Philippians 4:4: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”

From the wilderness he came – Zechariah’s son John and cousin of Jesus traveled up and down the Jordan River in Israel preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. Word had spread about his ministry and crowds began to show up. People were excited that there was a new prophet in town. The last recognized prophet in Israel had died 400 years ago and ever since it seemed that the heavens had been closed shut. God appeared to be silent. Within a short period of time John had become the attraction of the day and had risen to superstar status, something he was very wary of.

John stood in the Jordan River preaching to the crowd when out of the blue a man stepped into the water and approached him. John looked Him in the eye and recognized his cousin Jesus. He hadn’t seen Him in years but he knew from his mother that they were about the same age. She had told him the story of his Aunt Mary coming for a visit while she was pregnant with Jesus and the miraculous circumstances of her pregnancy. Now here they were 30 years later and John knew in his heart that he was in the presence of the Son of God the minute he laid eyes on Him. He was stunned.

“Who am I to baptize you?” John said to his cousin. “You should be the One baptizing me.” Jesus shook His head and said: “This is how it’s supposed to be. We should do whatever God says is right.”

So John went ahead and baptized Him. As soon as Jesus stepped out of the water He saw the Spirit of God descending on Him like a dove and a voice from Heaven said (Luke 3:22):

“You are my dearly loved Son, and you bring me great joy.” *New Living Translation

It is both touching and inspiring to see the Father’s love for His Son. He publicly announced to the world how much joy He brings Him. This happened right after Jesus had been baptized along with many other people in the Jordan River. Something stirred the Almighty to trigger this affirmation of love at this precise moment – maybe because Jesus didn’t think He was better than us. He did not need to repent and change His ways, so there was no real need to get baptized. But Jesus fully identified with the human cause. And by doing so He carried out His Father’s will.

Going through the deep waters of sorrow and pain we experience a different kind of baptism. Through highs and lows we are guided by the unseen hand. And if we follow the Lord we will have great joy which will stay with us – regardless the circumstances.

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