Today, on the last day of the Christmas season, we celebrate the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. The people came to John the Baptist to be baptised, as a sign of repentance and the forgiveness of their sins. John was such a powerful witness that the people began to believe he might be the Saviour promised by God; so John told them clearly that he was merely the forerunner, sent to proclaim the Saviour’s coming.
Jesus is the Saviour. So why did he come to John for baptism? Because, as Son of God, he had come to share in everything that we experience. Even though Jesus was without sin himself, he was baptised in unity with us.
After Jesus’ baptism, while he was praying, the Holy Spirit came down on him, and he heard the voice of God the Father, telling him, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; my favour rests on you.’ As Jesus began his mission of teaching and healing, he was encouraged by the voice of the Father who had sent him, and filled with the Spirit who would give him strength and guidance for his mission.
In his baptism, Jesus was united with us. In our own baptism, we were united with him. We were filled with the Holy Spirit, and sent out on a mission to the world. By our baptism, we were adopted as children of God, and Jesus is our brother. The words of God the Father are addressed to us, too: you are my beloved – my favour rests on you.