Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. 14 But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”
15 Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.
For the Old Covenant to be made right, it had to be fulfilled by man. God was certainly able to do His part. Remember a Covenant is a two-way promise. God promises to do something, but there is a requirement from man (Look at Day 31 for more on this). God could not simply throw away the Old Covenant. It had to be fulfilled. On Day 31’s devotion, we saw how the Lord foreshadowed one to come that would fulfill the Old Covenant. Even though man never fulfilled his part of the covenant until Christ came as a man to do it Himself, God still honored the Old Covenant. This is important to remember, but first the Old Covenant had to be fulfilled by man.
For the Old Covenant to be fulfilled, a sacrifice had to be made for the sin of humanity. A personal sacrifice had to be offered for the personal sins of the people. These sacrifices had to be offered by a priest and one had to be offered by the high priest.
To fulfill the Old Covenant, the first thing that Jesus had to do was to become a priest. None of the human priests alive had fulfilled the covenant themselves. They, like us all, had sinned so even though God allowed them to offer sacrifices for the people in the Old Covenant, they were not worthy. Jesus by being baptized then anointed by the Holy Spirit fulfilled the requirement of the Old Covenant for the consecration of a priest.
It is important that He became a priest because only priests could offer sacrifices to the Lord on behalf of the people. The priests of the Old Testament were not holy enough to be worthy to offer these sacrifices. But to symbolize holiness at the very least, the Old Covenant required they be dressed in “holy” garments. But in the end, they looked holy on the outside, but on the inside they were sinners like everyone else. But Jesus was not dressed in holy garb. Instead, He was stripped naked. He was not covered by fine linen, but His own blood. That blood represented His life making it the most holiest of coverings. Jesus became our priest.
If God did not disavow the nation of Israel who, at their best, could only fulfill the covenant using a dirty sheep offered by an unholy man dressed up to look holy, how much more will the Lord honor His part of the Covenant when Jesus, sinless and truly holy, is our priest offering our sacrifices to the Lord.
Our part of the Covenant is to live by faith, but faith in what. Specifically in this framework, we are to live by faith that if God accepted the sacrifices of the Old Testament from those unholy men and still kept His promise, then we must have faith that the Lord will keep His promises when we offer our sacrifices through Jesus Christ.
The Bible says we are to offer our bodies as living sacrifices. This is obedience. But when we do our best and still fail, then we might think that our sacrifice of obedience will be insufficient, but when we offer our best effort to obey to the Lord through our priest, Jesus Christ and faith in Him, then we can be assured that God will honor our sacrifice.
If you are not perfect today…if you believe that you are not good enough for God’s blessing…if you think that God will not keep His promises because of your sin…remember this: If God honored sheep presented by sinful men, how much more will He keep His promise to you when you offer your best through faith in Christ. Live by faith that you are accepted by the Lord. You don’t have to be perfect. You don’t have to do everything right. If you believe this, you are fulfilling your part of the New Covenant and God will certainly keep His.