Could you imagine if they were the same as kids as they were as adults? No one would want to play games with Jesus because he was so perfect…he hit a home run every time. And no one would trade lunches with John because all he ever had was honey and grasshoppers. Yuck!
But eventually, they grew up. Jesus, the carpenter, and John, the voice of one crying in the wilderness, “Prepare the way for the Lord. Repent!” John the preacher, who was baptizing people in the Jordan River. And he lets everyone know he is not the Messiah. “I baptize you with water, but the one coming after me will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
Then came that fateful day. The story of John’s preaching and Jesus’ baptism is the first story to appear in all four gospels because Jesus’ ministry begins here. Most people ask, why would Jesus even need to be baptized? Even John said,
“I need to be baptized by you and yet you are coming to me?”
I love this explanation from a sermon by Saint Maximus of Turin entitled,
The mystery of the Lord’s baptism:
The Gospel tells us that the Lord went to the Jordan River to be baptized and that he wished to consecrate himself in the river by signs from heaven. Reason demands that this feast of the Lord’s baptism, should follow soon after the Lord’s birthday, during the same season, even though many years intervened between the two events.
At Christmas he was born a man; today he is reborn sacramentally. Then he was born from the Virgin; today he is born in mystery. When he was born a man, his mother Mary held him close to her heart; when he is born in mystery, God the Father embraces him with his voice when he says: This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased: listen to him.
The mother caresses the tender baby on her lap; the Father serves his Son by his loving testimony. The mother holds the child for the Magi to adore; the Father reveals that his Son is to be worshiped by all the nations. That is why the Lord Jesus went to the river for baptism: that is why he wanted his holy body to be washed with Jordan’s water.
There is another first in this story. This is the first time scripturally that the Trinity is mentioned, Jesus being baptized, the Father’s voice is heard and the Holy Spirit descends in the form of a dove.
As His baptism was the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, our baptism is the beginning of our ministry. No, we’re not all ordained to the ministry as our priests and deacons are, we are called to live a life of ministry, in whatever way the Lord leads us.
I’ve mentioned before that I lost my firstborn son back in April 24, 1987. He only lived for nine minutes but the one thing I did before he died was to hold him in my arms and baptize him. It wasn’t like he was not going straight back to heaven, but I wanted him to know, that Larry Guadalupe Gallegos is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased. So I always remember April 24, 1987 as his birthday, the day he died and his baptism day. Here’s my Baptismal Certificate. My birthday is March 21, 1958 and I was baptized at San Jose Church on South Broadway on April 6, 1958 which is my baptism day. I usually treat myself to a favorite meal and sometimes even take the day off to celebrate they day my ministry started.
Baptism is a gift from God to His children. Now whether the choice is made by parents of a child or by a person old enough to make the choice to be baptized on their own, it is a choice that is available to all the children of God and with it, we accept that God is our Father. God has no grandchildren…only children, so we must be cleansed in the water the way our brother Jesus chose to do.
So I ask all of you, if you don’t know it already, to find out and mark the day of your baptism on your calendar, and celebrate it because each of us is beloved, God is well pleased with us too!