They All Showed Up For The Party!

A note from Nonny’s youngest — It would mean so much if you would keep Connie Carlisle Polley in your thoughts, hearts, prayers, and best hopes at this time. She has been in the hospital for the last few days. Ever-diligent, Nonny prepared this blog in advance and asked me to make sure it got out to y’all today. All the best to you and those around you, Eve Carlisle Polley

Whenever we are planning a party, making up the guest list is one of the items we consider. And, of course, we wonder—sometimes almost up to the time of the event—how many people are actually going to come. I like to entertain in my home, especially for holidays, family birthdays, and friendly get-togethers. And since parties always involve serving food, you’ll find me counting chairs and setting up extra collapsible tables so there is plenty of space for everyone who shows up to be comfortable while eating and enjoying each other’s company.

Over two thousand years ago, an itinerant evangelist whom we call ‘John the Baptist’ was in the lower valley of the Jordan River preaching that the coming of the Jewish Messiah was imminent. And his message was that all (Jews and Gentiles) needed to prepare their hearts to believe in an eternal existence with God by repenting of their sins, believing in this Messiah, and being baptized as a symbol and testimony of their conversion and faith. The Gospel of Matthew gives us a glimpse into his rugged appearance and unconventional lifestyle when it tells us, “John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey.” (Holy Bible, Matthew 3:4 New International Version)

Many people were drawn to come out into the Desert of Judea “. . . from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan” (Holy Bible, Matthew 3:5 NIV) to hear John’s singular message and be baptized. John’s invitation was extended to all—Jew and Gentile of any religious background or persuasion. But unlike my loving and cordial party invitation which I offer to my family and friends, John’s invitation was not meant to make his listeners feel good but to inform them of God’s ultimate judgment of every person of every time and place. He emphasized repentance which begins with acknowledgement of transgression against God’s moral laws and includes being sorry for those misdeeds. This sorrow leads to a transformed life which produces “. . . fruit in keeping with repentance.” (Holy Bible, Matthew 3:8 NIV)

One day Jesus came from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to where John was preaching and baptizing so He Himself might be baptized. John saw Him coming and turned to the crowd to declare that the promised Messiah was approaching. When Jesus asked John to baptize him, at first John protested by saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me? (Holy Bible, Matthew 3:14 NIV) Jesus quieted John’s protests by declaring, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” (Holy Bible, Matthew 3:9 NIV) But what does that mean? Jesus was sinless but John’s baptism was to show repentance or remorse for sin. Most likely Jesus asked to be baptized in order to recognize and legitimize John’s message. Also, He was identifying Himself with humankind. And He was participating in the foretelling of His upcoming death, burial, and resurrection through immersion in the Jordan River and being lifted up out of the water. John consented to Jesus’ request. And John baptized Jesus.

The Holy Bible has many stories with the central character as God, God’s Son Jesus Christ, or the Holy Spirit. However, in this biblical account, all three persons of the Holy Trinity show up! The event is not a party in the sense that you and I are accustomed to. But Jesus’ baptism becomes a Great Reveal! Jesus steps into the water and is baptized by John. As he steps out of the Jordan River, the Holy Spirit appears overhead in the form of a dove and lights on Him. God then speaks from heaven, “This is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased.” (Holy Bible, Matthew 3:17 NIV)

An Essay of Teaching and Encouragement
By Connie Carlisle Polley, 2022

3 thoughts on “They All Showed Up For The Party!

  1. Sharon Edwards says:

    Sorry to hear that Connie is in the hospital, Eve. Would you let her know that I will be praying for her? Please keep us updated. I have such happy memories of playing with Connie when we were kids. She was a creative little person even then and I loved being with her. Sending love to you too! Sharon Edwards


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