1st August, 2012
BRUCE C. WEARNE
Read Mark 1:9-11
Thirteenth century stained glass window in Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, France, depicting the Baptism of Christ by Saint John the Baptist. PICTURE: © Joris Van Ostaeyen/istockphoto.com
"John was pleased to see his cousin but was surprised that He had come to be baptised, just like everyone else. John was uncertain. No way! You should be baptising me! Jesus insisted. What an event that was! It was an important moment in Jesus' life."
John wore simple clothes of camel’s hair and a leather belt and ate plain food - locusts and honey - found nearby. His message was about getting ready for the One whom God was about to send. “He’s coming any day!” said John. “If you want to be part of His kingdom, then wash your sins away. Now. Today. Don't hesitate. Admit it. You are a hypocrite! Clean up! Get ready!"
God chose the desert for John, some distance from Galilee and Jerusalem. He taught and baptised in the Jordan River. Then Jesus came into the region of Galilee from where he had grown up. Nazareth had been Jesus' home since, as a young boy, he returned from Egypt with his parents after Herod, the murderous king, had died. Joseph was a Nazareth carpenter. They raised a sizeable family. When Jesus was in his late 20s he moved to Capernaum, by Lake Galilee. His family followed him there.
The people of Galilee went out to John. Jesus went with them. John was pleased to see his cousin but was surprised that He had come to be baptised, just like everyone else. John was uncertain. No way! You should be baptising me! Jesus insisted. What an event that was! It was an important moment in Jesus' life.
God showed John that He was pleased to have such a Son. Jesus' school was not going to be in the desert. It would grow from the synagogues of Galilee, the homes of people who invited Him to stay, and also, out in the open air where He would teach. By being baptised, Jesus indicated that as a Rabbi, He was not going to ask His students to do anything He wasn’t prepared to do Himself. But first he had someone else to meet.
John was to help prepare Jesus for His work, teaching good news to people where they lived, where they worshipped, where they played, where they had parties and picnics, where they worked, where they bought and sold. Jesus went out to meet John at the Jordan to be baptised and then God's Lamb went into the desert away from the crowds for a while.
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