Following – 2

First, you do what’s right.

Then, you speak of the One who makes things right.

Jesus began his life of public ministry by listening to his prophetic cousin John encourage people to repent and submitting Himself to the waters of baptism.

See Matthew 3, Luke 3, and Mark 1.

Why?

It’s not like He needed to repent, because He did not sin (Hebrews 4:15).

I think John the Baptizer gives us one reason: to reveal Jesus to others (John 1:31) — and Jesus gives us another that is equally inarguable: it was the right thing to do (Matthew 3:15).

So among all the other extraordinary qualities communicated in baptism, here are these two reasons as foundational examples. We need to begin our lives of public ministry by revealing Jesus to others, and to do the right things because they’re the right things to do.

I’m not going to get in to a discussion of faith and works. I’m convinced that Paul and James have no argument with each other. We do what we do because we believe. We communicate Whom we believe in by what we do and say.

And you can’t separate doing and saying as powerful tools in communicating the gospel. If what you do doesn’t match what you say — or vice-versa — you have no credibility as a follower of Christ trying to live and speak His life to others.

Don’t forget that not only did John identify Jesus as his Lord; the voice of God Himself and the presence of the dove testify to Who the Christ is, and Whose Son He is, and Whom He pleases by doing the right thing, and Whose Spirit rests upon Him.

If there is a better way to begin a life of ministry to God and to others — bringing them together or even just closer together — then Jesus doesn’t communicate it to us by His words or His example.

Following Him means going with Him into the water, into death to self, into a resurrection to a new life.

Following Him means being immersed in His life.

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One thought on “Following – 2

  1. KB, were you reading James when you wrote this post?

    Likewise, I see no contradiction between James and Paul. Paul may have been the one to preach the loudest of all that we are saved by Christ plus nothing else. But he also required that Christ be reflected in the lives of his readers (Galatians 5; Ephesians 3-5; Philippians 2; Colossians 3…just to name a few examples). Many of the attitudes that Paul preached–and the Spirit living within, which Paul preached–is what enables us to do the doing that James preaches.

    Your post here made me think of the passage in James 1, about being doers of the word, and not just hearers. Very interesting to me that after he describes the importance of doing (James 1:22-25), he continues immediately into a verse about what we say (James 1:26).

    This is continued in more detail in the next couple of chapters, when he again emphasizes the importance of doing (James 2:14-26), followed immediately by a passage on taming the tongue (James 3:1-12).

    Doing what’s right.

    Then speaking what’s right.

    The gospel, according to James, perhaps?

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