thought for the day – Epiphany day 11

Matthew 3:13-17

Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptised by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, ‘I need to be baptised by you, and do you come to me?’Jesus replied, ‘Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfil all righteousness.’ Then John consented.As soon as Jesus was baptised, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.’

I have been pondering these words since they were preached on at church this past Sunday. Why did Jesus come to be baptised when He was without sin, He had no sin from which to turn? And it struck me that this words join His earthy humaness with His divinity. Up to this point He has had no public ministry. For most people, (his parents, John and his parents aside) Jesus is simply the son of Mary and Joseph the carpenter. There is nothing special about him, nothing to indicate His divinity. So it makes sense that He too would, in their eyes at least, come and be baptised. In this act He stands with us, alongside us and our sin. He does not avoid it, He does not make out that He is better than everyone else and does not need to be baptised. He asks nothing of us that He does not do Himself. He does not need to be baptised, He should not have had to die on the cross, but in holding together His humanity and His divinity He stands with us in our place that we may know God and be with Him. And in standing with us in the waters of baptism God declares the fullness of who Jesus is – His beloved Son in whom He is well pleased. Words He speaks over us too as we stand in Christ.

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