Acts 19:4 “That explains it,” said Paul. “John preached a baptism of radical life-change so that people would be ready to receive the One coming after him, who turned out to be Jesus. If you’ve been baptized in John’s baptism, you’re ready now for the real thing, for Jesus.
Each year in the church calendar we look at the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist in the Jordan River. For many in the early church the relationship between Jesus and John seemed important, not just because they were cousins, but because they both had a message that attracted and challenged great crowds of people. In the above verse Paul has encountered a group that had been baptized according to John’s way of things. It was a baptism that indicated a person was getting their life together so that they would be ready for the one to come. Paul told them that the one to come was here, Jesus, and that they were ready now to embrace him. Many of us feel like we need to get our lives together. Particularly this time of year, we make resolutions that focus on us being better in the future. We will get in shape, or loose weight, or save money so that our lives will be better by springtime. Paul reminds these folks that life isn’t primarily about getting our act together for a day down the road, but opening our hearts to God here and now. Jesus was baptized so that we might know that God meets us where we are, as we are. It is God who comes to us, we simply respond to God. Ready for the real thing? Thanks to the gift of Jesus, life with God begins today.