13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. 14 But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 15 Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented. 16 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 alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
John felt inadequate when it came to baptising his cousin, Jesus. Understandably John felt it should be around the other way ie. Jesus baptising him. Jesus tells John that God requires it to be done that way and John therefore gets on board and baptises Jesus. As Jesus came up out of the water the Spirit of God came upon him and God’s voice could be heard affirming that this was indeed his son and he was pleased with him.
I am struck by a few things in the passage. Firstly, the baptism of Jesus was unlike any other – how often does the Holy Spirit descend in the likeness of a dove and the audible voice of God is heard? This was indeed God’s son. Jesus also knew what God required and saw it accomplished. John felt inadequate to the task at hand, but Jesus knew the will of God and encouraged John to fulfil it despite his misgivings. This serves as a wonderful reminder that just because you feel incompetent, lacking etc you can still fulfil what God requires. The tip is to talk to Jesus as he knows God’s will and will encourage you the same way he encouraged John. Finally, and this is my favourite part where God states that Jesus is his son, who brings him joy and is well pleased with. This occurred before Jesus began his ministry. God loved Jesus for who he was – his son first and foremost. It is significant that this happened at the time of his baptism – Jesus’ identity was affirmed. Baptism is powerful for the son of God and his followers who continue to come after him.
Dear Lord, thank you that Jesus helps us understand what you require of each of us. Thank you Jesus for guiding and helping us in our inadequacies to understand and fulfil your will. Amen
Written by Ps. Ainslie Woods