Jesus gets dunked
Jesus wondered if Abba and God were the same. Certainly from the age of eight he had assumed, because he called out to what was universal in his mind and heart, the answer came from the one he called Abba.
Everyone knew Abba meant father. And more. A good father. A friend. Not formal, stilted or affected.
Nothing Jesus knew of God from the great texts and the speech of those who dared utter his name, had any of the heft he found in Abba.
Abba made sense. Particularly in light of the sort of revolution Jesus was intending to unleash.
Now this man John, knee-deep in the Jordan, looking normal enough despite his odd dress and unruly hair, was a perfect representative, not of Abba but of an almighty jealous God.
John cast the unrepentant as the unfaithful spawn of Abraham. Jesus was equally for repentance. But he had no respect for blood or nation or anything else to do with the hypocritical world he meant to topple.
Jesus would topple the world with love and justice and truth. He would gather fallible people like Mary. He would find more. Listeners. Wanderers. Iconoclasts. Wondrous folk.
John was a two-sides person. Jesus took no sides and eschewed conflict.
John saw no contradiction between revenge and repentance. He was gathering an army of the angry. Jesus was seeking an army of those inclined to good.
Jesus was suddenly filled with pity, standing in the water. He was getting closer and closer. There stood John.
There was no line. You walked up. He dunked you.
It could be wordless or accompanied by a verse or some remark. Jesus thought the whole thing was neither here nor there. He saw the crowd. Obviously they felt convicted. John was giving them a new start.
When Jesus and John were face to face, something strange occurred. No one knew who Jesus was, save Mary. She was on the bank and could hardly see. Dusk was falling.
John took a step back, glared and then softened, intensely focused on Jesus. He made no move to submerge him. He said nothing.
Jesus stood almost smiling, benign.He was just another from the region as far as John knew.
But there was awkwardness.
Jesus took a step forward. He placed his hands on John’s shoulders. He leaned forward and might have kissed John. But John recoiled.
Then John collected himself, reached out and took Jesus by the shoulders. John dunked him and helped him back up.
Jesus shook water from his head. He looked at John. John was looking beyond him to the next person. Jesus said softly the word “Abba”. John did not move. Jesus turned and walked back to shore.
It is well known. John’s fate was nearly sealed by the time of this event. To Jesus the John story was not the seamless segue that was made of the matter by those who later wrote of this time.
To Jesus, John was no different than Emperors and the powerful the world over. Take sides, fight, die. This was, to Jesus, a shoddy way to go about living.
If one had to die, it should be love alone that makes it necessary.
“Come on,” he said to Mary.
“Wherever you are going,” Jesus said.