How often do we feel inadequate for what God has called us to do? You know that feeling when God has placed a calling on your life, and you’ve ignored it out of fear of not being ‘enough’? Maybe you’ve felt like you are not smart enough, not brave enough, or maybe just not good enough. I’ve experienced this feeling of inadequacy personally, and I’m sure you have as well. I’ve heard it said all my life: “God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called”. If only we could remember that in these moments of fear, right? The good news is we’re not alone in feeling this way.
When we look at Matthew 3, I see this same old story play out through the story of Jesus’ baptism. John the Baptist had been preparing the way for Jesus’ arrival by teaching and baptizing those who repented of their sins. But when that same Messiah, Jesus, came to the Jordan to be baptized by John he was filled with that same feeling of inadequacy that you and I have felt. The scriptures say that John tried to talk him out of it saying, “I am the one who needs to be baptized by You, so why are You coming to me?”
I want you to notice that John’s hesitation in baptizing Jesus stemmed from a place of pure faith. John the Baptist knew that Jesus was sinless and had no need to repent, and in turn didn’t need to be baptized. When he says, “I am the one who needs to be baptized by You”, it was a recognition of Jesus’ sinless life, and a statement of belief. Earlier in the chapter John stated, “Someone is coming soon who is greater than I am - so much greater that I’m not worthy even to be able to carry His sandals”. John the Baptist had a strong understanding of his inadequacy to be the person who baptized Jesus, but he didn’t let that stop him from accomplishing what God had planned.
In verse 15 Jesus responds with an interesting statement. He says that he must be baptized in order to carry out all that God requires. Other versions say in order to "fulfill all righteousness". Jesus’s baptism was a two-fold mission. First, it confirmed the message of John’s teaching that the Savior, who had been prophesied, was coming to take away the sins of the world. Secondly, it was an affirmation of John the Baptist’s ministry. Jesus was baptized by John in order to confirm the calling and ministry of his life.
How comforting is it to know that we don’t serve a God who is troubled by our feeling of inadequacy? Not only is He not bothered by it, but He also comforts us with His presence in times of need. I look at this scripture and see that our God isn’t angry or disappointed in John the Baptist’s hesitation. He confirms the message he was teaching and affirms him in his calling. The good news is that the same God who comforted John the Baptist is alive today and will comfort you in your time of need.
The truth of the matter today is you and I aren’t qualified for what God has called us to. But through God’s grace and presence in our lives, we’re able to fulfill the plan He has for each one of us. The challenge we’re faced with as believers, is to take that feeling of inadequacy and surrender it to God. When we do that, God replaces that feeling with deeper trust in Him.
I’m not sure what area of your life you feel inadequate today, but my prayer is that you find God’s comfort in the midst of it. Just as John the Baptist was comforted when it came to Jesus’ baptism, you and I can experience that same comfort when we place our faith in Him today. Whether you feel small compared to the giant that lies in front of you, or feel like you’re not worthy of the position you’re in, remember, God has called you and will comfort you on your journey.