January 9, 2005 - Baptism of the Lord - Epiphany 1

Matthew 3:13-17

3 • 13 At that time Jesus arrived from Galilee and came to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. 14 But John tried to prevent him, and said, "How is it you come to me: I should be baptized by you!"

15 But Jesus answered him, "Let it be like that for now that we may fulfill the right order." John agreed.

16 As soon as he was baptized, Jesus came up from the water. At once, the heavens opened and he saw the Spirit of God come down like a dove and rest upon him. 17 At the same time a voice from heaven was heard, "This is my Son, the Beloved; he is my Chosen One."

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• 13. In this baptism Jesus identifies himself with his people, more precisely with this world of "untitled" people who went to hear a call to conversion. For him it is an occasion of deep religious experience recalling that of the great prophets. What the voice says gives Jesus his mission. He will be Son and Servant of the Father (Ps 2 and Is 42:1).

[The Community Christian Bible]

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1. John has been preaching, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near." The people came confessing their sins and were baptized. If Jesus is identifying himself with his people, what sins did he come confessing that he might receive a baptism from John?

John doesn't seem to like this thought that a Messiah would come without a charger and have the experience of a human. So John tries to get out of the situation by cutting Jesus off and trying to reverse the actors.

How often we let our preconceived notions get in the way. Is it crucial to you that Jesus was sinless? was fully human? If sinless and human, is that a challenge to you regarding your own life and the possibility you have to imitate Jesus? If only sinless or only human, what do you do with half a Jesus?

2. Yes, we come with so many rules and regulations about how life should be. One of the most freeing stances in the midst of life is the simple, "Let it be like this for now." When we begin to live that way it is the great stress relief and the great psychedelic that gets us beyond. When we have lived that way for awhile we are open to being a prophet, being a saint, being a teacher, being a revealer of other's lives to themselves.

3. In the 24th chapter we hear, "As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man." If we pick up that image we hear overtones to a dove coming to land on Jesus to bring back to all of us lost on floodwaters with no port in sight -- a sign of peace, of hope. As a baptized follower of Jesus, may a dove fly from your words and behavior to the rest of the world still at sea, not to make them all like you, but let all know they are also Beloved. That sense of Belovedness is enough to change the world.

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