Imitating Jesus (some thoughts on the gospel of Mark)
As a neophyte, I kept my eyes fixed on the yoga instructor, attempting to reproduce in my body and breath what I was witnessing in hers. I wasn’t just following her instructions, I was imitating her (albeit poorly). She walked from student to student correcting, aligning and encouraging us; assuring me that if I continued my efforts, I would eventually have a beautiful practice.
I want my life to be a beautiful practice. Following Jesus and imitating his actions and character is the way to achieve it.
Jesus stepped out of obscurity into the river Jordan. Like the rest of the Judean world, he followed John the Baptizer into the wilderness. He entered the waters of baptism and the world was changed.
John preached a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. This concept was nothing particularly new; previously, though, people would go to the temple for such an activity. Now they are pouring into the wilderness. This change of location suggests a new and radical way of accessing God. And this shift is only the beginning.
John’s baptism was almost a tease. Sent to prepare the way for the real deal, his preaching asked “Want a different way of life?” Then “repent” he instructed. Repentance is a change of mind and a commitment to act differently than you have in the past. This decision to live differently, though, will not be enough.
Speaking of the one who comes after him he says “I baptize with water, but HE will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” My baptism is external. The water that marks your decision will be dry within minutes and you’ll need to remind yourself to act differently. But HIS baptism will be with the Holy Spirit, it will be an internal and eternal mark that will not only remind you to act differently, it will empower you do to so.
Our preparation for the Messiah’s advent is o desire a different future, one free of past mistakes and misdeeds . Own your longing, grieve your sins, heed the voice of John, “Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.”