You don’t want to do that


“You don’t wanna do that” became the catch phrase of Harry Enfield’s character on his show, Harry Enfield’s Television Programme.  But it’s pretty much the phrase John uses to Jesus in this reading.


John has been bringing the message of forgiveness, and baptising those who wanted to receive that forgiveness.  He has just finished telling them that someone more powerful is coming – and here he is.

Jesus comes to John to be baptised.  But John will have none of it – ‘You don’t want to do that Jesus’.

John knows who Jesus is, he has known it since before he was born.  So he also knows that Jesus has nothing to seek forgiveness for.  He is God’s son, born of Mary who gave us so much to bring him into the world, and his is living God’s life now.  John feels unworthy, and he thinks it is inappropriate.


But Jesus knows it is important.  If he was coming to identify with humanity, he had to start where they were, and where they were was in the river being baptised.  Jesus came to enter fully into human life.  He didn’t have to, but he chose to.  He wanted to be where we would be, to feel what we would feel, to know how it was to live a human life – and to live God’s life in it.

Jesus came to be with ordinary people.  That is what pleased God.  He was not with those sat in the Temple thinking they had it all right, but with the ordinary man and woman who knew where they were and what they’d got wrong.

Today he still walks with the ordinary man and woman.  He comes where he is needed.  He’ll get in the water with us, and not shy away.  And he wants to do it.

The river at Yardent, “close to where Jesus was baptised”

Thank you Jesus

that you came into the world.

Thank you that you didn’t sit in palaces or places that others deemed “holy”,

but that you came to the reality of life.

Thank you for being willing to do that,

to go against what people expected of you,

to do the thing that needed doing.

May I make room for you

in my ordinary life.

~ by pamjw on January 6, 2011.

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