The Gospel according to Matthew (3:13-17)
Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. John tried to prevent him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and yet you are coming to me?” Jesus said to him in reply, “Allow it now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed him. After Jesus was baptized, he came up from the water and behold, the heavens were opened for him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming upon him. And a voice came from the heavens, saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
Reflection: The salvation of mankind is under way in the person of Jesus. At our baptism, we were called to “Receive the light of Christ” and keep it “burning brightly” in our service to family, friends, strangers, the marginalized, the ignored, and the forgotten. Jesus obviously didn’t need to be Baptized and yet, He was here on earth to serve a purpose. He could easily command all of us to be baptized but yet the humble King that He was, He showed us by example. Let’s reflect on some reasons why Jesus chose to be Baptized.
He was a King: Jesus wanted to identify with us and giving us a way to identify with Him. Jesus could’ve sat on a throne in some castle, but He chose to be one of us. He wanted to prove to us that the richness in love and friendship is more valuable than wealth.
Consecrated To Serve As A Priest, Prophet, And King:
Jesus is placed in the water as an act of cleansing and setting apart for ministry. His baptism was, in a sense, His coronation as King, or His ordination, or His consecration as our Great High Priest.
Setting An Example for Us: Jesus didn’t need to repent of any sin, He wanted to display His humility by going through with baptism. Jesus wants us to not just internally make the decision to follow Him, but to publicly proclaim it. “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven.” (Matthew 10:32)
His Baptism Proclaimed God’s Approval Of Jesus:
Jesus was and still is our sin bearer. Matthew tells us, “As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him.” In Luke 3:22 Luke tells us that, “the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove.”
Jesus, at the age of about “30ish”, left His family and work behind in Nazareth and stood in line with the crowds from so many places coming to John at the River Jordan for baptism and the forgiveness of their sins. Somehow John recognizes him as “the one more powerful than I” who was to come and who rightly should be baptizing him. But Jesus insists, “It’s proper for us” to carry out the saving plan of God. He sets the example of “Taking Action”. Not just sitting there and pondering it but making the effort of what He is asking you to do.
Action of the Day: What is it that identifies with you and what are you supposed to do?