Monday, January 07, 2008

Logos -- Matthew 3:13-17

I was reading one of the lectionary readings for the week this evening:

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. 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." (Matthew 3:13-17)

I was struck when I read it by John's first response to Jesus' request -- "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?"

I feels to me as if John is feeling unworthy to do what Jesus is asking him to do. Really, it's not just that John FEELS unworthy -- he IS unworthy to baptize the son of God. It's not just a self-concept problem.

What does John do? When Jesus tells him to do it, John does it. He baptizes Jesus.

I've been listening to a series of sermons by Andy Stanely about the 10 Commandments. He spends the second sermon in the series talking about Commandments 1 and 2. He calls them the more important than any of other ten. If you look at the first one:

I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; you shall have no other gods before me. (Genesis 20:2-3)
This is a call from God for us to place him at the center of our lives. Stanley says that if we do that, everything else will fall into place. I think he may be right. I also think, that if we place God at the center of our lives, as John did, then when we are called by God to do something for which we feel inadequate, or for which we ARE inadequate, we go ahead and trust God enough to say "Yes!"

Look what happened when John said, "Yes." God himself made an appearance.

Image: Luminaries at our church on Christmas Eve

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