BAPTISM OF JESUS. Isaiah. 45; Acts. 10; Mat. 3. 8.01.2017
On Friday, we celebrated the Epiphany of the Lord. The Manifestation of Jesus to people who would ordinarily be precluded from his saving ministry. They came from afar, and like strangers in every respect, the needed guidance, they asked.
Today, we celebrate another great feast in the life of the Lord; namely his baptism, by John, in the River Jordan. See the many significant points of this single event. i). Jesus came to John the Baptist ii) he wanted to be baptized iii).after his baptism, the Heavens opened, a dove came from heaven and rested on him, and a voice spoke. On this day I would like us to look only at the first point of significance.
It strikes me immediately that only on Friday, those who wanted to see Jesus made great efforts and sacrificed much in other to see him, and today, he comes to someone who is surprised and even thinks he ‘should not have come.’ Remember the words of John the Baptists, “…do you come to me? (Math.3:13-17). But he comes not only to John the Baptist. In fact, this is only the beginning of a ‘coming’ that will eventually lead him into the hands of his enemies. See the steps: on Friday, his friends (the wise men) were looking for him so to worship him; his enemy (Herod) was also looking for him, through tricks and murderous outrage to kill him. The child lay somewhere. Did he know what was already going on? Today he begins by coming to his Friends represented by John. Much later his would dismiss his enemy with a wave of hand, ‘go and tell that Fox…’ (Lk. 13:32) until he eventually confronts them and asks; ‘who are you looking for?…i am He! (Jn. 18:4-8). No longer afraid! No longer lying in a Manger! He had grown to the level of knowing that he should not live in fear. This immediately poses a challenge to us to us to live a life free of fear under God.
The first Reading form the Prophecy of Isaiah is clear; the Lord God says he has anointed and sent us a Son who will do his holy Will. He tells us that this Messenger of his will work in silence and quiet not shouting and shuffling the people. He will bring light, life, Justice and Peace, all quietly. But precisely because of this manner of working (in quiet and silence) in a world that trumpets greatness; many people fail each day to recognize him when he comes to them. In fact, for many real life reasons, religious language becomes more problematic. So to say, Jesus is near to you might mean no more than another religious fantasy or ‘none-sense’. He himself says, “I stand at the door and knock, if anyone hears my voice and opens…” (Rev. 3:20). But what does this mean to a Christian sincerely yearning but continually feeling empty? When can he be sure he has heard Jesus knock? Maybe it is not a problem peculiar to our time because Scripture says, he came to his own, but his own did not accept him(Jn.1:11); and in the second reading of today, Peter had to remind his listeners that God had anointed and sent the Messiah to them.
We must as Christians, seek to understand how Jesus interacts with us each day of our lives. Sadly I have come to believe, that while someone can lead another to believe in Jesus, encountering and experiencing him lie completely in the personal realm and depends on the relationship each one has been helped to develop with God, in Jesus Christ.
The good news is, once a person has been able to establish a relationship with Jesus, then can he experience the beauty of life that lies outside of the realm of the natural. At the baptism of Jesus, he experienced an intercourse with God that took away fear and brought him completely under the direction of the Holy Spirit. When we go through this experience ourselves, lives values are reoriented for us, we find a Peace that defies the standards of the word, we have Joy and happiness that are detached from the gains of human achievements; we begin to live under courage that deifies every reason of fear. This will not happen unless we have a conviction and believe in someone greater than ourselves. A life, free of fear, worry and anxiety is one everyone should seek to taste even here on earth.
HELP OTHERS GET TO MEET HIM:
Love cannot be hidden. When you have found it, others will know. It is important for those who are called Christians to help others get to recognize Jesus and meet him. So long as Christians also live under the weight of anxiety, fear and sadness, the power of their testimony is already weakened. We must meet others with such Joy, happiness and Peace of heart that makes them want to know the secret behind such a life in a World filled with reasons for all the ‘Negetives’. Jesus came to John, he went to his enemies, and he comes every day to us in our daily lives: in our pains, in our joy, in our sorrows, in our moments of fear. We will begin by yearning for him. Welcome him to day and have the experience he had at his baptism when the Heavens opened.
SHITYO, Ternenge Isaac.