As we begin a new year, we often think of new tasks or habits for our lives. It may be to discontinue something that is detrimental to our health. Perhaps it is to accomplish something that we have failed to attain in the previous year. I wonder if we have considered how our relationship with God might change this year. Could we resolve to be more attentive to His voice in 2017?
As we return to our normal worship schedule on Sunday, we step into the season of Epiphany? The season of Epiphany is about the life and ministry of Jesus. On Sunday, we open our bibles to Matthew 3:13-17. In this text, we consider the Baptism of Jesus. The man who baptizes Jesus is John the Baptist, hence the name. One of the most surprising parts of this passage is found in verse 14.
To set the story, John has been in the desert for some time. His calling prompted him to relocate in the wilderness. He acquired a strange wardrobe and adopted a new diet. His message seems to hit home with all who encounter it. They heed his words and respond with changed hearts.
No doubt John is a faithful follower of God. In verse 14 Jesus approaches John and asks him to baptize him. But then we read,
(Matthew 3:14 NIV) But John tried to deter him
If you think about it, these are strange words. How could John do this? John knows that Jesus is the Messiah, but this request is too much for him. On the one hand, John feels inadequate for such a task. Yet on the other hand, Jesus is the one who is asking him to do it. In the end, John submits to Jesus’ direction.
As we think about the ways in which God calls us to follow him, we might feel inadequate. We may not think we are worthy to participate in God’s mission. John gets to see God’s power in tremendous ways. He is willing to cooperate with Jesus and do what he asks. May we be willing to do the same in the coming year. May we be willing to follow God’s promptings no matter what the situation.