Monday, September 21, 2015
In the streets or the synagogue of Nazareth, the news of John’s message of repentance reached the ears of Jesus. The emergence of this voice in the wilderness was Jesus’ trumpet call—the shofar of the Lord—to enter the last season of his ministry and time among us. Yes, the last of his ministry.
Surely the gospel years were not Jesus’ only ministry. He ministered before. The three years recorded in the gospels were the fruition of the previous thirty years. Scripture tells us Jesus grew in wisdom and stature. In those years all the wonderful things we see in Jesus developed. The patience. The wisdom. The understanding. The discernment. The compassion. The insight. When he stepped into public ministry, by the avenue of association and baptism, then came the power and authority. Jesus allowed his Father to do his work in him.
But when Jesus got wind of John's voice he packed up his belongings (what little he had) and kissed his mama goodbye. We don’t know if Jesus traveled alone, or how far he traveled, or if he sent a message to his cousin that he was on his way. Regardless he left Nazareth. He left Galilee. Jesus leaves home, the place he grew into a man.
He left his places of routine, comfort, and familiarity.
Jesus came to John. He walked into the river water. John looked up and recognized Mary’s son. John knew the stories: this cousin caused him to leap in his mama’s womb. Once again John's spirit leaped. He knew this man, and he argued with him.
“Baptized me, John,” Jesus spoke with John’s gaze riveted to his.
“No, Jesus. It is you who should baptize me.” John confessed and dropped his head.
“John.” John looks up into the face of Jesus.
“Baptize me so that all righteousness is fulfilled,” Jesus explained.
John laid his cousin back, buried him in the dark waters of the river. Eddies swirled around and over them both. Jesus came up from that watery grave, his hair streaming, his beard pouring, his tunic plastered to his chest, and his eyes on fire.
John staggered backward in the wake, and just as he regained his balance he saw the anointing rest on Jesus, remaining. He felt Jesus’ squeeze on his shoulder and watched him as he walked back up the bank of the river. And the wind blew, whipped Jesus’ hair and billowed the sleeves of his tunic. John saw the water trail behind Jesus, dripping ripples in the water and John watched until the widening circles touched him.
And these ripples, of Jesus fulfilling righteousness, have touched us.
If you are reading this post the ripple has reached you, the very ripple caused by Jesus.
Hebrews 1:3 and Colossians 1:15 declares to us that Jesus is the exact representation of God. He came to show us who God is. Jesus came that we would have a better understanding, a clearer vision of the Father.
God called us to the same ministry as his Son—a ministry of representation and reconciliation. We are called to help fulfill all righteousness. In Mark 1:8 John tells us John baptizes with water, but Jesus baptizes with the Spirit.
The Spirit descends on us, lights on us, and indwells us just as He did Jesus. We can argue like John, protest and hesitate, or we can be baptized (immersed in the Spirit) and enter the rippling ministry of the Good News.
We must be ready to leave home; we must be willing to leave our places of routine, comfort, and familiarity. We must decide to go down into the river. It is there we will be immersed and anointed by the Spirit. Only then we will be prepared and equipped to carry the good news up the bank, into the wilderness, and beyond.