Baptism As A Sign Of Our Commitment
January 07, 2024
Readings: Isaiah 42: 1-9
1st Sunday After Epiphany
We look at the event we celebrate today, which is the Baptism of Jesus Christ. This speaks so loudly of God’s love for us. After his birth, the holy family first settled in Egypt until the death of King Herod. After which they moved to Nazareth, where he was trained and taught by his earthly parents, and doing chores and carpentry work with Joseph. When he reached 12 years old, he was seen talking with the elders and scribes inside the temple with great wisdom and understanding of His mission. He was being prepared for 30 years and knew the vision. John at this time had been preaching in the wilderness. When it came to a point that Jesus’ time to begin His Ministry was at hand, He knew that the sign was His baptism in the River Jordan. So Jesus approached John and was baptized. When He came out of the water, the heavens opened and a voice said, “This is my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” In the beginning, the heavens and the earth were opened because they were united. But when sin came, the heavens closed. During the Baptism, the heavens opened, signifying that God was taking back the earth to be one with heaven, no longer separated but unified. There was also the descending of the Dove, representing the Holy Spirit and empowering Jesus.
In a similar vein in the Old Testament, God had asked Abraham to sacrifice his own son, Isaac. Abraham trusted God fully and obeyed Him. His son then asked him, “but where is the sacrifice?” Abraham responded, “The Lord will provide.” Abraham had such great faith and he put it into action. For faith without works is dead. Abraham acted on what he believed in, that God will provide the sacrifice. During the time of John the Baptist and Jesus, the circumstances around them were simple. This should say to us that when we are baptized, we should have the understanding that we are being filled with His power. Jesus’ baptism was a sign of commitment. He gave His all. He was willing to pay the price and submitted Himself to God. James 2:26 “For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, even so faith apart from works is dead.”
If we do not receive what God wants us to do, it is not His fault but ours. God does not play favorites. It doesn’t matter who we are. He treats us all the same. John was chosen by God to baptize Jesus. He had no fancy vestments on. There was no cathedral, no choir – only the reality. God is with us all the way. He is right beside us. The Jordan River was a very significant river. Naaman the Leper did exactly what the man of God told him to do, he went down the Jordan River and dipped himself seven times. When he finished, his skin became pure and clean. His skin was as soft as a baby’s. May Jesus’ baptism serve as an inspiration for us. And may we learn to put our faith into action.