All too often people who have newly professed a saving faith in Christ Jesus find themselves floundering about concerning the will of God for their lives. After they have come up from the water of baptism, they possess no direction for proceeding in spiritual development, witness, and service.
One of the New Testament models which help us gain some insight into our reasonable service is the baptism of Jesus as recorded in Matthew 3:13-17. There we find Jesus’ response to John the Baptist’s reluctance to baptize him due to the fact John considered Jesus to have no need for a baptism of repentance, seeing that He had lived a sinless life. However, Jesus assure John ” it is proper for us to fulfill all righteousness”.
Righteousness in this context refers not simply to living right or good deeds, but, to conforming to God’s standard, that is, being bent to do God’s will. Fulfilling righteousness and doing God’s will involved Jesus’ identification with all of sinful and undeserving humanity. His righteousness fulfills the prophetic call of Isaiah 53, to be “numbered with transgressors”.
After Jesus submits to this baptism and comes up from the water, we see the Holy Spirit descending upon Him like a dove. This figure exemplifies the extra divine empowerment to finish the work and complete the plan of the Father. It points to the dawning of a new Messianic Kingdom Age in which humanity is gifted with redemption and rebirthed in the image and power of God to do His will.
Therefore, it is incumbent upon believers after they have come up from the water to seek the will of God for their life and service. Discovering the direction of Christian living and service entails, first, an identification with Jesus. We, like John, must know who Jesus is, and have a ready willingness to be a witness to him. Certainly, we cannot do all that Jesus did in the work of salvation, nevertheless, we can be like him in this present world. Secondly, we must identify with sinful and undeserving humanity. Unsaved people need someone to represent Jesus to them. Remember you also, but for God’s grace, ” once was lost, was blind, but now, you see”. And finally, we need empowerment of the Holy Spirit. The life we are called to lead is not an easy life; it is a supernatural life. If Jesus needed empowerment, surely, after you come up from the water, you will need the Holy Spirit to do the will of God.
L. Jerome Jones