Matthew 3, 13-15
Something to read
Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.
But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?
And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.
King James Version
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 fulfil all righteousness.’ Then he consented.
New Revised Standard Version
Something to think about
You can hear the incredulity in John’s voice: ‘Do you come to me?’ John is questioning his worthiness to baptize the one he knows to be God’s anointed son, and he is the one who gets to do the anointing.
We are often challenged by God to do something which we do not think we are worthy of doing. We cast ourselves as ‘worthless sinners’, and can sometimes wallow in our own self-abnegation.
But when we do this we forget the very reason we are Christians: we are most definitely worthy to do God’s work on earth! It was because God understood this that he gave us his Son in solidarity with us, highlighting that we are worth it even though we sin and make some pretty miserable mistakes.
Understanding that we are worth that price allows us to ‘resurrect’ within us the courage to do ‘all that God requires.’ But note in the end that John ‘allows’ Jesus to come to him. This is our own challenge: we must also recognise this and allow God to come to us. He’s already there, waiting, but we are the ones who must open ourselves to him. Once we have done that, we can then ‘anoint’, through our own actions, our world by doing all that God requires.
Something to do
How have you been beating yourself up? Think about one thing which you are ashamed of, and you think makes you unworthy to be a servant of God. Write it out on a scrap of paper. Crumple it up, walk to the rubbish (or recycling) bin, and toss it in there. God has forgiven you of your sins; acknowledge that they exist, and then do what you can to push them aside like so much rubbish and discern His still-speaking voice so that you may do ‘all that God requires.’
Something to pray
I make mistakes,
and I so ashamed of them at times
that I feel I cannot show You my face.
But I know you have reached out to me,
and lifted my shame as a parent lifts a child’s chin.
Give me the courage to allow You to come in,
and discern Your still-speaking voice in my life,
so that I may do all which You require.
Today’s contributor is Ryan Simons, a student training for ministry with the United Reformed Church at Westminster College, Cambridge