A lovely walk
Hey, my name is Brendan. Let me share a story with you about one of the most significant days of my life.
It was a hot summer’s day. I was walking along a path that followed the Jordan River. On my right there were open fields that seemed to go on and on. They were the types of fields that as you looked into the horizon, it seemed as though there was no separation between the land and sky.
I was enjoying my peaceful afternoon walk when *whoosh* someone came running past my right side, knocking my shoulder as he went. I got a bit of a fright to be honest. You don’t often see people on this path, let alone strange men running!
I thought to myself, “that’s really strange,” but quickly drifted back into my thoughts. I never knew that where that man was running to was going to change my life.
Someone at the river
It must have been no less that a couple of minutes until a heard a commotion behind me. I turned around and there were another three people running towards me.
I waved my arms and shouted, “what’s going on?” They said, “There’s this man called John and he’s claiming that God has become man!”
I learned about God growing up, but I could never really connect with him. I just didn’t find God ‘personal’ enough. The idea that God had become man fascinated me, so I decided to run along with them to see what it was all about.
We ran for about 10 minutes and then we came across a clearing at the Jordan River. There was this man, John. He was a strange looking man – he was wearing animal skins. He looked like the kind of man who would have been living in the wilderness, probably eating only bugs and honey.
I sat down on the edge of the river, and listened to John speak about this man named Jesus. Apparently, he is the son of God, but he is also fully God. What? How does that happen? John spoke about how this man named Jesus had come to bring the world back to God. He was teaching that those who wanted to be free from their past mistakes could come and he would baptize them in the river.
That day there was something deep inside my heart that really connected with what John was saying. I think this was the moment in my life where I realized that what I had learnt growing up was starting to make sense. So, I decided to head down and be baptized.
What an amazing experience this was! As I came out of the water I really felt as though my past mistakes were being washed away down the river. I felt as though I was a new man.
I wandered back to the river’s edge. Time seemed to stand still as I reflected on what had just happened. Then I heard someone say, “that’s Jesus!” That sure did bring me out of the reflective state I was in.
As I opened my eyes, I looked to the right. I saw a man wandering down the river. Jesus spoke to John saying, “Baptize me.” John said, “Jesus, I am not worthy to even tie your sandals, let alone to baptize you.”
I didn’t hear what Jesus said next, but I guess he said something pretty convincing. Before I knew it, John was baptizing Jesus.
Jesus was submerged and as he came up out of the water, there was a strange thing that happened in the sky. The clouds seemed to part and there was a voice that said, “This is my Son whom I love.” Then the Spirit of God descended like a dove upon Jesus.
Jesus then left the water and wandered off into the desert.
What just happened?
As I sat there on the river’s edge continuing to reflect on the day I had, I thought about how I had just experienced God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit all present and active in one moment.
I am fascinated by the thought that when God gets involved, and we choose to take a step, the possibilities of what He can do are way beyond what we can ever imagine. When I was walking on the path that day, I had no idea what God had in store for me.
All it required was one action from me. The action was that I decided to stand up and walk down to the water to be baptized. This moment changed my life forever. The question I am now left with is: “Today, what is one action I can take to step closer towards God?”
Narrative story based on Mark chapter 1, verse 1-13
Barry Kirby is a disciple of Jesus Christ, living in relationship with Father God, through the power of the Holy Spirit. Barry works and worships with the Salvation Army based in Wellington, New Zealand.