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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Today’s Scripture Reading | Matthew 3:13–17 

Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” (NRSV)

Luke 3:23 says that Jesus “was about thirty years of age when he began his ministry,” with this baptism being the starting point. Being thirty-two years old myself, I am quite taken aback when I think of that. Turning thirty years old did feel different in many ways. There was something so freeing about leaving my uncertain twenties behind and embarking on a journey of more self-assurance in my thirties.

Before his ministry, Jesus was a carpenter; he worked like you and me, spent time growing and maturing for the life he had been called to. We know that at the age of twelve Jesus was aware of who he was called to be, preaching to the high priests and Pharisees, but he had to wait eighteen years until he was called to ministry, patiently waiting and growing to become prepared for what he was put on earth to do. When I read in Matthew 15 “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness,” that is the response of a man who knows what lies ahead of him and feels called to the task.

Whenever I start to question “Is it too late to . . . ? Have I missed my opportunity to . . . ?” I am reminded that it is never too late. Let us use this example of Jesus’ baptism as a reminder that God’s timing is perfect. Wait expectantly on the Lord.

Lord God, help me always to wait on you, even when I do not feel your direction. Help me to remember that your guidance is like a river in which I stand. I want to remain open to your teachings, and I pray that the next time I feel discouraged by time, you will help reassure me that I am being moved even if I am not aware of it. Amen.

Written by Ashley Elskus, Director, Center for Life and Learning

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