(Three signpost events in the life of Jesus)
John the Baptist preached repentance, and baptised people as a sign that they had turned from their sins. But, when Jesus stepped down into the river, John stepped backwards saying, “I should be baptised by you”. John knew his cousin lived an exemplary life, and he sensed there was something even greater about him. But Jesus insisted on being treated like any other man. He was extraordinary, but he humbled himself to the ordinary.
📣Then the Sky-voice spoke.[i]
he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being.[ii]
As Jesus preached in Jerusalem, some Greek men approached Philip, and asked to meet Jesus. They were visiting from overseas – but they had heard about Jesus. This showed that the fame of Jesus had spread widely. But Jesus didn’t want fame or acclaim for himself. Giving honour to his Father, God, he prayed, “Father, glorify your name”.
📣Then the Sky-voice spoke.[iii]
Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; [iv]
One day, while sitting with his disciples, Jesus asked, “Who do you say I am?”. Peter replied, “You’re the Christ.”. The truth was out, and it was time to warn them of the setbacks to come. He led three disciples to a mountain-top, where his face and clothes began to glow brightly. Next, Moses and Elijah appeared with him, similarly transformed, and they talked about his coming suffering and death. But Elijah hadn’t died. At the end of his ministry he was taken up to heaven in a chariot of fire. Surely righteous Jesus could escape death in the same way. But Jesus chose to complete his mission, whatever the cost. 📣Then the Sky-voice spoke.[v]
When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. [vi]
These three occasions, when a voice spoke to Jesus from the sky, mark stages in the Gospel story when Jesus understood and accepted the destination of his ministry. He wasn’t was born knowing the full script for his life. He was born as a normal, human baby lying helpless in a cattle trough – then he learned his destiny by stages. The texts quoted above in italics come from Paul’s letter to the Philippians, which summarises the humble and obedient life of Jesus, closely paralleling the Sky Voiceevents. Jesus didn’t seek an easy life, or complain when events went against him. As another text says, “Jesus…learned obedience from the things he suffered.”[vii]
The Philippians text begins with the exhortation, “You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.” That’s a big challenge.
© Derrick Phillips 2020