“ It should be done, for we must carry out all that God requires.”
Have you ever noticed that God doesn’t follow the same pecking order that we have in mind? In this passage, John the Baptist is alerting the world to the coming of the Savior. Then the Savior arrives and asks John to baptize Him. John responds, “shouldn’t it be the other way around?” And Jesus says no, this is what God wants.
We see other places in scripture where Jesus acts as a servant to His people. He washes the disciples’ feet in John 13. Peter again says, in so many words, shouldn’t it be the other way around? Jesus often emphasizes that we should have a humble spirit. So those who are last now will be first then, and those who are first will be last. (Matthew 20:16). This is one thing that Jesus could be showing us.
There are other messages we can explore here. Sometimes we think our lives should be a straight line. We set goals and then we take steps to reach those goals. But sometimes those steps may fail; sometimes we may be forced to detour. Sometimes the goals we have set for ourselves are not the goals God has in mind for us. In the example being set here, Jesus is being obedient to God, even though it doesn’t exactly make sense. And because of this, things did work out in the long run, but not before there was a lot of pain and sorrow in between. This is a reminder that God’s ways are His own, and if we are obedient, things will work out in the long run, either on this earth or in heaven. When we question these ways that don’t make sense to us, are we thinking that we know better than God how things should be done?
Jesus obviously knew God’s voice in this passage. How do we know when we are hearing God’s voice or someone else’s voice? Sometimes it’s hard to know, because we want the voice we hear to match our desires. Sometimes it doesn’t. When I’ve seen this happen in my life and had my heart broken many times, when I look back, I’ve always seen that God’s plan was better.
One thing I have learned, is that just because it’s easy, it doesn’t mean it’s God’s will. As we see from the life that Jesus lived, nothing was easy. There were moments of success, peace and joy, but there was a lot of pain. I have had some jobs that have been very easy. I received good money (well, enough, anyway!) and benefits. But it just didn’t feel right. People said I was nuts to leave those jobs, but I don’t think God called any of us to be comfortable. I think that I stayed in some jobs too long because I was too comfortable and may have missed out on some other things I could have done. Our roads will be easy sometimes, but sometimes they are rocky, filled with potholes and messy. That doesn’t mean we failed or took a wrong turn, it means we are growing.
This passage also reminds me to be flexible. Instead of following our vision of how things should go, we should be open to doing things in new and unexpected ways. The road may seem twisted, but it may be more interesting. Sometimes God takes us on the scenic route instead of the superhighway. We explore more, learn more and live more. Sometimes it isn’t even the goal that is important, it is the journey itself.
After Jesus was baptized, the voice of God came for all to hear. “And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17). It pleases God when we listen to Him and obey Him, even when it may not make sense. Can you think of things that you thought that God told you that didn’t seem to make sense at the time? How did it work out? Where are you on your journey?