Last Monday, we celebrated the Baptism of our Lord, which holds great importance for us as Christians. So, we will reflect on it on this 2nd Sunday in ordinary time.
We are taught that Baptism is the Sacrament that cleans us of Original Sin and brings us into the family of God’s children. We also know that Christ is the sinless Son of God, born by a virgin, and born without original sin. So, why was Christ baptized?
The Baptism of the Lord can be called the Epiphany of the Lamb, the manifestation of the identity of Jesus as the Messiah, the Lamb of God, and the one who will take away the sins of the world. John the Baptist said: “So that He might be manifested to Israel, I came baptizing in water and He who sent me to baptize in water said to me, ‘He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit’ (John 1:30-33). All the gospel writers reported that when all the people were being baptized, Jesus was also baptized, and while He was praying, heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven, “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:16-17, Mark 1:9-11, Lk 3:21- 22). Notice that this phenomenon happened only to Jesus Christ to single Him out as the Messiah, as John the Baptist noted, “I, myself, have seen, and have testified that this is the Son of God” (John 1:34).
Also, by His Baptism, Christ identified with us sinners so that we could gain a rightful place with God through His righteousness. So by His baptism, Christ took on our sinfulness, guilt, punishment, and condemnation so that through baptism, we can be clothed with his sinless life, death, resurrection, and ascension to the Father. Scripture says, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21). Again, Scripture says, “Having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:7).
The baptism of our Lord also turned the baptism of John, a baptism of repentance, into a Sacrament of grace, redemption, and salvation, an admission into the community of God’s people, and a passport and gateway into the kingdom of God. It ended the claim of Judaism and circumcision as the criteria for being a child of God. The Bible says, “Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith (faith in Christ Jesus) who are sons of Abraham…. so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles… (Galatians 3:7-9, 14).
Christ’s baptism also served to reveal the true nature of God as Trinity—Three Persons in one God—the Father who spoke of His Son; the Son who was being baptized and on whose behalf the Father testified, and the Spirit who descended on the Son in preparation for the Father’s testimony.
My friends, the baptism of our Lord is an assurance that we are following the right One, the Lamb of God, the Savior, the Redeemer, the one who died, once and for all, for our sins. What a privilege to know that we, baptized into His death and resurrection, will be raised into everlasting life. To Him be praise, honor, glory, and adoration forever and ever, Amen.