending story of beauty and wonder, of delight and joy, of renewal and reverie. Do you have any doubts about God’s plan, purpose, or proficiency in bringing all things to the proper conclusion at the proper time?
Do you have any doubts about whether you will be included in the endless goodness to come? You can settle that now with a commitment to Jesus. You can start your own path forward with your own baptism. You can overcome all the obstacles ahead of you. You can know peace, purpose, and joy.
I will lean into the next steps of God’s purpose for me and trust him to prepare me for every obstacle and to pick me up when I fall down.
Our Father, your plan is perfect. You finish what you start. We have your word on it that the best is yet to be. Hallelujah, your best includes me! Amen.
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Jonah 4:2, 3 So he complained to the Lord about it: “Didn’t I say before I left home that you would do this, Lord? That is why I ran away to Tarshish! I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are eager to turn back from destroying people. Just kill me now, Lord! I’d rather be dead than alive if what I predicted will not happen.”
Joel 2:12, 13 That is why the Lord says, “Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish.”
Hosea 14:8, 9 “O Israel, stay away from idols! I am the one who answers your prayers and cares for you. I am like a tree that is always green; all your fruit comes from me.” Let those who are wise understand these things. Let those with discernment listen carefully. The paths of the Lord are true and right, and righteous people live by walking in them. But in those paths sinners stumble and fall.”