January 13, 2002

Matthew 3:13-17

Jesus then appeared, arriving at the Jordan River from Galilee. He wanted John to baptize him. John objected, "I'm the one who needs to be baptized, not you!"

But Jesus insisted. "Do it. God's work, putting things right all these centuries, is coming together right now in this baptism." So John did it.

The moment Jesus came up out of the baptismal waters, the skies opened up and he saw God's Spirit - it looked like a dove - descending and landing on him. And along with the Spirit, a voice: "This is my Son, chosen and marked by my love, delight of my life."

<The Message >


1. "...whatever may be guessed about the baptism that Jesus will administer, there remains the still more remarkable fact that God Incarnate has begun his redemptive work with an act of public repentance. Everything that will follow, the entire public life of God-made-man, will be performed under the sign of this repentance. The fact bears repeating: God has repented! But of what? What has he done wrong? As these disturbing questions swirl in the air, God's great enemy, the Devil, suddenly takes notice."

This paragraph from Jack Miles recent book, "Christ: A Crisis in the Life of God" certainly raises some intriguing questions. Have you thought of GOD having to repent? There are certainly times recorded in the scripture when GOD changes GOD's mind and essentially says, "I won't make that mistake again."

While, we, like John, are try to protect GOD from needing to grow through repentance, the baptism goes ahead.

2. We can look at our own baptism as a sign of acknowledging our belovedness, our choosenness, from the outside. We can join Jesus in beginning to live out this wonderful affirmation.

It is interesting to reflect on this beginning of Jesus' ministry as an internal healing within the image of the Trinity. What does it mean for The Triune GOD to be baptized?

3. This might be one of those moments which upsets everyone. Those who focus on the humanity of Jesus will resist this picture because of the Trinitarian imagery. Likewise those who focus on the divinity of Christ will resist the need for the Godhead to repent.

All-in-all, what a way to start moving toward what it means for us to begin manifesting the presence of GOD in our lives. Are we focused on the outside stuff that is done to us or the inside stuff which grows wider and deeper? If it is not both, what sort of trouble are we cruising toward?

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