Luke 3:15-17, 21-22
As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, John answered all of them by saying, "I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire."
Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, "You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased."
John the Baptist was called to announce the arrival of the Messiah. John might have been tempted to give in and tell people that “yes”, he was the messiah, but he didn't. Even though John had large crowds of followers. He had people who were hanging onto his every word but he knew he was not the one. John was enough of a prophet to sense that the chosen one, the messiah, was about to make his entrance.
And then he does. Jesus is baptized along with a group of others and then there is a sign, the heavens open up and the Holy Spirit descends on Jesus in the form of a dove and a voice proclaims, “this is my Son, of whom I am well please.” Wow! Imagine if you were there taking it all in.
So what does Jesus do. Does he tell people to gather around him because he will make all things right with the world. No, he goes off into the desert to pray, to fast, and to be tempted. Jesus is in formation. This is the very beginning of his ministry and he needs some time to think and to pray before he is ready.
I cannot help but think of the silly political season we in Iowa are now in leading up to the caucuses. When I listen to the presidential candidates they sometimes sound like they are on a mission to make all that they perceive is wrong in the world right again. It sounds very messianic.
I have run for office myself and I know how hard it is to keep your head in the right place. I was running for a representative's seat in state government and it was difficult for me to keep my spiritual rudder on an even keel. I can only imagine how hard it must be for those running for president like Mr. Trump. It must be very difficult for them to maintain their humility and keep their egos in check.
Jesus was not running for some high political office. He knew it was his destiny to change the hearts, minds and souls of a broken world. He also knew he would have to be strong and focused on what he was called to do.
We are called as well. The interchurch council has a mission statement. In part it says, “we are the hands and feet of Christ.” That is our calling as Christians. Our path is to follow him. The messiah.