I always wondered how well John the Baptist and Jesus knew each other. After all, Mary and Elizabeth were cousins and knew each other well enough that Mary went to visit Elizabeth while she was pregnant. I’m thinking they were well aware of one another from the beginning. Mothers talk!
Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. 14 But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” Jesus replied, “Let it be so now . . .
Now, in the first chapter of John, he is reported as saying that he did not know Jesus, but I think he meant Jesus as the Son of God, anointed to be the Messiah. This I can see was revealed to him on that day perhaps.
But in my imagination, I like to think they had conversations about the future of the world and the hope of Israel. I can imagine John as terribly passionate about that time in history and the sense that God was moving and times were changing. John’s own birth story is a miracle story. He knew he was called to something unique and special. I could even imagine him saying to Jesus, “Come with me to the desert; let’s seek out God’s will.” Instead, they parted, John into the wilderness and Jesus continuing the quiet life within his family circle.
What was Jesus waiting for? We’ll never know. And yet, once John the Baptist was fully engaged in his prophetic ministry, completing a “type” of the Mikveh (in my imagination), Jesus decided that he too would have a starting point. The time came and he went to John, to the living waters of the river, and then, right away, he also went into the wilderness. The seeking of God seems associated with the experience of the wilderness.
Timing is everything. I know I have jumped the gun many times and stepped ahead of myself. Waiting is hard. Waiting feels passive and unproductive. But really, is it?