Devotion: Monday, January 14, 2019

Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections from His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s verses are from Luke 3:21–22, where the Bible says,   

Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened, and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”

An “All the Way” Savior — That’s What We Need!

Substitution. That’s a biblical truth that really hits home for me today. Why? There are times in my life when I realize that my best efforts just aren’t good enough; my heartfelt tries still miss the mark. Something just isn’t right, and it doesn’t seem that I can overcome the problem at all. It’s like I’m trying to swim, but the cold waters are numbing my limbs, preventing me from staying afloat; or the waves of warm waters are pounding me to the ocean’s depths, preventing me from gasping the air I so desperately need. At times like that, one needs help from above, help from outside. What an incredible thing when at that moment another jumps in and faces the destructive power of the water so that I might come out of that water alive and well. Substitution. Iit matters when your life depends on it.

To illustrate the powerful principle of substitution, George Sweeting, Chancellor of Moody Bible Institute, told a story of salvation that happened amidst a series of fast moving, destructive tornados in western Pennsylvania.[1] Nearly 100 lives were lost because of the storms, but one little girl from Wheatland, Pennsylvania was saved. Her uncle, a man named David Kostka, was umpiring a Little League baseball game when he saw the black funnel cloud barreling toward the field. He tore off his gear, rushed into the stands, grabbed his niece, pushed her into a nearby ditch, and covered her with his body. Minutes later the tornado struck. When the little girl looked up, her uncle was gone. He had given his life in the deadly storm to save her. Kostka faced the power of the wind and the water so that she might be protected. He substituted his life for hers.

That’s a glimpse of what is happening in our lesson today. It is the most incredible thing to read in the Bible that, when sinners were coming to John to be baptized, Jesus was baptized too. As sinners, they all needed a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins (Luke 3:3). Jesus didn’t. In this event one begins to see the fact that Jesus is an “all the way” Savior. He is not just a teacher. He is not just an example. He is a Savior who left His heavenly throne to be born into the very world that He created so that He might indeed be its Savior. He entered the waters of John’s baptism for sinful people to identity completely with people like us, sinners, whom He came to save.

When you read stories about people jumping into danger, substituting their lives for the lives of others, you get a glimpse of what our Savior Jesus is all about. He didn’t just jump into our lives. He lived our life and then died our death to give us His life as a gift. That’s the kind of love that really does change things.

An “all the way” Savior — that’s what we need. Jesus’ willingness to be baptized like every other sinner reminds us that in HIM, that’s what we have.

PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, give us hearts that are willing to ponder the depth of your substitionery love for us. May that love overwhelm and empower us to live in You for others. AMEN.