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 1:9-11
Before he began his public ministry, Jesus made the decision to be baptized as a way of setting an example for those who would follow him. It is through the events of Jesus’ baptism that we are, therefore, able to learn what baptism also means for us. Just as baptism marked the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, baptism also marks the beginning of new kind of life for those who follow him. It is a life that is marked by the presence of the Holy Spirit, God’s blessing and acceptance, and a renewed sense of family.
As he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him.
When Jesus comes out of the water at his baptism, he is greeted by the presence of the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove. Jesus could not begin his ministry without the help of the Holy Spirit, so neither can we begin to live the kind of life God has invited us into on our own. The role of the Holy Spirit is to comfort and offer guidance, so that we can live as abundantly and faithfully as Jesus lived.
If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you. John 14:15-17
And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.
The first voice that Jesus heard when he emerged from his baptism was that of the Father speaking words of blessing and acceptance over him. These words are evidence to Jesus, and by extension to us, that the love of God is not dependent upon our successes or failures. To be baptized is to be known as the Beloved of God. We can, therefore, live freely before him in the pursuit of faithfulness without fear of condemnation or rejection.
God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgment, because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:16-19
And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son…”
In the presence of the Holy Spirit, God the Father reminded Jesus that he was first and foremost a Son. Jesus could begin his ministry knowing that he belonged to the family of God, and therefore, he would never be alone. It is through baptism and inclusion in the body of Christ, the Church, that we too are welcomed into God’s family. And it is through baptism that we too are given the assurance that we have a place to belong.
For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. 1 Corinthians 12-13
In an effort to honor the diversity found within our congregation, we have adopted a dual approach to the blessing and baptism of small children. For more information, please click the button below.