Aloha Friday Message – January 10, 2020 – Do it thusly

2002AFC011020 – Do it thusly

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    Matthew 3:15 15 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.

*  οὕτω[ς] (houtō and houtós) {hoo’-to[s]} like this . . .; in this manner, in this way (fashion), in accordance with this description (i.e. corresponding to what follows); in keeping with; along this line, in the manner spoken; in this way, thus(ly)

Aloha nui loa, ʻŌmea! Grace and Peace to each of you from God our Father and our Lord, Jesus the Christ, in the Power of the Holy Spirit. This coming Sunday, many churches around the world will be celebrating The Baptism of The Lord. Sometimes this event gets confused with other events in Jesus’ life. Some folks think it has something to do with last week’s celebration of the Epiphany. Some think it might be concurrent with the visit to the Temple at the Purification of Mary. A few believe it happened when Jesus was an adult, and they are right. Just for the sake of clarity, let’s look at a timeline based on what we read in the synoptic Gospels. Remember, there are no precise dates given there, so everything happened “around [this year].” Here is a sequence of some of the important events before Jesus started his ministry:

  • Birth – At Bethlehem during the lambing season
  • Circumcision – eight days later
  • Presentation – on the fortieth day after birth – Purification of Mary and Jesus’ presentation at Jerusalem
  • Visitation of the Magi – Jesus was not yet two years old
  • Massacre of all male infants under age 2 “in and around Bethlehem”
  • Flight to Egypt – around age 2
  • Herod the Great dies – Jesus is around age 4, and then
    • Herod Archelaus {ar-khel’-ah-os} takes over Judaea, Idumaea, and Samaria
    • Herod Antipas takes over Galilee and Peraea
    • The non-Jewish areas (except Samaria) were assigned to a third son, Philip, to Herod’s sister Salome, or to the province of Syria
  • Joseph is counseled by an angel that it is safe to return home
  • The Holy Family settles in Nazareth to avoid living in the territory ruled by Archelaus – Jesus is perhaps age 5
  • Lost at the Temple – around age 12
  • John the Baptist and Jesus begin their ministries around 27-30 AD. No precise date is known
  • John proclaims Jesus is “the Lamb of God.”
  • Jesus retreats to the desert for 40 days of preparation and temptation (See Mark 1:12-13)
  • Jesus calls Andrew, Peter, Phillip, and Nathanael as Apostles
  • Wedding at Canna and Jesus begins baptizing, preaching, and teaching.

   Now, another thing that brings us to wonder “why did he do that?” is Jesus’ insistence that John baptize him. After all, he is the Messiah, and John knows that. He is The Son of God, and both Jesus and John know that, too. So how can a mere man who is unworthy to carry Jesus’ sandals (or tie or untie them), a man sent as a Prophet in the Spirit of Elijah, or a man who is lesser because he is mortal and his cousin is immortal having existed since before creation and who was present at Creation – how can this mortal man we worthy to Baptize the sinless Son of God as a sign of righteousness? Jesus in effect tells him, “This is the way Dad wants it done, so let’s just do it.” The key to understanding that well is in that little phrase in this way.

I’ll put that note about our Key Verse here for us to use again: οὕτω[ς] (houtō and houtós) {hoo’-to[s]} like this. . .; in this manner, in this way (fashion), in accordance with this description (i.e. corresponding to what follows); in keeping with; along this line, in the manner spoken; in this way, thus(ly). To what does “thusly” or “in this way” refer? The answer to that question will help us understand why Jesus insisted on John’s cooperation: The importance of a spirit of obedient submission to the will of The Father. “We need to do this together. Both of us need to do what God is expecting of us. It is the proper thing to do to complete every aspect of righteousness. Your responsibility is to baptize. My responsibility is to let you.” This construction occurs fairly often in Scripture. We’ve looked at demonstrative pronouns before (this, that, these, those), so now let’s look at what could be called a demonstrative adverb (another name for conjunctive adverb). Adverbs modify verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs. They tell us something about the why, where, when, and how. Demonstrative adverbs are words that indicate choice (hence, ergo, thus[ly], then), or time (now, then, soon), or direction (here, there, yonder, hither). In the passage we are studying, “like this” refers to what precedes it – “let it be so now (baptize me),” and leads to what follows – “to fulfill all righteousness.” You might think of it as a proposal for action “under these circumstances.” Let’s take a quick look at a couple of other passages where this construction is used.

1 Corinthians 7:7 I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has a particular gift from God, one having one kind and another a different kind.

1 Corinthians 7:17 17 However that may be, let each of you lead the life that the Lord has assigned, to which God called you. This is my rule in all the churches. Here it is in the KVJ 17 But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk. And so ordain I in all churches. The key words here are as and so. Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV) If we look at this same verse in the New International Version (NIV), it reads like this: 17 Nevertheless, each person should live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned to them, just as God has called them. This is the rule I lay down in all the churches.

Now this is congruent with – corresponds to – what Jesus is saying to John as they stand in the Jordan: Let’s do this because it takes care of that. You might now be saying, “Okay, old man, you’ve spent a lot of words explaining something that’s not very interesting. Why?” Here’s why:

Take a look at what Paul wrote in his letter to the Hebrews. Hebrews 6:10 For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love you have demonstrated for his name by having served and continuing to serve the holy ones. Paul knows what he’s talking about because he understood what Jesus was saying. Instead of being subject to THE LAW, Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection freed us from THE LAW and all the “silly little things” the Scribes added on to make it even more complicated and convoluted. Jesus calls his disciples to find rest and peace in the simplicity of obedience to his “Law of Love.” John 15:10“If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.” Want more evidence? Try this:

Matthew 5:18 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. What does God command in his law? THIS:

Deuteronomy 11:1 1 You shall love the Lord your God, therefore, and keep his charge, his decrees, his ordinances, and his commandments always.

Deuteronomy 6:4-7 Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise.

Exodus 19:5-6a Now therefore, if you obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession out of all the peoples. Indeed, the whole earth is mine, but you shall be for me a priestly kingdom and a holy nation.

John 14:15 15 If you love me, keep my commands. New International Version (NIV)

That is the importance of “as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned to them, just as God has called them.” God gave us something to do that “leads to all righteousness:” We are to Love and Obey HIM. There is the answer (← Check it out!) to “What do you want to do?” Do this to get that. Act thusly to accomplish it. Why did Jesus insist that John baptize him? Because by doing so, he demonstrated the correct answer to the question “WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO?” The correct answer is ALWAYS “Do the right thing, do what is “just and merciful, righteous and humble.” (See Micah 6:8 again.) Jesus chose to be baptized in his adult life as the beginning of the consecrated life God intended for him. From that moment forward, his face was ever set toward Jerusalem and suffering, death, and resurrection. Belovéd, we must all choose that which leads to all righteousness, for that is what God created us to accomplish; however, we must also perceive and comprehend the wisdom that this goal is accomplished only with him, in him, and through him in the Power of the Holy Spirit. It is in this way – οὕτως – that we know and love the Lord our God. Perhaps we will not be the ones who hear a voice booming from the heavens saying “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”

I fully expect, though, that we shall hear a gentler, more tender voice one day telling us, “Well done, good and trustworthy servant; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.” (See Matthew 25:23) We are part of the testimony of Spirit, Water, and Blood. IF we will simply do as he says, we shall surely enjoy what he gives – YOLOF. And why is that what I believe? I believe it because of the most famous use of the word οὕτως:

Οὕτως γὰρ ἠγάπησεν ὁ θεὸς τὸν Κόσμον …
For God SO loved the world …


Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Belovéd!

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Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture passages are from the New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE) New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Passages marked NIV are from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. Passages marked AKJV are from The Authorized (King James) Version of the Bible (‘the KJV’), the rights in which are vested in the Crown in the United Kingdom, is reproduced here by permission of the Crown’s patentee, Cambridge University Press.

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Aloha Friday Messages by Charles O. Todd, III is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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