John the Baptist stood up to his waist in the murky waters as people flocked to hear him speak. Taking his message to heart, these folk then stood patiently in long lines to be washed clean by the same murky water they waded through to get to the Baptizer.
They waited to be offered the promise of purity the Baptizer’s cleansing would bring. They waited to be welcomed as a family member into God’s Kingdom. They waited, even without a full understanding, to know beyond doubt that each Baptized person was a Child of the one True God.
Then Jesus came to those crowded, murky waters and asked to be Baptized, and it threw his cousin John for a loop. This was the one John had been telling the people about. This was the one who would Baptize God’s children with the Holy Spirit and Fire. This was the one John was not worthy of loosening the thongs of his sandals.
How could Jesus ask to be Baptized by John?
How could John carry forth such a Baptism knowing he was not worthy?
Jesus needed no cleansing of sins, no invitation to God’s Family. What did it all mean?
The Baptism of Jesus is one of the any parts of the Bible I don’t fully understand. I’ve read the story countless times. I’ve pictured the scene in my head, as I retold above, many times. I’ve researched what others have to say about this part of the Gospel and Jesus’ desire to be Baptized, but still I feel there is a meaning deeper than I can quite comprehend at this point.
They say all our questions will be answered one day. I’m not so sure of that. I often wonder if our questions will be answered…or if our questions will seem so completely, utterly unimportant when we are confronted with the Glory of God that we won’t need them answered anymore, that they will become irrelevant, forgotten.
“Why did my husband leave?”
“How did this other woman think it was okay to start an affair with a Married man?”
“Why doesn’t the court system deal justly with families torn apart by one person’s broken contract?”
“Why doesn’t the Church do more to reach out to those burned by a broken Covenant?”
Questions that consumed me night and day six years ago have already lost their power over me. In six short years (although it once seemed like each day was an eternity), I’ve discovered that I don’t need answers to those questions any more.
I look at the person I married and his new wife with the same kind of odd fascination one looks at a spectacle at a fair. When I see them, I occasionally wonder what in the world they are thinking and marvel at the weaknesses in them that allowed them to be deceived so badly, but then I move on. I neither know nor care what they do now or about those questions that bound all of us in a sick threesome of mind games a few years ago.
Those questions that once seemed so all important to my very survival matter little today. How much less will they matter when wrapped instead in the full embrace of our Lord?
But I do believe some questions will matter and those will be addressed. The questions surrounding the Baptism of Jesus are some of many. My human mind has limitations. I cannot hold onto the questions I had about my Marriage, but I also cannot grasp the mysteries of God long enough to process and make sense of them. These are the questions I now look forward to having answered one day!
I don’t fully understand the Baptism of Jesus, but I do know this event marked a turning point in the Man’s life. Up until Jesus’ Baptism, we know little of His existence. The Bible gives us an account of His genealogy, of His Sacred conception and birth, of his presentation in the temple, and of his separation from Mary and Joseph and their finding Him in the temple. But of the rest, little is contained in Sacred Texts.
Until Jesus’ Baptism…
And then we see a change.
Before that, Jesus lived in relative anonymity.
Perhaps you had a similar experience
in the loss of anonymity…
This ended up being a long post so I’ve divided it into two parts. This one deals with questions. Tomorrow at 6 AM EST, I will post about the Turning of the Ministry – your end to privacy and your call to public life. Please join me tomorrow morning…
Thanks so much!
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