"To Fulfill All Righteousness"
"Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad Him, saying, I have need to be baptized of Thee, and comest Thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness" (Matthew 3:13-15).
"To fulfill all righteousness" required the Lord Jesus Christ to participate in a baptism for sinners. This actually involved the pattern for much of His earthly lifetime. He was born of a virgin who appeared to became pregnant out of wedlock. Upon His birth, His parents laid Him in a feeding trough for animals rather than the soft pillows of a palace. He lived more than 90% of His life in such obscurity that His own brethren did not recognize Him for who He was. He continually chastened the religious leaders of His day rather than compromising to gain their approval. He seemed to allow His disciples to break the Sabbath, He fellowshipped with forbidden Samaritans, He chose fisherman and other common laborers rather than eloquent communicators as His representatives. The list could go on, but finally, He submitted to a cross ordained by His Father for humanity's redemption. To most eyes, however, Calvary appeared to involve the execution of a common criminal. Moreover, He appeared in His risen glory to relatively few people, and for more than 2,000 years has accomplished His greatest redemptive work along the obscure byways and hidden corners of human civilization (Matthew 1:23; Luke 2:7; John 7:5; Matthew 23:27; Matthew 12:1-8; John 4:9; Matthew 4:18; Galatians 3:13; I Corinthians 1:23-32).
All this should splash the cold water of Christ's truth and reality into our faces regarding our own lives. Presently, the Lord Jesus will often not appear as the Messiah of power and obvious displays of glory. He may rather meet us as the manger's baby, or as the obscure carpenter, or even as the accursed of the cross. He may often not deliver us from our own crosses, but rather deliver us upon them. Days and an eternity of His glory await our expectant eyes. This is not that day, however. In this day, the Lord Jesus most often walks in us, as it were, on rough roads, in battered shoes, and again, for all the world appearing so be someone other than who He is. He will never, of course, compromise His character or our own. There will be times, however, when few will understand that the strange path upon which we walk results in the purpose of God "to fulfill all righteousness."
Our Savior honors us to walk in His footprints of humility, meekness, and the true power of God that reveals His glory in contrary circumstances, situations, and conditions. He does the same in our brothers and sisters, calling us to be careful in our analysis of the Lord's way in both their lives and our own. Clearly, the fulfillment of all righteousness sometimes requires the appearance of just the opposite. Much time in the Scriptures and much prayerful consideration will be required to enable us to discern when the Lord Jesus reveals Himself in the same righteous, but enigmatic way He lived His earthly life.
"Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment."
Weekly Memory Verse (one of the first Bible verses I ever memorized)
Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently.
(I Peter 1:22)