Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Matthew 3:13-15
There have been 4514 episodes of Sesame Street since it began in 1969. Over that time, there have been countless, actors, Muppets, guests, and skits that have been part of the show’s educational format. But one of the longest running is a song and skit, “One of these things is not like the other, one of these things just doesn’t belong.” In the song, the characters try to figure out which of four objects doesn’t belong. There’s something that doesn’t belong in our Gospel reading for today. There is something that just doesn’t belong.
John knows that one of these things are not like the other, one of these things just doesn’t belong. There along the shore is a long line of liars, a parade of posers, a gaggle of gossips, and masses of messes. Down into the water walked those who had failed to keep God’s Law, the unrighteous, the unclean, and the unholy. Out there in the wilderness were sinners in need of forgiveness. And up walks Jesus. And John knows that Jesus doesn’t belong here. Not in this line, not walking in the parade, not down into the water. This is for sinners, not Jesus.
Jesus is numbered with sinners – here in the Jordan, even though He wasn’t a sinner, he was baptized a sinner’s baptism. And there in Joseph’s grave, he was numbered with sinners, even though he wasn’t a sinner. He died a sinner’s death. But he did it all for those who were unrighteous, unclean, and unholy. His baptism is done to fulfill righteousness. Truly it is done to make righteous all who are baptized into Christ. For His baptism is your baptism. His righteousness is your righteousness. His holiness is yours.
Thanks be to God that Jesus was not like the others. Christ’s baptism means that our baptism overflows with His good gifts. On account of Jesus, what the Father says of His son, He proclaims to us. “This is my Son, whom I love, with Him I am well pleased.” Jesus was numbered with sinners so that one day we would be numbered with Him in glory everlasting.
Prayer – Father in heaven, at the Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River You proclaimed Him Your beloved Son and anointed Him with the Holy Spirit. Make all who are baptized in His name faithful in their calling as Your children and inheritors with Him of everlasting life; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Fraternally in Christ,
President Lee Hagan