Day 5: Jump in
Ever been “all-in”? Ever been a rabid fan who paints their face? Today, John plunges us into a bigger story. Today we see one rabid follower, a different John – John the Baptist (let’s call him JB so we don’t confuse him with John the Gospel writer).
I grew up on the ocean. There we two ways to get wet. Jump in or wade in slowly. Most days I jumped in. You can get wet either way.
John takes us by the hand and we jump right into the story. Yesterday, John engaged us in a world of philosophy and theology. Today, we find ourselves in the wilderness of the real world. I am glad for it. Philosophy and theology disconnected from my life is not very helpful.
JB is very real. JB is very committed. JB is being asked real questions by real people now - people who want to know who he is - and he is quoting Old Testament prophets. JB is reaching back into the Bible’s story and saying that what we have been hoping for is about to happen. JB puts front and center the question, “What if the Logos became flesh and blood, what would that mean for us?” One answer is that we would get very serious about our lives.
And people are. They are getting baptized, you might say, “jumping in the water.”
Baptism has deep meanings. One is to wash off our old bad habits, and start living a new way. Baptism has much deeper meanings, but for the moment, let’s not get sidetracked.
In life, I see three principles at work in us:
- We know there is a bigger story -- something outside ourselves.
- We not only know the story, but we believe we are part of it.
- We live as part of this bigger story, and to the world we might look weird.
Consider some examples. I know folks who are rabid fans of a sports team. The team's fate is linked to their rooting. To others, their blue or red painted faces might look a bit weird... and they don’t care!
We are all living our lives based on some bigger story we believe to be true. The story we believe causes us to make choices, and more, about our lives – regardless of how others perceive us.
Here is a question. What is the biggest story you are a part of?
Work? College? Family? A volunteer organization?
Please do not misunderstand. These examples are great. We can, and are, part of many stories. The question remains, “What is the biggest story you are a part of?”
JB’s biggest story is God’s plan for the world. That’s a big deal. THE big deal. Yes, people find him odd. He doesn’t care. He knows it is about God and not him. (JB actually says so, later in Chapter 3, in verse 30.)
It is rather amazing if we think about this Gospel. Eighteen short verses, a mere 300 or so words ago, we were breathing the thin air of philosophers and theologians. And now? Now we are not just in the midst of an odd fellow, we are being invited into The Story.