DOES JESUS NEED BAPTISM: WHY WAS HE BAPTISED? Prayer Reflection for the Baptism of the Lord.

If baptism washes away sins, makes us children of God and members of the church, why then was Jesus baptized since he is sinless, the Son of God and the founder of the Church? Or is there something different from the baptism he received and that we received? If these questions bother you, then read slowly...

Mark 1:7-11
In the course of his preaching, John the Baptist said: ‘Someone is following me, someone, who is more powerful than I am, and I am not fit to kneel down and undo the strap of his sandals. I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.’ It was at this time that Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized in the Jordan by John. No sooner had he come up out of the water than he saw the heavens are torn apart and the Spirit, like a dove, descending on him. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; my favour rests on you.’

POINTS FOR REFLECTION 
1. Child of God, indeed Jesus need not baptism; though he is like us in everything but sin hence the bible says: "He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth." (1Pet.2:22) and at his baptism, the voice of the father confirmed him as the "Beloved." He did not contract original sin-the sin of Adam from his Mother, Mary because she was already preserved for that purpose. 
2. If He did not need baptism, why then was he baptized, what is the effect of his baptism, and is there any difference between his baptism and ours?
Christ accepted the baptism from John not to cleanse himself but 'to do justice to God's plan' (Matt. 3:15) and that plan is to cleanse sinful humanity whose body He the Beloved of the father now assumes. Hence when he went into the Jordan river, he went down with humanity burying her sins in the water, and when he rose from the water, he raises her to new life. Therefore by this symbolic act, he institutes the sacrament as preparation and entrance into the divine life. This is God's plan.

3. St Gregory Nazianzen commenting on the baptism of Christ says: "John is baptizing when Jesus draws near. Perhaps he comes to sanctify his baptizer; certainly, he comes to bury sinful humanity in the waters. He comes to sanctify the Jordan for our sake and in readiness for us; he who is spirit and flesh comes to begin a new creation through the Spirit and water...Jesus rises from the waters; the world rises with him. The heavens, like Paradise with its flaming sword, closed by Adam for himself and his descendants, are rent open." Thus the effect of Christ's baptism is not for Jesus, but for us. Hence Jesus' baptism leaves an effect on us and that effect is the invitation to share in the Divine life. 
3. The difference between Christ's baptism and ours is this: He received a baptism of repentance from John while we received a baptism of the Holy Spirit- one that not only washes away sins but also gives one the Holy Spirit who inscribes an indelible mark of ownership on us. Hence John proclaimed "I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."

TASK: At the baptism of Christ the voice of the Father confirmed Jesus's identity. At your baptism, you were given an identity conference by the new name given to you. Are you still connected to your destiny? Do you whose you are?
River Jordan in modern times: do you remember where you were baptized?


© Fr. SimOne Madu, OSJ 

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4 Comments

  1. I really do love your intros to your homily....they're really really very captivating....

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  2. God bless you brother. Thank you. Please share

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  3. This is enriching and interesting. Thanks dear padre. May God keep you safe and bless you more.

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  4. Thanks and God bless you for reading.

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