Scripture Reading: Mark 1:4-11
[John] proclaimed, ‘The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.’
In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.’ — Mark 1:7-11
Baby dedications or christenings, baptisms, weddings, initiations, commissionings, ordinations all are rituals of beginnings. These are momentous occasions where something comes to fruition and starts something new. The baptism that John practiced acknowledged the end of slavery to sin and the beginning of living into forgiveness.
Now Jesus stands before John and asked for baptism. Why? He by all accounts is not in need of forgiveness. He had been dedicated appropriately at birth and made his trip to the temple at the age of 12, but we know little else about him until this moment as he asks to be baptized. In a very real sense, he is witnessing to his being fully human, fully capable of sin. In another sense he is setting an example for future followers of the need to turn around from their way of being and follow a new way, his way. But it also serves to mark the beginning of his ministry, transferring the mantle of leadership from John to Jesus.
I thank God for God’s plan of new beginnings because I have experienced them in my life sometimes by choice but other times due to situations beyond my control. I have mourned the loss of what was and feared the future of what was to be and I can attest that God can make all things new and clean and good.
Prayer: Thank you Lord for the richness of your renewal to wholeness. Keep me ever in the palm of your hand in all my future beginnings. Amen.
All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights reserved.