I have a confession to make: I’m totally fascinated by John the Baptist. As the lectionary weaves it way through the narrative of Scripture it has presented us with a view different vistas of John’s life. Last Sunday was another one. We met John again. Wild John, unpredictable John, John on the margins, John preaching a baptism of repentance. Our community discussed John’s expectation of the One to come. John thought that He would be wild – like Him. He said “I baptize with water but the one who is to come will baptize with the Spirit and fire” and then he added the bit of the axe against the roots. John definitely had a supersized expectation of what Jesus would do.

Then Jesus arrives.

The One he expected asks/commands John to baptize him. John protested. He suggested that Jesus rather baptize him. Some people say this was Jesus’ first temptation (that we know of). Jesus resisted. He identified with all the people who repented. John was horrified. Matthew tells us cryptically, “then John consented” (v15).

John stumbled and drowned in his expectations of Jesus.
Sometimes I do exactly the same. I expect Jesus to:

Help with depression.
Open doors.

Sometimes He does the above, sometimes not.

Later in the Biblical narrative Luke recounts how John sent a message to Jesus to ask him whether he is really the Messiah. Jesus says yes, and then he adds : “blessed is anyone who does not take offense at me.” Expectations need baptism. Jesus is God, I am not. May He be in my life as He is.