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Reform Magazine | August 18, 2017

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Chapter & verse: Matthew 3:15

Chapter & verse: Matthew 3:15

Kevin Watson reflects on the first words of Jesus

Did Paul McCartney, penning ‘Let it be’, know that those words are the first recorded words of Jesus? Some Bibles have Jesus’ words in red print, and my Advent Bible study began at the start of the New Testament’s red print, intrigued to find the first words of Jesus as recorded by Matthew, the Gospel we are following this year. Reading Matthew, we have to wait until we have heard the family stories about Jesus’ ancestors, his birth, travelling as refugees and returning to Nazareth, and of cousin John’s ministry. Jesus is all grown up before we get to hear him speak, and the words of this reading are what we hear.

Jesus is speaking to his cousin, John the Baptist, to convince him that it isn’t he who should be baptising John and to persuade John to baptise him. This one sentence brings us to the heart of what Jesus is all about, and even from just one word in that sentence – aphiemi, the Greek here translated as ‘Let it be’.

These words remind me of the psalmist’s call to be still and know God is present (Psalm 46:10); for here is Jesus saying: ‘Don’t worry, let it be so and accept the way it was always meant to be – complete unbroken relationship with God and humanity. This is how righteousness is fulfilled.’..

Kevin Watson is Moderator of the United Reformed Church General Assembly

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This is an extract from the December 2016/January 2017 edition of Reform.

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