A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life

A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
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I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Jesus' Baptism and the Mass of Humanity

Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened,and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove (Luke 3:21-22a).

It is interesting that only Luke mentions that Jesus was baptized by John along with "all the people." In Jesus' baptism, he answers his calling and begins his ministry. And here is Luke 3:21-22, as Jesus enters the water of the Jordan River, he also identifies with the mass of humanity he has come to deliver.

In the Incarnation, God comes into the mess of the human situation. In Jesus, God, affirms the "stuff" of human existence, the very fabric of life-- being born of a woman as we all are, eating, drinking, sleeping, as we all do, laughing, crying, and suffering, as is the case with every one of us. And here in Luke 3, Jesus' symbolic act of baptism is an affirmation that he will not leave us in the mess of our existence. The cleansing water of baptism signifies the salvation he will offer to all those who are baptized with him.

And as Jesus' baptism is a response to his Father's call and indicates the form his life will take, so all those who are baptized are called to be in Jesus' mission to the world. That mission cannot happen unless our lives are newly formed, divinely shaped after the image of Jesus Christ who is the image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15).

As we remember Jesus' baptism, let us all remember our baptisms and be thankful.

3 comments:

Robert Cornwall said...

And John doesn't try to talk Jesus out of it. In fact, until the heavens open, there's no acknowledgment on John's part that Jesus is the promised one!

Of course, unlike most portrayals, as a good Disciple I believe that Jesus was immersed not sprinkled!!

Allan Bevere said...

Well, Bob...

Hopefully, Jesus found a deep enough part of the Jordan.

Robert Cornwall said...

I'm fully confident he found a nice pool of water there in the Jordan to get dunked!!