Christ’s Baptism in the Jordan
Jesus’ public life begins with his baptism by John in the River Jordan. This gospel text is rich in meaning for us. John preaches a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. As we know, when Jesus presents himself for Baptism John hesitates and tries to dissuade him. But Christ insists on being baptised. This baptism of Jesus is his formal acceptance and inauguration of his mission to bring salvation to the people.
He allows his humanity to show through and although he has not sinned himself, he permits himself to be numbered among sinners. Although he is already the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, he is submitting himself entirely to his Father’s will by consenting to this baptism which will lead to his death on the cross for the remission of our sins.
From heaven the Father proclaims his entire delight in him. Although Jesus is already at one with the Spirit he comes to rest on him at the moment of his Baptism. The word Christ comes from the Greek translation of the Hebrew ‘Messiah’ which means ‘anointed’. This baptism in the Jordan is also highly symbolic as the moment when, through being anointed with the Spirit, Jesus is revealed as the Messiah and the Holy One of God. It is one of the occasions when we see most clearly Christ’s divinity and humanity together. We remember that through our own baptism we are cleansed of our sins and can really believe in Christ as the Messiah who comes to save us.
Father Alex McAllister SDS