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Jesus Shows Us How To Love

When everyone was being baptized, Jesus also was baptized. While he was praying, heaven was opened. Luke 3:21

Jesus loves people. Jesus ministry is a ministry of love. How Jesus loved people and how he showed God's love shows us how he will love through us.

The way that God chose to bring salvation to us is to be born among us, live with us, love us, and finally die and be raised from the dead here, where we live, on earth. Jesus lived, loved, and died among people.

God was working through John, who was preaching repentance and leading the people in a baptism of repentance. The people were gathering by the river to hear John preach and they were repenting and being baptized by John, as an act of sincerity in their repentance.

Jesus went down to the river and walked up to John and presented himself for baptism. But Jesus did not need to repent. Jesus wanted to be where the people were and where God was moving among the people. Jesus wanted to be with the people or identify with what the people were doing who were following God.

"When everyone... Jesus also." Jesus joined in with what the people were doing, or rather with what God was doing with the people. Jesus was a joiner.

Jesus prayed in the midst of his baptism. Jesus prayed as we pray. Jesus opened communication with the Father. The next thing that happens is that heaven was opened. Heaven opens when Jesus prays.

The message from heaven is, "I hear you", and when God hears, God answers. What if we prayed all our prayers as if God heard them and would answer them? What if our praying was mainly just an opening of the communication window, to focus on God with adoration?

Do you think that in the midst of his walking here and being with people, that Jesus reminded God of his prayer requests and went through his list of reminders? Or do you think that when Jesus prayed that he just focused the eyes of his heart on his favorite person, his father?

There is nothing wrong with prayer requests, or reminding God, with "you said", prayers reminding God of promises you have received and believed.

There is also a being in prayer, opening our communication line to God and focusing and listening and seeing.

The first thing Jesus did in his ministry was to go down into the waters of repentance baptism, identifying with repenting sinners. The last thing Jesus did before he died was to be placed on a cross, between two thieves. Jesus' work on the cross, the atonement, could also be called, "at-one-ment" (1). He is one with mankind in baptism and at one with God. Jesus, from his baptism, to the cross, is identifying, going low, becoming one with and redeeming mankind.

At his baptism, Jesus declares his mission to save sinners by standing with us(2). Jesus takes the risk of being misunderstood, by associating with sinners(2). Matt Woodley writes,

"At his baptism Jesus made a clear statement of his intention and mission: he wanted to identify with us. Jesus' ministry is not just to sinners; it is with sinners. His baptism is a body-language statement that says, "I am with you. I am not against you." This becomes clearer when Jesus later refers to his death on the cross as "my baptism" (Mark 10:38-9, Luke 12:50). Jesus' river baptism prefigures his cross baptism: both were bodily expressions of his desire to be with us in order to save us.

So in his first public act, Jesus aligns himself with sinners and rebels. Over and over again... Jesus plunges into the sinful mess of humanity. And following in the footsteps of Jesus, the church can do no less."

Jesus showed us how to love humanity through identification. Jesus humbled himself to be with people who don't get God. If you want to know how to live, how to be a Christian: look at Jesus. So often, we study the epistles, to try to glean how to live the Christian life, how to be the Church; but why not go back to the original blueprint? Jesus shows me how to live and how to love, before God and with people.

______________________________

1. Matthew: The First Christbook, Fredrick Dale Bruner, p. 102
2. The Gospel of Matthew: God with Us, Matt Woodley, p. 45

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