“You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased” (Mark 1:11)

This day we celebrate the baptism of Jesus. An age-old question, Why was Jesus baptized with John’s baptism for repentance given that he was sinless? One classical answer is that he was demonstrating solidarity with humanity. There is sin among people. Jesus is one with us, living in our brokenness, even if he has not personally missed the mark. This may be true. However, our readings for this day want to say more. They bring up questions about Jesus and about us. Who is Jesus? Who are we?

Mark tells us the Spirit descended on Jesus (Mark 1: 10). Practically every lection for today makes reference to the Spirit. The compilers of the lectionary gather Spirit stories to associate them with the baptism of Jesus. We hear of everything from the wind (i.e. breath, spirit) of creation in Genesis to the Spirit conferred by the laying on of hands in Acts. The message: Jesus is empowered by the Spirit. This says something about the identity of Jesus.

In our baptism we celebrate our incorporation into Christ. In this solidarity we also are empowered by the Spirit. “You are sealed by the Holy Spirit and marked as Christ’s own forever” (BCP, p. 308).

In Mark a voice from heaven said to Jesus, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased” (1:11). We, who are adopted children of God, are also beloved by God. The baptism of Jesus tells us of his identity. He is the Son of God, beloved by God, empowered by the Spirit to serve and bring forth justice (Isaiah 42:1). Our baptism tells us of our identity. We are the children of God, beloved by God, empowered by the Spirit to serve and bring forth justice.

Look it Up

Read the baptismal vows which indicate that we are empowered to live into our identity (BCP, p. 302-5).

Think About It

By our baptism we are recreated into the image of Christ. During the life of Jesus many noticed his empowerment for service to others, especially in the cause of justice. Do people notice that in us? Are we living into our identity?