Sunday, January 13, 2008

Baptism of the Lord

Is 42:1-4, 6-7
Acts 10:34-38
Mt 3:13-17

It’s ridiculous. That’s all it can be, simply ridiculous. The Christ, the Messiah, the Second Person of the Trinity, the Word made Flesh, seeks to be baptized by a mere human being. The one through whom all things were made seeks baptism from one who was made. The Messiah seeks a baptism of repentance. Repentance for what? The spotless Lamb has nothing to repent! It seems absolutely ridiculous. Even John looks at the Christ and says, don’t you have this backwards? You should baptize me, not the other way round. But the Christ says to him, “Allow it now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” So John relents and does as Jesus asks. Jesus sought baptism for one reason. Yes Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, the Second Person of the Trinity, Jesus is divine, but Jesus is also human. Jesus is one of us, like us in every way but sin. So why baptism? To demonstrate to us that Jesus is indeed one of us. God and human. In baptism Jesus takes on our burden in preparation for ministering to the people. Jesus is baptized as he prepares to face temptation, as he prepares to spread the Good News of the Kingdom of God. For us baptism is our preparation, our entry into the Body of Christ. Jesus was baptized to show solidarity with us. We are baptized to become one in Christ. At Jesus baptism the Spirit descends like a dove and God says this is my beloved in whom I am well pleased. At our baptism we are recognized as well, as God takes us in making us children of God, one Body, united in Christ. Perhaps then this baptism is not so ridiculous a notion after all.

Deacon John
The Baptism of the Lord
Jan. 13, 2008