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Genesis 1:1–5; Acts 19:1–7; Mark 1:4–1
Approximately 70% of the earth is covered by water. Around 3% of that is readily drinkable. On average, a human is 60% water. Depending on weather and health, a human can survive 2–7 days without additional liquid.
We all know water is important. Even those of us whose water only habits are lackluster understand that we need liquids to keep our bodies going. There are those that are so concerned about their water habits that they have apps that remind them to drink water.
Other than a few desert cultures, people bathe using water.
From an ancient perspective, water (deep waters, like oceans, especially) also represented death. When we think about it (even today), the depths of the ocean have the air of death and fear often because we are unable to see below the surface.
As a sign of repentance and/or the fulfillment of a vow or for other requirements of the purity laws, a bath (or mikveh) was (and still is) performed to fulfill ritual cleanliness.
Part of the path of a Christian is being baptized. This is to show, in symphony with the mikveh cleanliness, that what was unclean (the old person, the person separated from God) is now clean and reconciled.
Yet, the most mysterious baptism is Jesus’. The Perfect One didn’t need cleansing. The Son of God didn’t need to be reconciled to the Father (God). The water of baptism brings change. Jesus didn’t change, though it could be argued that Jesus’ ministry truly did not begin until after he was baptized.
The other change is a “handing-off”. John the Baptist could be (and probably should be) viewed as the last Old (or First) Testament prophet. This “old school” prophet “passes the torch” from the way of the Law to the revealed way, which is Jesus.
- It is not “evangelical” or “Church of the Nazarene” to remember (i.e., observe the anniversary of) our baptisms. For such a significant event, why do you think that is?
- Other than your own, what is the most significant baptism story that you remember? What made it powerful?
- Why do you think it is important to and for “the church” (thus, all believers) to remember Jesus’ baptism?
Jesus, as your testimony of your humility, you were baptised by your own creation. May your humility guide us into your truth, and away from the truth of the world. Amen.