When Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens opened, and the Holy Spirit descended like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my son, my Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”
By the time of John the Baptist in Israel’s history, people wonder where to look for salvation. If God’s salvation isn’t able to come through the land, or the king, or temple worship, or the law, then how and when will it come? Into this very unsettled state of affairs arrives John the Baptist, who in Sunday’s gospel proclaims the imminent arrival of the messiah.
John insists that salvation is not about him and his labors. Whatever success his ministry enjoys will be a credit to the one who baptizes with fire rather than merely with water.
As Jesus himself comes up out of the baptismal waters, a dove and a voice from heaven affirm that, at long last, this is the one. “Behold my beloved Son, the reliable gateway to salvation!”
What does baptism empower, and how can we live out our baptisms faithfully?