This year our Gospel readings will come from the Gospel of Mark. For this first week of 2012 we read the story of Jesus’ baptism. John the Baptist received his name because he baptized Jesus and many people before. His baptism is often referred to as a baptism of repentance. Those coming to be baptized by John were baptized as a sign of their repentance and a pledge of a new conscience. John said that he baptized people in water but someone was coming who would “baptize you with the Holy Spirit”.
The one that John was speaking of was himself baptized by John. Jesus submitted to a baptism that John didn’t believe he needed. The baptism of Jesus should not be overlooked. The story of Christ’s birth appears in two Gospels. The baptism of Jesus is in all four. (It is strongly implied in John.) . Recounting the story of the baptism of Jesus Christ is important, but why?
Let me encourage you to reflect on the baptism of Jesus this week. Begin by asking why recording his baptism was so important. Is there some symbolism in it? What does it mean for the church? What does it mean for you?
“Father in heaven, who at the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan proclaimed him your beloved Son and anointed him with the Holy Spirit: Grant that all who are baptized into his Name may keep the covenant they have made, and boldly confess him as Lord and Savior; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.”