9 At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
12 At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness, 13 and he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.
Whenever I read this text I wonder, “Why does Jesus submit to baptism? He’s perfect. He isn’t spiritually unclean. He doesn’t need to repent of anything. If it’s about coming under the authority of the Kingdom, well, He’s the King for goodness sake! Is He just giving us something to imitate?” That is part of it, but the main thing I see is Jesus being obedient to the Father. He is showing us that the way to express love for God is to submit full to the Father’s authority. Jesus truly shows his Sonship through obedience, and the Father honors that obedience in as clear and public a way possible: Speaking a word of exuberant love. You are MY child, and I am so proud of you
I am a person who does a lot of thinking about faith and obedience. I hear in this a call to do obedience. To stop asking, “what act of mercy would you have me do today, Lord?” and instead seize upon any merciful and humbling act of submission that comes my way. Remembering that at my baptism the Spirit spoke to my heart saying, “I am so proud of you!” I want to obey Him more and more in response to His loving pride.
Morgan Murray, Pastor
Walnut Creek Presbyterian