In The Waters of the Jordan

Reflections Photograph by Cathie Horrell

There is some thought that perhaps Jesus had studied with the monks at Qumran or been a follower of John the Baptist, before that day he appeared on the bank of the Jordan River, awaiting John’s baptism. He may have joined John at some point, perhaps to continue his education, to be schooled by his slightly older cousin. But we do know from the gospel accounts that he even went to John and submitted to John’s baptism. Was it because he felt he needed to repent or could it have been the opposite. That he believed. That he saw John’s baptism as a ritual, an entry point into solidarity with what John was saying. And it seems that that experience changed him. That something happened that day in the waters of Jordan that would set Jesus on his path, knowing his own mission and place in the sacred order of things that sent him out to the wilderness to think about what had just happened to him. It must have been something profound to have sent him off by himself to contemplate what his life was going to be about. To wrestle with the wild beasts and be attended to by angels. Those same creatures that attended at his birth. He had come to John to become part of something. And that experience ‘baptized’ Jesus with a new and radical way of seeing what needed to be changed, renewed in the faithful of Israel. It seems that it was in the waters of the Jordan River that Jesus religious education, upbringing and his awareness of the political/religious climate of his country collided in such a significant way that from this he saw what his mission and destiny was and would be. For certainly, Jesus life until now had led him to this day when another Spirit would come upon him, as the evangelists portray it, and he would become aware that he was to be about his other Father’s business. In the waters of the Jordan Jesus was empowered to shepherd Israel to another return, this time the return to the true meaning of its faith and to the one God, who Jesus now addressed as Abba Father. The intimacy of that day would never leave him. The effect of that day drove him off into the wilderness to a lonely place, there to wrestle with its meaning and to accept his commissioning.

 

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