Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.
Jesus’ baptism displays a major theme of his life and teaching: the humble are lifted up, and the mighty and prideful are undermined. John believes he isn’t worthy to baptize Jesus; this is what makes him worthy. Jesus recognizes this and humbles himself to be baptized by John.
His baptism is the start of Jesus’ work. Baptism—going under the water; coming up out of the water—symbolizes transformation: from death to life, from a life hidden in the depths to one public and open.
After his baptism “the heavens were opened”: a new sort of life became possible. A new start is always available and open to me, too. But only when I humbly commit to being transformed. Only when I recognize the death in my life—my old way of living, my destructive patterns of behavior.
It will come through people we might be tempted to overlook and ignore. But if we embrace the vision of that abundant life, and open ourselves to those around us, there is new, abundant life available.
- What paths of death or destruction are you on? How is pride preventing you from a fresh start?
- What people are you ignoring who might offer transformation?
- How do you imagine a fresh, new, abundant life for yourself?