(Written February, 2020 – Based on Matthew 3:13-17)
- Voice 1: Jesus
- Voice 2: Someone coming out in modern times
My life on earth was comfortable before I went to the Jordan. Really it was. Living with my mother and brothers and sisters in a loving environment, my work as a carpenter contributing to the household purse, we had a roof over our heads, food in our stomachs and clothes on our backs. We worshipped in our local synagogue – we were part of a good community there – and my mother and siblings, even some of my followers still are. We had good friends and neighbours. We might have been poor, but it was a good existence.
I had been living as society expects me to live. I’ve grown up, been educated, got a job, and I lived with my family in our own home, with a wide circle of friends and family around us and around the world. It was, materially at least, a comfortable life.
But I knew that life wasn’t the real reason my heavenly Father sent me here. My mother and I knew and understood that. My brothers and sisters – they knew it too, even if they didn’t understand it in the same way. But the rest of the community. They were oblivious as to who I really am and what I will, one day, do for the world. To them, I was Jesus, son of Joseph, the Carpenter.
That life wasn’t really me. It didn’t let me be the person that I was made to be. I wasn’t truly happy – I felt a bit like I was imprisoned in my own body, not really free to be the person that God made me to be. I knew that if I was going to be happy, and to break free, I needed to be honest about who I was. I guess my first step was to be honest with myself.
I knew it was time. As I prepared to take those first steps into what’s become my ministry, I was so grateful to my mother and to her strength. She alone understood what I was going through. And yet, we both knew – it was time for me to make this journey, to be God’s Son not just to my heavenly Father, but openly here on earth. It was time to do what I was sent to earth to do.
I knew who I am. But I was petrified of showing that to those around me. What if my family and friends who I love so much rejected me? What if my community made me an outcast? I had a lot to lose. What would my life have been like if I’d lost everything?
I knew my cousin John was preaching and baptising – he was preparing people for my arrival amongst them and he couldn’t understand why I too, felt the need to be baptised. I had to be firm with him, but I too was recognising that I was making a change. I was making a choice to leave my life as a carpenter and begin this new work. I was washing away the façade that I’d let the world see up until now, and revealing, for the first time since I was twelve, that I am someone a little bit different to who people think I am. Inside I did not change, but I guess I had to reveal who I really was once and for all.
I spent a fair bit of time working out who were most likely to accept me unconditionally for who I am, and I opened myself up to them first. I was so grateful to feel nothing but love and support, and that gave me strength to carry on this process. It helped me to truly believe that it’s not wrong for me to be the person that I am underneath all the pretence and to openly be myself. My nearest and dearest, those whose reactions I cared most about were loving and supportive too – indeed some of them said they’d already worked out who I am long before I admitted it to myself! I have been so blessed in how people have reacted, and I know I am lucky. Not everyone receives that same acceptance.
That moment – when God’s Spirit openly descended in the form of a dove – a sign that my people recognise, and God’s voice could be heard announcing that I am his Son and he is proud of me for revealing who I really am – well my heart burst with acceptance and joy. It is all the confirmation I needed that now is the time and here is the place.
I’m starting to grow in ways I never could grow before, in my confidence and self-esteem and in my understanding of my place in the world. I am finding that having been open about who I really am, I can live life much more freely and be who God made me to be.
I’ve taken some time away. Time to reflect and to spend time with the Father to work out how I want to do this work that I’ve been sent to do. Time to hope and to dream and to store up the energy and resources I need for the journey that lies ahead. I know the future holds both exciting times and hard times, but I couldn’t have asked for a better transition from my old life to my new life.
Coming out with who I am has made the world and its opportunities open up for me and its now for me to learn how to be this new person and grow ever more. I need to take time to adjust, and I guess others need time to adjust to the new me too. But then –with the love of God and my family and friends around me, I will be ready to face whatever comes my way with new energy and zest for life.