Jesus' Baptism and the Mass of Humanity
The Baptism of the Lord (Year C)
Old Testament: Isaiah 43:1-7
Psalter: Psalm 29
Epistle: Acts 8:14-17
Gospel: Luke 3:15-17, 21-22
God of grace and glory, you call us with your voice of flame to be your people, faithful and courageous. As your beloved Son embraced his mission in the waters of baptism, inspire us with the fire of your Spirit to join in his transforming work. We ask this in the name of our Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.
It is interesting that only Luke mentions that Jesus was baptized by John along with “all the people."“ In Jesus’ baptism, he answers the Heavenly Father’s calling and begins his ministry. In Luke 3:21-22, as Jesus enters the water of the Jordan River, the Messiah 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.
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