As an elder in the United Methodist Church I have had several opportunities to baptize people. It is one the most favorite things I do in the life of the church. Still i could not imagine what was going through the mind of John the Baptizer when Jesus presented himself for baptism. The whole question of worthiness comes right smack in our face. Who is it that would be worthy to baptize Jesus? None of us. Yet Jesus humbly submits to the role John must plan in order that the plan of God would be fulfilled. What must we do in order that the plan of God might be fulfilled?
Peter and John, not the Baptizer, find themselves in trouble because they healed a man in Jesus name. The religious leaders realize they are in just as, if not more difficult position as Peter and John. If they condemn the healing that will bring trouble because the people can see the healed man. However, if they allow this to go on without some form of correction, the followership of Jesus would grow. They tell Peter and John to go, but not heal or teach in Jesus name. I love the response of Peter, who should we obey, human voices or the call of God. Quite a response to an early test.
We serve a relentless God. There are times when the relentless nature of God becomes overwhelming. As God continues to shape and mold us into the persons we are called and created to be, it can be overwhelming to have God constantly pushing us. Further, it seems when we are feeling overwhelmed others pile on about the unfair nature of our God. We nearly reach our end. That is where we find the writer of this psalm. Yet there is a cry to God and mercy is found. We get tested on every side, do we cry out to God, or do we just cry?
In these three chapters there is enough to write about for several days. Today I noticed something which I had not noticed in all the times I have read and taught this passage. When Ismael is born Abram is 86 years old. It is not until He is 100 that Issac is born. For 14 years there is the tension of when humans try to solve a challenge only God can solve and God's solution. For 14 years Abram had to come face to face with his hiccup in faith. There was a constant reminder of how Abram tried to solve the challenge his own way. Our poor choices are rarely fatal, however they have consequences which will stay with us for some time.