Today we celebrate the Baptism of the Lord. This is a significant event as Jesus transitions from his old life into his new one. We don’t have any information in the New Testament about what Jesus’ life was like as a child or as a young man. We can only assume he would have been educated alongside his friends and helped his father Joseph with his carpentry work. Then we have this vivid scene upon us, almost from nowhere — Heaven opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him, and a voice came from heaven saying “You are my Son, the Beloved; my favour rests on you”.
Jesus becomes visible as the Son of God.
I’m not sure whether you have pondered on the setting? In the heat of the day, down by the river Jordan, waiting by the muddy shoreline there may have been hundreds of people seeking baptism from John. Imagine now you are at the top of the hill looking down as you prepare to join them … and there in the midst is Jesus who has come from Galilee to be baptised by John. He would have been just one more person, shoulder to shoulder with all the other people standing in that muddy water. Jesus would have been unremarkable; he would have looked no different. Although he would have looked just the same, we know of course he was very different …. he was the Son of God sent to save them, all those who stood near him, and to save us.
This is quite remarkable. Here is God, incarnate through Jesus standing there in human form, in the heat and the mud and the everyday living. God cares so much for his people that he puts himself right at the centre of our humanity, right alongside us to share in our lives and our suffering. This baptism was a defining moment in the life of Jesus, it marked the beginning of his public ministry.
When we are baptised, we too start a new beginning, a new journey which will last a lifetime as we continually strive to live out our lives as a disciple of Jesus.