Monday, August 10, 2015

Dial Daily Bread: The Baptism of Repentance

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Shortly before Jesus met the woman at the well at Sychar (John 4), John the Baptist had baptized Him. But that meant a prerequisite of repentance, for the only people that John could baptize were those who had repented. But Jesus never had sinned! Then how could He let Himself be baptized? To be baptized without repenting would be hypocrisy, for John's mission was only "the baptism of repentance" (Acts 19:4). John knew this. That's why he refused Him the rite.

Here's the wonder: the sinless Son of God lets Himself be lowered into the water the same as any common sinner, making a public confession of repentance. Jesus actually did experience repentance. He had to, or John could not have baptized Him; but it was not for His own sins, but for ours. Therefore it was a corporate repentance. Totally sinless, He was "made … to be sin for us, who knew no sin" (2 Cor. 5:21). He identified with the human race so closely that He felt that our sins were His own. Jesus learned how to feel that burden for others, including the five-times divorcee at the well.

The earth must someday soon be lightened with the glory of "the third angel's message in verity," when a multitude of all nations and tongues will join Him in winning every one in the world who is willing to believe the gospel.

Rather than a few celebrities on a wide screen or through electronics, that fourth angel's ministry must be performed by humble people working on a personal heart-to-heart level. Their "training"? Seldom that of "literary institutions," but knowing the Good News that is better than we have ever thought.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: September 30, 1997.

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