Seeing Jesus coming towards him, John said, ‘Look, there is the lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. This is the one I spoke of when I said: A man is coming after me who ranks before me because he existed before me. I did not know him myself, and yet it was to reveal him to Israel that I came baptising with water.’
John also declared, ‘I saw the Spirit coming down on him from heaven like a dove and resting on him. I did not know him myself, but he who sent me to baptise with water had said to me, “The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and rest is the one who is going to baptise with the Holy Spirit.” Yes, I have seen and I am the witness that he is the Chosen One of God.’
The Gospel on Sunday coming, the Sunday of the 2nd week in Ordinary Time, has John speak of his learning the ‘more’ about Jesus. The text wtih its direct address (To whom? Surely, now, to us!) and its repetitions expressed something of the overwhelming nature of the revelation he is grappling with , his confusion and his excitement.
For us, esepcially if we were raised as Christians, the ‘facts’ about Jesus – that he is Son of God and Son of Mary; fully human and fully divine; born of a virgin; anointed by the Holy SPirit; that he was crucified and that he was raised from the dead – are so familiar that we may no longer be startled by the way they challenge our regular ‘hold’ on reality. Yet when we do recognise the sometimes seeming absurdity of what the Church believes we are helped and not hindered.
God works, Jesus comes, to throw us off balance. Revelation helps us to acknowledge that the world is as God made it, not as we make it or wish it to be. There is a deeper reality for us to grapple with, a reality that is loving and nourishing, even as it causes us to realise that we cannot trust to ourselves alone; that we are not in control; or sole masters of our world and our destiny.
As the saying goes, we are to ‘let go and let God’.
- How do you let God and the things of God into the picture?
- Where do you try to manage alone?
Images of the Baptism of Jesus. Lichfield Almshouses. (c) 2016, Allen Morris.