The Baptism of Jesus

The Church celebrates the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord on 09th January 2022. Now what is Baptism and why does Jesus have the need to be baptised?

Baptism is the first sacrament that a person receives, and it opens the door to all the other sacraments. Baptism is a visible symbol of God’s love. The word “baptize” means to sprinkle or immerse in water. Water is considered both a precious product and a religious symbol for purification, renewal, and life. The water used in Baptism is a symbol of cleansing, restoring, and giving new life. Baptism is the means by which one receives the Holy Spirit. The sacrament is called “the gateway to life in the Spirit” (CCC, 1213). The bare for our Baptism is the Baptism of Jesus.

Now to answer the later part of the question, in Mk 1, 7-11 we see that Jesus approaches John and asks to be baptized. John the Baptist has been proclaiming the Gospel and baptizing those who repent for their sins, want to make right their relationship with God, and await the coming Messiah. John is astonished that Jesus, the sinless Son of God, is asking to be baptized and John feels like he should be the one asking Jesus to baptize him!

Jesus tells John that His baptism is “fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness”. Jesus is baptized as a symbol of giving His will up to His Father and the beginning of His earthly ministry. God affirmed Jesus’ baptism in a powerful way as recorded in Matthew’s Gospel. As soon as Jesus was baptized and came up out of the water, the heavens opened. John sees the Spirit of God descending like a dove upon Jesus and they hear God’s voice from heaven say “This is my Son, the beloved, whom I have approved.” The Holy Spirit descended on Jesus following His baptism. This was a sign that Jesus’ ministry was empowered by the Spirit and would usher in peace between humankind and God. As Jesus rose from the water, God the Father spoke monumental words about who Jesus was, which left no question that Jesus was indeed the anticipated Messiah and beloved Son of God.

Jesus receiving Baptism speaks of the humility of Jesus who humbled Himself to receive Baptism from John the Baptist. Jesus didn’t need to repent or turn from sin, rather, His baptism served as a sign to John, and future generations of believers, that He was the Messiah. With this confirmation in place, John’s mission to prepare the way for the Messiah was complete.

Jesus’ baptism account is a beautiful portrayal of the loving union of the Trinity – Father, Son, and Spirit. This moment in His life marked the beginning of His ministry in which He was partaking in the human experience fully as the spotless Lamb of God sent to save the world.
The baptism was a crucial first step Jesus took as He began His ministry, an approximately three-year journey that would eventually lead Him to the cross. According to Luke’s Gospel, Jesus was 30 years old when He was baptized.

Jesus, from the very beginning, was always the Lord’s Christ, He was always God. Yet, His one, true humanity, that which is perfect in every way, as the Gospel records, constantly grew in natural and supernatural perfection. ‘And Jesus increased in wisdom, in stature, and in favour with God and with men’ (Lk2:52)

At Christ’s baptism the Holy Spirit descended upon Him; at our Baptism the Trinity took its abode in our soul. At His baptism Christ was proclaimed the “Beloved Son” of the Father; at our Baptism we become the children of God. At Christ’s baptism the heavens were opened; at our Baptism heaven was opened to us.

We too have been blessed by the same Spirit who guides us, sanctifies us and is our helper. The Holy Spirit is of vital importance in our life. It is through Him that the Character of Christ is revealed in us.
Having the Holy Spirit with us means having power to be a witness. To tell people about what Jesus did for them on the cross and how He conquered death and reigns victoriously! Don’t shy away from being an advocate for Christ; it’s what you are called to do. Allow the Spirit to empower you for the Kingdom purpose of making disciples!

-Bazia DCosta e Ferrao