Today’s Reading: Matthew 3:13-17

13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him.14 John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 15 But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now; for thus it is fitting for us to fulfil all righteousness.” Then he consented. 16 And when Jesus was baptized, he went up immediately from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and alighting on him; 17 and behold, a voice from heaven, saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

Today’s Commentary: Word Study

Righteousness: Dikaiosune (Gk.): denotes the uprightness and faithfulness of God and his people (Deut 6:25; Is 48:18). The word is part of a distinctive covenant vocabulary found throughout the Bible. It is used seven times in Matthew and 85 times in the rest of the NT.

(1) God’s righteousness is characteristic of his being (holy) and revealed through his saving deeds and care of Israel (Deut 32:4; Is 5:16; 42:6). God is righteous because he perfectly fulfills his covenant with Israel as a divine Father. The NT builds on this foundation: God now demonstrates his righteousness through the saving work of Jesus Christ. The New Covenant is ratified by Jesus’ obedience to the Father (Mt 3:15; Rom 3:21-26) and is proclaimed in the gospel (Rom 1:16-17).

(2) For God’s people righteousness is a New Covenant gift from Christ. It is first given in Baptism and received by faith (Rom 5:17). It denotes one’s restored relationship with God as an adopted son or daughter. This gift of righteousness can increase through love and obedience to God’s covenant Law (Mt 5:6; 6:33; Rom 6:16; Eph 4:24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Jn 3:7).