A WORD FROM THE PASTOR
The Turning Point:
Jesus’ baptism by John was a mystical experience that Jesus felt deep within his soul at the crucial turning point of his life. The opening of the Heavens with Holy Spirit, descending as a dove upon Jesus, and the Voice declaring of Him, “This is My beloved Son with Whom I am well pleased,” are God’s revelation to mankind the Mystery that He is Triune. The presence of the Triune God at this baptism, reveals Jesus’ true identity and mission. The Heavens’ opening also indicates that this was a moment of God’s powerful intervention in human history and in the life of His Son. His baptism by John was a very important event in the life of Jesus.
First, it was a moment of decision. It marked the end of Jesus’ private life which had prepared him for his public ministry. Second, it was a moment of identification with his people in their God-ward movement initiated by John the Baptist (quality of a good leader). Third, it was a moment of approval. Jesus might have been waiting for a signal of approval from his Heavenly Father, and during his baptism Jesus got this approval of Himself as the Father’s “beloved Son.” Fourth, it was a moment of conviction. At this baptism, Jesus received certainties (assurances) from heaven about His identity and the nature of His mission: a) He was the “Chosen One” and the “beloved Son of God”; b) his mission of saving mankind would be fulfilled, not by conquering the Romans, but by becoming the “suffering servant” of God, i.e., by the cross. Fifth, it was a moment of equipment. When He descended on Jesus in the form of a dove (symbol of gentleness), the Holy Spirit equipped Jesus with the power of preaching the “Good News” (that God is a loving Father, Who wants to save all human beings from their sins through His Son Jesus), in contrast to the “axe” and “fire” preaching of John the Baptist about an angry God’s judgment on sinners.