Spirit-anointed servants that we now are -- baptized into Jesus' death and resurrection -- our identity as children of God comes with a calling. This is not some kind of strings-attached, use-it-or-lose-it threat. Nor is it a holier-than-thou, I-can-save-the-world pretension. But to be baptized into his death and resurrection is to be baptized into the life-giving, forgiveness-granting, earth-shaking, implacably gentle world-saving work of Jesus Christ.
I don't often relate strongly to John the Baptist. Yet, in the face of our remarkable calling to be part of God's work in the world, John's poignant declaration and question to Jesus at the Jordan surely make sense to me. It is I who need you, Jesus! And yet you come to me? Yes. He does! And by that sustaining breath of the Holy Spirit, he draws us into his life's miracle. I pray for the trust of John, to follow where that Spirit leads -- through death and into Life.
"Sustain your servants with the gift of your Holy Spirit: the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord, the spirit of joy in your presence, both now and forever. Amen." (Service of Holy Baptism, ELW, p. 231)
Matthew 3:13-17 (NRSV)
13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him.
14 John would have prevented him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?"
15 But Jesus answered him, "Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness." Then he consented.
16 And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him.
17 And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased."