This is something that I have been spending a lot of time pondering lately. How have I missed this in the past? What implications might it have for my understanding of the world? Am I simply reading too far into the text?
What am I talking about?
Let’s start here:
“This messenger was John the Baptist. He was in the wilderness and preached that people should be baptized to show that they had repented of their sins and turned to God to be forgiven. All of Judea, including all the people of Jerusalem, went out to see and hear John. And when they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River.”
Mark 1:4-5 NLT
We have this obscure man living in the wilderness eating locusts and dressed in camel hair, preaching about repentance and a peculiar ritual called baptism. Now, baptism was not a common thing during that time, as far as we know, and in fact was so rare the action itself provided John with his own nickname “John the Baptizer.”
“One day Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee, and John baptized him in the Jordan River.” Mark 1:9 NLT
Now Jesus has personally sought out this man. He has decided a baptism, to signify repentance and the forgiveness of sins, was a step he needed to take.
Did Jesus, the “perfect” man, need to repent of his sins too?
Obviously I have no idea. But, when I came across this recently again I could not help but stop and think. What implications might this have for my view of Jesus and the lens through which I view myself?
Now I grew up in a Christian setting and I have heard many of the theological justifications for this action and yet, I find them unsatifying.
In conservative Christianity they are so eager to embrace the divinity of Jesus but do they fully accept the humanity?
It has been said that “Jesus the Christ came in his full humanity to lead us into our full humanity.”
What if the perfection of Jesus was not found simply through his ability to resist sin for his entire life but rather through a posture of repentance and a willingness to embrace humanity for what it is with grace, mercy, and love?
Jesus the Christ brought to the attention of the world that the dualistic mindset of the divine and the human are not separate but, in fact, coalesce here and now in the reality we all exist in. He lived out a message of love and grace exemplifying that they are not conditional but are a reality that has always existed.
Perhaps the divine force moving everything forward, the essence of existence itself, or what many call God is saying this to each of us:
“You are my dearly loved Son, and you bring me great joy.” Mark 1:11 NLT
Now that is a story worth sharing.
That is good news.
That is living in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Please leave thoughts, comments, or criticisms below.
Thanks for reading.