As we read Matthew 3, we can see the scene. John the Baptist was speaking to those gathered to be baptized. There's John standing in the river. John's voice, the things he is saying are drawing people in from all over to be baptized.
John is not your average Joe. He doesn't look like everyone else. He doesn't eat like everyone else. He speaks with a loud, booming voice. Confident and astute. He is calling out and people are listening.
John was excited and expectant as he called people into the river. Matthew 3:3 says 'John and his message were authorized by Isaiah’s prophecy: Thunder in the desert! Prepare for God’s arrival! Make the road smooth and straight!' John was prepared and ready. He knew what his path was and he was walking in his destiny. Making the way smooth.
Then the Pharisees and the Sadducees started showing up. What's all the hullabaloo? Instead of a serious decision they were following the crowd. They wanted to be baptized because it was the 'in' thing to do. Yikes. John came down hard on those guys. 'It's your life that must change, not your skin.' He challenges their actions and explains the purpose with clear words that are easy to understand.
Matthew 3:11-12 MSG
“I’m baptizing you here in the river, turning your old life in for a kingdom life. The real action comes next: The main character in this drama—compared to him I’m a mere stagehand—will ignite the kingdom life within you, a fire within you, the Holy Spirit within you, changing you from the inside out. He’s going to clean house—make a clean sweep of your lives. He’ll place everything true in its proper place before God; everything false he’ll put out with the trash to be burned.”
Then Jesus showed up. 'Baptize me', He said. John hesitated and Jesus reassured him that this was the moment. The moment he had been waiting for his whole life. 'God is putting it all together, right here. Right now, in this very moment.' As Jesus was baptized, the glory of the Lord fell and God said 'This is My Son. Chosen and marked by my love. The delight of my love.'
Wow! What a moment. The moment that changed history and continues to change our lives today and forevermore.
When Jesus shows up in our life, our lives are changed, changed forever. Jesus changes us from the first moment of acceptance and keeps on changing us until we go to meet Him face to face. He changes us daily, from the inside out. Every single day.
Thank God today for that moment. That moment so long ago and that moment when you first met Jesus. That moment changed everything!