The Holy Spirit descended on Jesus in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.” Luke 3:22
at the baptism of Jesus in the river Jordan
you proclaimed him your beloved Son,
and anointed him with the Holy Spirit:
grant that all who are baptised into his name
may keep the covenant they have made,
and boldly confess him as Lord and Saviour;
who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns,
one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.
- Isaiah 43:1-7
- Psalm 29
- Acts 8:14-17
- Luke 3:15-22
- Isaiah 62:1-5
- Psalm 36:5-10
- 1 Corinthians 12:1-11
- John 2:1-11
A Thought to Ponder
Baptism of the Lord – Luke 3:15-22
After Jesus was baptised, heaven opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
Today’s Gospel is the final event of the Epiphany: Jesus’ baptism at the Jordan River by John. The Christmas season “officially” (liturgically) comes to an end today at the banks of the Jordan. Jesus is no longer the child in a Bethlehem manger but the adult Redeemer making his way to Jerusalem. The good news spoken by the angels continues to unfold; the most wondrous part of the Christ story is yet to be revealed. Today, the same Spirit that “anoints” the Messiah for his mission is to be about the work of Christmas in this new year: to seek out and find the lost, to heal the hurting, to feed the hungry, to free the imprisoned, to rebuild nations, to bring peace to all peoples everywhere.
Luke presents Jesus as the last person to be baptised by John, bringing John’s ministry to completion. Luke describes the scene with many images from the First Testament:
- the sky opens (“Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down” – Isaiah 63: 19)
- the Spirit “descended upon him like a dove” (many rabbis likened the wind above the waters at the dawn of Genesis to a dove hovering above its newborn; in employing this image, Luke suggests that, in this Jesus, a new Genesis is about to take place)
- the “voice from heaven” identifies and confirms Jesus as God’s “beloved son”.
Jesus’ baptism at the Jordan becomes the moment of God’s “anointing” of his Messiah (the word Messiah means “anointed”) for the work he is about to do.
Baptism is more than just a “naming” ceremony but an ongoing process of becoming the people of faith that God calls us to be.
In baptism, we claim the name of “Christian” and embrace all that that holy name means: to live for others rather than for ourselves, in imitation of Christ.
Our baptisms made each one of us the “servant” of today’s readings: to bring forth in our world the justice, reconciliation, and enlightenment of Christ, the “beloved Son” and “favour” of God.
In baptism, the same Spirit of compassion, justice and peace that “descends” upon Jesus at his baptism by John descends and rests upon us, compelling us to take on the work of the Gospel.
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