Have you ever said “I want to have more intimacy with God” and wondered how gain it? When I think about some of the most intimate times in a person’s life, a few situations come to mind. One’s birth is an intimate occasion. Usually, only the parents and the medical staff are present, possibly some older siblings. It is a precious time reserved for those closest to the child being born.
Other than an unforeseen accident, death is usually an intimate occasion as well. It is a time when those closest to the dying individual are by their side until the end. This is when wisdom and words of endearment are shared on a level we reach with few people.
Baptism is also a sweet time of intimacy, although there are usually a few more onlookers for baptism than a birth or death. Those who participate in someone’s baptism share a close bond that few share. It is one of the markers of life for the one baptized.
We know that Mary, mother of Jesus, was part of two of these intimate times with Jesus. Obviously, she was present for His birth [Luke 2:1-7]. She was also close by when He was crucified on the cross [John 19:25-27]. No mother should ever have to watch their child die, especially a death as brutal as crucifixion, but Mary refused to be anywhere other than by His side.
Nowhere in Scripture does it record Mary being present for Jesus’ baptism. He was thirty years old so she didn’t need to be by His side constantly as if He were a young child. His cousin, however, not only was present, John was given the privilege of baptizing Jesus. Can you imagine, baptizing God? No wonder John protested when Jesus came to him to be baptized. Matthew 3:14-17 tells us John was dumbfounded by the prospect of baptizing Jesus. He said “I need to be baptized by You. Why are you coming to me?” Jesus was so tender with his cousin when He replied, “This is the way it has to be now. This is the proper way to do everything that God requires of us.” Immediately, Jesus made it an “us” thing instead of a “you” thing. I love that! Jesus declared in that one little word that He knew John was with Him in this.
So why were Mary and John allowed to be part of such intimate occasions with Jesus when few others were involved? Simple, really; both Mary and John were completely obedient to God, even when it wasn’t easy. Can you imagine being a young Jewish girl, betrothed to be married and having to walk around pregnant? I remember girls walking down the hallway of my high school pregnant and the things people said about it. Mary’s life of obedience couldn’t have been an easy one.
John wasn’t exactly the most popular in his neighborhood. After all, he would call out the Pharisees when they tried to act as if they were so high and mighty [John 13:7-12]. Not only that, he dressed funny and he ate bugs, but he obeyed God even when it wasn’t popular.
If we want true intimacy with God, we have to be willing to be as obedient and dedicated to the Him as Mary and John were; more concerned about what He thinks of us than what mankind thinks of us. Then, and only then, will we share in the deep level of intimacy Mary and John shared. Intimacy comes with a high price, but the rewards are immeasurable. Are you willing to sign up? You won’t regret it.