10th January 2016 – Baptism of Jesus

The Baptiser called people to change,
to turn around,
away from old ways
and mark that turning
in baptism.

When Jesus had been baptised
his identity was established
and the nature of his ministry
marked out.

But some still ask,
“What was Jesus doing there?
Why should he be baptised
for the forgiveness of sin?”

In baptism
Jesus identifies with humanity
while his one-ness with God
is also declared.

This epiphany,
this surprising
self-revelation by God
is not self-revelation for its own sake,
but revelation of God’s continuing faithfulness.

As a young child
I almost drowned
during a family outing
to the beach.
I remember frantically struggling in the water
and glimpsing,
amidst my struggles,
my father wading through the water
towards me.
He lifted me
out of the water,
clear of the danger,
clasped me to himself
and carried me
to the sandy beach.
I was safe …
and given new life.

The firm, warm hug of my father
and my mother
re-assured me,
and expressed the inexpressible,
“You are my child, whom I love,
and in whom I delight.”

In baptism
we are both plunged
into mission of Jesus
and lifted up, embraced, affirmed, loved …
and given new life.

Baptism is a personal and corporate experience;
both the individual and the community of faith
are changed.
Baptism is an epiphany,
a sign of God’s grace
and while the voice of the LORD is powerful,
full of majesty,
flashes forth flames of fire,
shakes the wilderness,
and strips the forest bare
with the energy of duststorm, bushfire, flood or cyclone;
the voice of the LORD also says
I have called you by name, you are mine …
© Jeff Shrowder, 2015.
  More for Baptism of Jesus …