“Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented.” (Matthew 3:13 – 15)
Imagine if Albert Einstein came to a
kindergarten teacher and asked him/her to teach him the numbers and
letter. Or if Picasso asked the same to teach him to finger paint. Or
if Jessie Owens asked a high school track coach to teach him how to
run faster. John the Baptist knew what his role was, and he relished
doing it. It was in preparation for Jesus’ coming that John preached
and admonished his listeners/followers to be ready for the coming of
he who John was not fit tie a sandal for. Or untie. Which ever. Yet
Jesus came to John, asking for the outward sign of inner
transformation. Jesus told his disciples down the road – he (or
she) who would be first must be content to be last, and he (or she)
who wished mastery must be a servant. So it makes sense, in the
upside down kingdom sort way that Jesus would ask John to baptize
him. And John, knowing who Jesus was, followed his Master’s
“And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” (Verses 16 – 17)
Being the upstart that I am, I have to wonder and ponder why the Spirit of God was pleased with him. Because Jesus followed protocol by having John baptize him? Because Jesus made the outer pledge and symbol to follow the Lord God? Because he honored John by recognizing John’s authority to confer forgiveness? Because Jesus humbled himself? Because of what Jesus would go on to do? And it opens up even more questions – how distinct and how human was Jesus that the Divine acknowledge Jesus as offspring rather than just a temporarily separated aspect of the Divine? How much free will did the person of Jesus have to act as he saw fit?
The other question (or set of questions) that it raises in my mind is can we, as humans, ever be so blessed by the Lord God? Are we the Divine’s Beloved? And is the Divine pleased with us? Lofty aspirations, beloved reader.
I wish I could convey to you the depth of my desire that committed authentic believers would become worthy of being blessed by the Divine. If Jesus Christ the Messiah (actually duplicated set of descriptive adjectives in that name) would and did humble himself, how can we do any less? To say to the Divine “I am so unworthy of your regard and love, but at the same time I am so assured of Your love and regard for me that I know you sent Jesus the Christ to redeem me in Your Sight and bring me into relationship with You.” To prostrate yourself in front of the Divine, and yet have the conviction that you will be lifted up. To life your life such that Divine would call you “beloved” – that is the goal of the Christian life. To do or be anything less is to disregard the good news. There just isn’t anything else to say after that expect . . . . Shalom & Selah!