We have had a busy time lately with Advent, Christmas, and New Year’s, and now this week we are going to talk about another important event that happened when Jesus was a little older: His baptism. It was an important event because it shows us that Jesus was God’s Son, God was proud of His Son, and Jesus was ready to begin His earthly ministry. You may or may not remember being baptized yourself, or you may not have been baptized yet. Baptism is a special act where one is sprinkled with water or immersed in water to show that our sins are cleansed, and we are part of God’s family – the church.
In today’s lesson, we are going to hear about how Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River by John the Baptist as told in Matthew 3: 13-17. I hope you remember a little bit about John the Baptist. He was Jesus’ cousin and was telling the people that the Messiah was coming. John was a rather strange looking person with wild hair, clothes made of camel skin, and He ate locust and honey. (Yukk!) He was preaching to the people that they needed to repent of their sins and be baptized. Many, many people were baptized by John in the river there, but one day here came Jesus, and He told John to baptize Him. John didn’t think he was worthy to baptize Jesus, but he did. When Jesus came up out of the water, he saw a dove land on Jesus and give Jesus the gift of the Holy Spirit. Then God’s voice from heaven was heard to say, “This is my Son, whom I love, and with Him, I am well pleased.”
Wow, can you imagine seeing all that happen? Because God Himself spoke and gave Jesus the Holy Spirit, we know Jesus was God’s true Son, and God loved Him. God even said how proud He was of Jesus. Now, Jesus was ready to being His ministry to the people and to us; He was blessed and filled with the Holy Spirit by His Father. From this story in the Bible, we know just how important Jesus is to His Father God and to all of us too.
We all need to be more like Jesus, so our Father God can be proud of us too. As we begin 2020, let’s all try to be better people, so we can feel proud of our own behaviors and then know heaven is proud of us as well. Maybe you can ask about how your church does baptisms and what it means to be part of your church.
Let’s pray. Father God, thank You for sending Your Son Jesus to us and for the sacrament of baptism. Thank You also for giving the Holy Spirit to be upon Him and that we can have the same Holy Spirit fill us today. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
Ann Moody is pastor of Wilkesville First Presbyterian Church and the Middleport First Presbyterian Church.