Tag Archives: Mark 1:4-11

Jesus Joins the Mess

Sorry, but I can’t guarantee the regularity, or even appearance at all, of these posts at the moment, but they will appear when and if possible.  Thanks for bearing with me.

They were searching, searching for something to do with their sin, the things they had got wrong.  They knew that they weren’t perfect, their failure to live up to God’s standards troubled them.  The bloody mess of sacrificed animals wasn’t cutting it for them.  They needed forgiveness, they needed to know they were forgiven, feel refreshed and able to start again with a clean sheet.

And then came John, promising that if they turned back to God, they would be forgiven; and by baptism washed, cleansed and restored.

And the people came.  And responded.

Mark 1:4-11 (CEV)

So John the Baptist showed up in the desert and told everyone, “Turn back to God and be baptized! Then your sins will be forgiven.”

From all Judea and Jerusalem crowds of people went to John. They told how sorry they were for their sins, and he baptized them in the Jordan River.

John wore clothes made of camel’s hair. He had a leather strap around his waist and ate grasshoppers and wild honey.

John also told the people, “Someone more powerful is going to come. And I am not good enough even to stoop down and untie his sandals. I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit!”

But John was only the beginning, the pointer.  There was more to come, so much more.

And the One That Was to Come stepped forward, came for John’s blessing, came as every other human being can.

He stepped into the messy water of humanities wrongs, and brought his presence and power.  All are washed clean by his presence in the mess.  He is here, God’s son, the one whom God delights in, with us.

The Baptism of Jesus

About that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee, and John baptized him in the Jordan River. 10 As soon as Jesus came out of the water, he saw the sky open and the Holy Spirit coming down to him like a dove. 11 A voice from heaven said, “You are my own dear Son, and I am pleased with you.”

Christ stands where we stand.  He has no need to.  He has not done the things wrong that I have, yet he stands with me.  As he stands with me, he allows me to stand with him – in the place of forgiveness, healing, strength and a clean start.

Will I let him stand with me?

Will I accept his invitation to stand with him?

Lord,
I come,
with all that I bear.

Thank you for joining me in my mess,
for meeting me in the river,
the place of cleansing,
restoring,
forgiveness.

As I meet you here,
may I let you work in me.

I come,
not spotless and blameless
like you;
but marred,
broken,
thirsting.

Wash me,
cleanse me,
restore me I pray.
May I seek,
and find
your forgiveness
and your life in me.

Cleaning Up

How the washing piles up over Christmas – well it has in our house!  The same is true with the washing up – the dishwasher has been on overtime.  And as I sit looking at my windows with the sun shining on them, I can see how in need of a clean they are too – maybe tomorrow…

Dirt happens, it just does.  But with our modern appliances and potions it is not difficult to make things clean again.

John the Baptist came at a time when people had wandered away from God.  Despite the perfect world that he had created, all in harmony and balance, people had done their own thing.  They had got things wrong, marred creation, and generally made a mess.  And the mess needed sorting out.

Sorting it out had to begin with themselves.  They had to recognise that they had got things wrong and start again in the right way.

Pieter Brueghel (II) [Public domain or Public domain , via Wikimedia Commons”]

 

John come offering them baptism – an opportunity to get cleaned up and start again with God.  To have the things they had done wrong forgiven.  The symbolism of baptism is clear.  It is the opportunity to be washed clean.  But unlike the washing or the windows, not just to be cleaned to be used and get dirty all over again, but to be washed and to have the chance to turn away from one way and to another.

Many took the chance John was offering them.  They felt the need to be washed clean.

The same opportunity is still available to us today.  God offers us a clean start, a new chance.

Washing needs a good detergent.  God offers us the best way to clean up lives.

What a gift: for those who cannot forgive themselves; for those who feel that they have gone too far away; for those who feel weighed down by what they know they have got wrong; for those who don’t know what to do next…

If a time of reflection has led you to think how wrong you have got it, and you know you need to try again, God can take the burden from you.  Try it.  Let him cleanse you.

God,

I want to thank you,

that you offer me a new way,

a better way,

the right way.

But more than that,

I thank you that through you,

the things I have got wrong

need not weigh me down,

and hold me back.

You take them from me,

clean me up,

and set me on the right way.

Thank you for that opportunity –

help me to take it.