1 In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea,
2 and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”
3 For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying: “THE VOICE OF ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS: ‘PREPARE THE WAY OF THE LORD; MAKE HIS PATHS STRAIGHT.’ “
4 Now John himself was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey.
5 Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him
6 and were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins.
7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
8 Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance,
9 and do not think to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones.
10 And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
12 His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him.
14 And John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?”
15 But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him.
16 When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him.
17 And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
There is a purpose and requirement in heritage that if not fulfilled will result in removal from the inheritance. Though they were children of Abraham, children of the promise, there was a need to live like it to experience divine intervention. The work of John, baptizing and preaching repentance in the wilderness was not insignificant in the preparation of Jesus’ work. For those who repented, an atmosphere of faith was established that would enable the demonstration of amazing healings and miracles. An animus was also established in the religious leaders that would eventually lead to the crucifixion. Even Jesus was obedient to this purging process that would precede any ministry that He had already been prepared for. It wasn’t just His heritage and status as the Son of God that qualified Him for the role He would fulfill. It was His complete obedience to the necessities of an earthman to be totally cleansed and freed from the influence of the flesh. Just being the Son of God was not enough. He was still in a body that was subject to the worldly influences that in His overcoming would legitimize His sacrifice. The voice of God declaring His pleasure in Jesus was not just because He was living and breathing on the earth. It was because of the process He had already submitted Himself to, His obedience to humbly do exactly what was required as if He were a mere human.
There is a very real separation of the chaff to be burned up and kept from corrupting the harvest. It will not just be those who lay claim to heritage in Christ because of what He’s done for us that remain. If Jesus Himself had to produce works worthy of repentance in order to fulfill His purpose, so we will have to mortify all works of the flesh in humble repentance and submission to the fire of the Holy Spirit. In order to avoid association with those religious uppities that were caught up in works of the law and tradition, there is a necessity to be separated from the works of the flesh and liberated into demonstrating the works of those who are not just of Abraham/Christ in name only. The wonderful thing about this requirement, though, is that these works are not self-generated. They are just evidence that we have gone under the water, immersed completely in not only the baptism of water to repentance but also baptism with fire that consumes all flesh in preparation for God-works. He does the cleansing and empowerment as we are simply obedient to His process. How great it will be to hear, “This is my beloved child, in whom I am well pleased.”.
I always love the language used all throughout the Word that speaks to incredible intimacy, how much He seeks our hearts and wants to be sought- complete, unabashed reliance and relationship. In the AMP the word delight shows up…”This is My Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased and delighted”. We are also told to Delight in the Lord,what does that mean…”to bend toward, to be inclined toward” to be teachable, pliable in His hands.To be greatly pleased, a high degree of satisfaction, gratification -pleasure gained from satisfaction of desire, rejoiced. Full to overlying with Joy in Him with the evidence of a changed life, lived for Him. Wow!