15 Jan An Epiphany for Our Time
Gradual, Patient & Sometimes Invisible
Jesus knew that great results do not always happen as suddenly as a conversion experience on the banks of the Jordan River. Many people have been baptized, or reaffirmed their baptisms, as adults by virtue of having had some amazing experience of God. But our Scripture teaches us that the kingdom of God is not going to arrive in some apocalyptic earthquake or huge mighty act (Matthew 23) but will come through the people of God who are willing to live, work, suffer and if need be die for God’s purposes.
The immanence of God’s kingdom is always at hand because where two or three are gathered, Jesus taught, there He would be also. Humanity is always tempted to the hasty hopes of John the Baptist; that if only some great revival or some great preacher would show up all would be well. But the process of redemption must and will always be gradual, patient and sometimes even invisible to the human eye.
The ways of the coming kingdom of God, brothers and sisters, may involve many disappointments, it may take more failures than successes, and some of our victories may only be partial or short-lived; but we have been given the power of the kingdom of God to walk through all of those trials, even through death, into life everlasting.
Why was He Baptized?
Why do you think Jesus was baptized? That’s the theological question that begs at my heart each time I hear or read this story. Why was this sinless man submitting himself to the baptism of repentance that John preached?
There are many theories out there but the one that holds up the best is the one on which Jesus staked his life, death and resurrection; that through baptism he, like us, was commissioned into the ministry of ushering in the kingdom of God. It begins with Jesus, it has now spread to you and me, this church, this community, and this world.