Epiphany 1 :: The Baptism of Christ

Matthew 3.13-17

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Da Vinci: Baptism of Christ

Do you remember your baptism? Well, probably not if you were a baby when baptized!

In many ways this is too bad. Baptism marks not just the initiation of someone into the household of faith but recognizes and celebrates one’s involvement in the plan of God for the salvation of the world. Such a momentous event is hard to forget—unless, of course, you were too young to remember.

This is why reading and hearing the stories of Jesus’ baptism is so important to us today. The act of going down into the Jordan River and being dunked in the murky waters might not have been such a powerful event for Jesus; after all, he didn’t need to be baptized for the forgiveness of his sins, right? But his baptism was—and is—significant for those who witnessed it and perhaps more especially for us today. The cleansing action of baptism—water washing away the stain of sin—has long been used by many different faith traditions as a ritualized act of preparedness for the setting aside of a person for some special purpose or cause. Any great undertaking—taking on or renewing a vow, embarking on a spiritual quest of intentional prayer, or setting one’s-self apart for a particular Godly purpose—is often begun with a ritual action of some kind. Baptism fulfills such a purpose.

And so it is right that Jesus’ ministry begin in this way. A cleansing. A setting apart for special use. This is my Son, the Beloved. From this moment on nothing will be the same. From this time forth all is changed. God’s plan of salvation continues.

Something to ponder: What special purpose did God set for you at your baptism?


Link to the RCL Lectionary for the First Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A

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