So Jesus replied to him, “Let it happen now, for it is right for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John yielded to him. –Matthew 3:15-

It could have been around noon. The sun was on its highest point. People were sweating profoundly. The immense crowd gathered that day was a diverse one. Some had gone all the way from their villages to the edge of the river just to get a glimpse of this man people called a prophet. A prophet whose clothing was completely uncommon as so the message he preached out there in the wilderness. It was precisely this unheard message of repentance and forgiveness that had drawn a small percentage of the crowd like magnet to the river that particular day, as the day this man had started his ministry. People was waiting in line to be submerge in the waters of the Jordan river as a response to the call of repentance this man had preached for quite a time now. The prophet screamed, as he did every single day, with all of his lungs: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”[1] Those who had embraced the message this man preached, prior to be immersed in the water, had confessed their sins and were ready to be baptized by the prophet known as John the Baptist.

It was another day of ministry for John. He was convinced of the call he’d received from above. He was fine with that. This was his mission in life. He couldn’t be more proud to be achieving that which he had been called to, the reason why he had come to the world. There he was calling and baptizing people as he did every single day. That morning he woke up with excitement in his heart. He wasn’t sure why but he had a sense that today would be a day he would remember forever. He ran to the Jordan with expectation on his heart. The day had gone as normal. Just as the older woman was rising up from the water he noticed something unusual was going on. When he dismissed the woman who had been baptized he raised his eyes and he went out of breath. There in the middle of the multitude was a familiar face. A face he knew. He was coming towards him. It was his cousin. But he was not just his cousin. This man was the whole reason for his ministry. John had gone into ministry for the sole purpose of preparing the way for the one who would baptize humanity with the Holy Spirit. The Messiah had come into the world and was about to be revealed. John knew who He was. He couldn’t believe what was going on. His cousin had by passed the line of people waiting to be baptized and had gone straight towards where he was standing. His relative wanted to be baptized. It should be the other way around. John gathered courage and spoke freely to the man standing in front of him: “I need to be baptized by you, and yet you come to me?”[2]. Then Jesus looked directly to his eyes and said with conviction: “Let it happen now, for it is right for us to fulfill all righteousness.” [3] For just a fraction of seconds hesitation invaded the prophet. Yet he realized that there was something else in the words Jesus spoke. The Master’s words were charged with eternal power. It took him not long to realize it. Jesus words not only made echo in John’s heart but settled his mind and casted away any doubts he had. Then he felt it. There was a shift inside of him. He wasn’t sure how but something had changed inside of him. Just like the breeze takes you by surprise when walking by the beach on a cold winter day. He knew what to do. Deep in his heart he had always known that there would come a day where he would bow down before the Savior. The time had finally arrived. At the sound of Jesus’ voice, John knew that arguing was pointless. He did what any servant would do under the command of the one in whom all things were created[4]: he yielded to him.

 Surrender is the one thing that comes to my mind when I read this verse. I like the way the NET Bible translates the Greek word aphiēsin (ἀφίησιν) that can also be translated, among other words, as permission, uttered, and yielded. When we read that John the Baptist consented to Jesus request, what we are really reading is that John completely and absolutely relinquished his will, and voluntary submitted himself to Jesus’ command.

 So often we find ourselves so immersed in ministry. We get busy doing that what we have been called to do. Sometimes we even turn ministry into routine and routine into liturgy, and in some cases we even dare to turn liturgy into a sacred and divine commandment. The ultimate commandment, according to Jesus himself, is to love God above everything else (Mt. 22:37-39) not our ministries or our own personal agendas. How easy it is to surrender our ministry to our plans and agendas. In the end what we are doing is surrendering our ministries to our much-inflated egos. We might have the correct theology and the proper arena in which to reach out and touch people’s life with the gospel. But, what’s the point of gaining people to the Lord when we are loosing ourselves to our egos?

 We’ve become experts in giving people the impression that we are willing to go where the Lord leads us. Yet when the time comes for us to give away our ministries, our names, our reputations, and our sphere of influence, when prompted by God, then we begin to argue with Him, we question if it “wise” to lose the temporal sphere of influence we now hold to pursue the unknown. We are to remember that with God the unknown becomes the glorious unknown. How many times have I found myself asking the wrong questions about that which I know to be true but does not seems to fit my present situation; just because I am not willing to let go. John the Baptist was doing what he was supposed to when Jesus came and asked him to do something that defiled the way he saw things. He even argued with Jesus saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and yet you come to me?”[5]. What Jesus was requesting of him was against all odds. John knew that. He might have even thought that Jesus’ request was a misunderstanding. It was not. Jesus meant what he was requesting. At John’s question Jesus simply replied, “Let it happen now, for it is right for us to fulfill all righteousness.”[6] There was a specific purpose for having Jesus being baptized publicly by John: Identification. The Bible even gives us the specifics of what happened that particular day. After this conversation took place and after John had yielded to Jesus, we read that “just as he was coming up out of the water, the heavens opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming on him.[7]” Jesus had been publicly empowered for ministry by no other than the Father himself.

Imagine the expression in John’s face when the heavens were opened, the Holy Spirit visibly manifested before his eyes, and what is even more surprising, he got to listen the Father’s voice. If he had not yielded his heart and will to the Master’s command, he would have missed that life-changing experience, and he would have missed been an instrument within the perfect plan of God. I totally believe that sometimes, more frequent than we think, God asks us to do something that defile logic, that goes against all odds, he ask us to give up what we thought was a promising ministry opportunity. It is not about us. It has never been nor would it ever be about us. It is about yielding our hearts, our lives, our will, to the Master. If we are not able to surrender our lives and yield our will to Jesus how come would we expect to be “effective” in ministry when we can not be effective in the one thing that matters the most: obeying God.

I pray that we never lose track of what is required of us: to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with our God.[8] To walk humbly involves yielding or will to His perfect and absolute will. Shalom.


[1] Biblical Studies Press, The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible (Biblical Studies Press, 2006), Mt 3:2.

[2] Biblical Studies Press, The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible (Biblical Studies Press, 2006), Mt 3:14.

[3] Biblical Studies Press, The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible (Biblical Studies Press, 2006), Mt 3:15.

[4] Biblical Studies Press, The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible (Biblical Studies Press, 2006), Col. 1:16.

[5] Biblical Studies Press, The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible (Biblical Studies Press, 2006), Mt 3:14.

[6] Biblical Studies Press, The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible (Biblical Studies Press, 2006), Mt 3:15.

[7] Biblical Studies Press, The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible (Biblical Studies Press, 2006), Mt 3:16.

[8] The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), Mic 6:8.