THE ‘LET’ OF LENT – Wednesday, February 24th
Read Matthew 3:1-17.
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.
Matthew 3:15 (NRSV)
People were coming from Jerusalem and beyond to be baptized by John the Baptist. John’s powerful call for people to repent, as well as his critical warning for the Pharisees and Sadducees, stemmed from his humble awareness that “the one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize… with the Holy Spirit and fire” (verse 11). So we can imagine John’s surprise when Jesus comes to ask John to baptize him!
When John questions Jesus, we hear Jesus’s invitation for us today: Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness. Jesus gives several gifts in this. Jesus honors John by affirming all that John has been doing and saying. He also becomes one with us by participating in the sacraments that we are called to practice. And Jesus honors God by fulfilling God’s purpose and God’s call to righteousness. In the same way, we are to follow his example. We are to honor one another; we are to keep the sacraments and other spiritual practices that deepen our love for God and humanity; and we are to fulfill God’s purpose and call to righteousness.
Perhaps our greatest invitation is to see how Jesus never took advantage of God’s favor, nor did he seek any privileges over the rest of us. Jesus became one with us; he was never concerned about himself or his personal gain. In many ways, Jesus lived a life that was more difficult than the lives we are privileged to live. In a few weeks, we will even remember how he became one with the criminals who were being crucified.
Today, our “Let it be so now…” invitation is to keep the practices and sacraments that draw us closer to God; that bond us as equals in this community of humanity. Our invitation is to examine ourselves for the ways we may be blinded by our privilege, or may rely so much on God’s merciful goodness that we do not fully grasp or repent of our sinful ways. Our invitation is to emulate Jesus’s selfless example, and to recognize that even as we are dearly beloved, we are no more loved than everyone else.
May we let Jesus inspire us to keep our faithful practices, to follow his example of righteousness, and to grow in our love for all of humanity.
Our Bible reading for tomorrow is Mark 1:35-39.
Bible verses found at BibleGateway.com