Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
When Jesus got baptized in the Jordan River, it was his second epiphany. He was with people who wanted to confess their sins and be baptized. But why did Jesus, believed to be sinless, get baptized? Why did he need John's baptism? John hinted at a deeper meaning behind the event. It reveals something about who Jesus is and why he came to Earth.
In Jesus' baptism, a dramatic revelation takes place. The heavens are torn apart, and the Holy Spirit descends upon Jesus as he emerges from the water. This Spirit will remain with him throughout his public ministry and passion. Then, a voice speaks from heaven, offering a commentary on what is happening: "You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased". This voice is identified as that of his Abba, his dear Father. Take a moment to reflect on this scene and allow yourself to be drawn into the embrace of the three persons of the Trinity, who are all participating in this baptismal ritual.
Jesus' baptism provides us with a glimpse into a significant religious moment. He knows his identity, and the imprint of the Spirit has sealed his life. By joining the queue of people for John's baptism, he immersed himself in the life of the people, wanting to share their joys and sorrows. In the depths of the water, he entered into the depths of his humanity and the depths of his people. Jesus has entered into that part of all of us that laughs and sings, dances and cries, feels for the sick and the suffering and desires the best for self and others. As he was baptized into the life of his people and the God of his ancestors, nothing human is foreign to him.
Imagine standing in the shallows, the water flowing around your ankles, witnessing the scene unfolding before you. Picture it in your mind. You see a young man from Nazareth joining the queue, waiting for John's baptism. It's a symbol of purification and birth - coming up out of the waters of the womb into a new life as a beloved child of his Abba.
Lord, remind me that I, too, bear your seal of approval. Your Spirit marks me, called to participate in your mission as your beloved son or daughter. John knows his identity and his place in the unfolding plan of God. He is the instrument that points people beyond himself towards Jesus. Who are the 'John the Baptist' figures in our own life? When I realize you love and are well pleased with me, it is like the start of a new life. Hearing your voice, I know I have a purpose and a destiny.
The Mar Thoma Church, Santa Cruz,Mumbai
Christian Education Forum, Diocese of NAE of the Mar Thoma Church