Reflections on Faith and Community
In this blog, you will find weekly reflections on life and faith. My hope is that, in some way, they will prove helpful to you in your daily living. May God bless you on the spiritual journey.
Andrew S. Odom
You are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. (Roman 8:9)
Towards the beginning of Matthew’s gospel, we read the story of Jesus being baptized by John in the Jordan. The way Matthew tells it, John the Baptist has been telling people all about the one more powerful than he will come and baptize with fire. “I’m not worthy to tie his shoes,” John tells them. But when Jesus appears, he is expecting John to baptize him. “No,” John says. “You should baptize me.” But Jesus insists in what feels like a really awkward conversation between the two of them.
Matthew is the only gospel to have this awkward back and forth between Jesus and John the Baptist over who should baptize who. So why include it? Well, the suggestion I made is that, by including this very human conversation, Matthew is helping us see a little bit of ourselves in it. Here, in a moment that is otherwise supposed to be holy, we get a very human Jesus in a very human moment. If we can perhaps see a little bit of ourselves in Jesus, then we might begin to see a little bit of Jesus in us. This is Matthew’s hope.
C.S. Lewis has a wonderful image that helps with the notion of seeing Christ in ourselves. “Imagine yourself as a living house,” says Lewis, “and God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what God is doing. God is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on, and you know that those jobs needed doing, so you’re not surprised. But then God
starts knocking the house about in a way that does not seem to make sense, and you start to wonder what on earth God is up to? The explanation is that God is building a different house from one you thought of, putting in a new wing here, adding on an extra floor there. You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage, but God is building you into a palace, one that God intends to come and live in himself.”
This is the work of faith, that we might grow into the palace of our humanity as God in Jesus Christ slowly but surely makes a home in our hearts and in our lives.
Published on 01/13/2020 @ 10:11 PM CDT