“Let’s do it this way”
Jesus does not need the baptism John is administering, but he goes to the banks of the Jordan anyway, where people’s sins are being removed like clots dissolved in running water; where sinners overcome their fear of revealing themselves for what they are: persons who need to rediscover their humanity.
So Jesus joins the line of sinners. He is a God who comes to find us in the most fragile and darkest part of our nature, in the part of us we try to hide. This act of his helps me realize that I should no longer be afraid of the part of me that is dark, because if I am seeking the Lord, he is in that part of me too. John doesn’t want to baptize Jesus, who nevertheless insists.
“Let’s do it this way for now,” he says. John does not understand him and perhaps none of us will ever fully grasp how the apex of love can sprout in the darkest and deepest pit of our human nature. How can we understand a God who, out of love, descends into our depths to touch our core, where every trace of humanity seems to be obliterated? How can God allow himself to be beaten and killed out of love for us?
We are still too afraid Lord.
You ask us to let you do things your way,
which means to let you love us.
We are still too fragile and afraid, Lord.
But you ask us to “do it this way,” which prompts us to believe
that you make your home in even the darkest corners
of our lives and of human history.
You, Lord, are the God who comes to dwell
in the places in which I am farthest away from myself.
You are the God who comes to inhabit my fears and sins.
You are the God who defiles himself with my diseases,
my twists and turns, my betrayals.
And once again I am amazed to find you there.
Your incredible tenderness astounds me.