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Fulfilling All Righteousness

During discussions with first century spiritual leaders, Jesus spoke about the quality of being morally right and justifiable in God’s sight. The author of the Gospel geared toward a Jewish audience, a member of the Tribe of Levi, focuses on fulfilling and seeking God’s righteousness. Instead of being distracted by the here and now, Matthew learned that by making God your first priority in life, everything else falls into place.

But John [f]protested strenuously, having in mind to prevent Him, saying, It is I who have need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me? 15 But Jesus replied to him, [g]Permit it just now; for this is the fitting way for [both of] us to fulfill all righteousness [that is, to [h]perform completely whatever is right]. Then he permitted Him, Matthew 3:14-15.

In one of the episodes of Castle, Rick played by Nathan Fillion, is holding a sacred artifact that possesses the ability to travel back in time. In the middle of a shootout, Rick is hurled into a past where he and Kate Beckett, played by Stana Katic have never met. Rick’s past is completely rewritten with his career as an author turning out to be a failure. If John never baptized Jesus, the world as we know it would have been cast into darkness forever.

But seek ([z]aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness ([aa]His way of doing and being right), and then all these things [ab]taken together will be given you besides. 34 So do not worry or be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will have worries and anxieties of its own. Sufficient for each day is its own trouble, Matthew 6:33-34.

After convincing John to fulfill all righteousness by baptizing Him, Jesus continues this theme in the middle of the Sermon on the Mount. Instead of worrying about what’s going to happen tomorrow, today should be invested in seeking first God’s kingdom and righteousness. When your priorities shift from the temporary toward eternity, fulfilling all righteousness becomes a possibility. May you know this truth so that God’s truth will set you free from anxiety and worry, John 8:32.

by Jay Mankus

The Baptism That Almost Never Happened

To an average person, the mind of God is hard to fathom. Yet even one of Jesus’ disciples; one of three members of his inner circle tried to cancel Jesus’ plan to save the world from sin, Matthew 16:20-23. Three years earlier, the spiritual leader known as John the Baptist attempted to pull off a similar stunt. In the passage below, John tries to talk Jesus out of being baptized by him. John felt unworthy to perform Jesus’ baptism.

Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John to be baptized by him. 14 But John [f]protested strenuously, having in mind to prevent Him, saying, It is I who have need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me? – Matthew 3:13-14

Human beings have a hard time seeing the finger of God moving, touching, and working behind the scenes. Perhaps half the problem is that human nature makes most people focus on the here and now so that God’s greater good is never seen. Transition is one of those unpleasant experiences that seems unnecessary at the time it occurs, but it opens the door for future events to occur in your life. This is something that John and Peter both failed to recognize.

But Jesus replied to him, [g]Permit it just now; for this is the fitting way for [both of] us to fulfill all righteousness [that is, to [h]perform completely whatever is right]. Then he permitted Him. 16 And when Jesus was baptized, He went up at once out of the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he [John] saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on Him, Matthew 3:15-16.

Despite being a discerning prophet, John needed to be persuaded to baptize Jesus. Based upon the discussion in the passage above, John was finally sold on fulfilling all righteousness. Modern day Christians don’t have the luxury of Jesus talking sense into us. Yet we do have an invisible counselor to usher in God’s will for our lives, John 16:13. The next time the Devil, Ephesians 2:2, seeks to block you from doing what God desires, keep in step with the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:26, so that God’s will prevails.

by Jay Mankus

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