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.”
Many, many years ago — it seems like another lifetime — I went to Dubai to earn a living. My first job was In the middle of the desert, quite literally, working an eleven-hour-a-day job, six days a week. It was a simple clerical job, but it paid me ten times what I got back home in India, so I didn’t care. Besides I knew it was just a stepping stone to better things.
Anyway, I had a Welsh boss, a wonderful man named Rhys Evans (Rhys, if you happen to see this, say hi!). Whenever he wanted to give me some work to do or ask me about something, he would always come to me. In India, bosses would never go their subordinates; they would usually yell for them. The first time this happened, I thought, “Wow”, and I decided when I became boss, I would do the same.
I was reminded of him when I read today’s story, when Jesus goes to John the Baptist, who says, “I should be the one coming to you, but you come to me.” John knows who Jesus is — remember he said he was not worthy to carry his sandals (see Matthew 3:11) — yet, here he was, like an ordinary man, coming to be baptized by John, when John knew that he needed to be baptized by Jesus. It must have freaked him out.
But there are two powerful truths illustrated here. One is the total reversal of rules, with humility and submission considered more important than pride and authority. Jesus would later demonstrate this again by washing the feet of his apostles. And, two is the fact that God comes to us. I want us to really think about this today.
We often think that God is distant and cold and uncaring when it truth he is a God who is near and warm and concerned. We are the ones who try to hide from God, much like Adam and Eve tried to hide in the Garden of Eden. We do so for probably the same reasons they did. We feel ashamed and unworthy. So God comes looking for us, just like he went looking for them.
He is looking for us now, so let us not hide anymore. (And, as an aside, if we have people working for us, let us go them, not yell at them to come to us.)