Gospel Mk 1:7-11
A God who comes down to meet us
This is the very beginning of Mark’s Gospel, who unlike both Luke and Matthew, leaves out the stories of the Nativity which we have spent the last few weeks meditating on.
Instead, Mark begins with the Baptism of Jesus by John in the River Jordan and this particular episode is just the first of a number of mysterious and confounding acts undertaken by Jesus over the course of His public ministry.
Why did Jesus seek to have himself baptised?
John’s baptism was a baptism of conversion and repentance, and yet we can be sure that Jesus was in no need of either of those things.
What we learn in this humble act of receiving baptism is that through Jesus, God comes down to meet me where I am. He has no aversion at all at the prospect of entering into the depths of our failings and mistakes, our selfishness and sinfulness.
Jesus’s baptism was, in essence, a prefiguring of the death he was to experience on the cross just three short years later – taking on the punishment due to all human sinfulness of all time.
We are called to emulate Jesus, not in the great miracles that he performed, but in his lowly acts of service and humility. In receiving this baptism he was accepting my guilt.
What can we learn from this?
Like John, I should prepare for the coming of the Lord in my life – to that end, what are those things that act as hindrances on the path? What are those crooked bits that need to be made straight?