Today as we are celebrating the Baptism of Jesus, the Lord is inviting us to become a covenant people like Jesus through whom God’s covenant was fulfilled. While Jesus baptism was a fulfillment of God’s promise, God is seeking a lot more of his children to continue the legacy of Christ in this world. For God called us by name, created us in his image, made us heirs of heaven, and thus invited us to become like his own son, by being righteous.
But why did Jesus get baptized as Jesus was born without sin? Jesus was without sin. Baptism was for the sinners. This always puzzled me. I didn’t understand the reason for Christ the savior to be baptized by John, who after all was a simple prophet lesser than Christ himself.
Baptism of Christ was a fulfillment of God’s promise to humanity that I will be with you everyday of your life.
Baptism was a way of understanding and sharing human frailty without sharing in the sinful nature of humanity. Thus God can understand the pain, suffering, anxiety, sadness, and all the negative things human world goes through. How can you redeem a world if the redeemer does not know what he is redeeming one from?
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are-yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:15-16, NIV).
Baptism is a call to righteousness:
At baptism God claims us publicly. He calls us publicly to live a righteous life. This is what he intended for his Son and so shall all who are baptized. This is what the proverb says about a righteous man. “The lord is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous” (Prov: 15: 29)
Baptism is a call to Spiritual Security:
At baptism when a person called into righteous God is calling him into a strong tower of safety. “The name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous run into it and are safe” (Prov: 18: 10)
Baptism is a call to Boldness:
Through baptism one is called to stand up boldly in the eyes of this world. Regardless of what happens to oneself, to speak the truth, to live the life to be kind and just.
“The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion”. (Prov: 28: 1)
Baptism is a call to Shine forth like God’s own child.
“The righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father” (Matt: 13: 43)
How did Christ live this righteousness?
“a bruised reed he will not break,
and a dimly burning wick he will not quench;
he will faithfully bring forth justice.”
He will not grow faint or be crushed
until he has established justice in the earth;
and the coastlands wait for his teaching.
Here is our call
Do not again break those who are already broken. There are lots of broken hearted around us. Broken by sickness, poverty, pain, loneliness, abandonment and sinfulness. They are already broken and marginalized. They don’t need to be broken again. There are a lot of people out there who are marginalized by their personalities, spiritualities, orientations, and others over which they have no control and is inherent. Their dimming flame of life is the light you share. Do not dim it and make their lives dark again.
Baptism of Christ entrusted us with certain challenges.
1. Through baptism we are called to become a miracle working people. Miracle is the ability to see the obvious and present. It is not the ability to see the extraordinary. Miracle working people are those who can make others see what is present, here and now, so that one can live today.
2. Through baptism we are called to remove the blindness in ourselves and others. Blindness is a state of mind rather than a state of body. Blind people can see better sometimes. They hear you and see you through without seeing your figure.
3. Through baptism we are called to bring out the prisoners, including ourselves from the bondages of sin, fear, guilt, anger, un-forgiveness, self-righteousness. Prisons are always self made. There are no prisons outside of ourselves. Nelson Mandela was a free man in his jail cell for 25+ years. When he became a free man he was able to give freedom to thousands of others. Thus freedom is within. Prisons are those feelings that we hold on to for dear life, so that we can scorn at someone else.
4. Through baptism we are called to give freedom to those who are sitting in the dungeon of self-righteousness.
5. Through baptism we are called to bring light into the dark corners of people’s lives.
© 2007: Rev. Jos Tharakan. Requires permission to reproduce. Email: fathersjos at gmail.com