Thoughts for the Day

Sunday, 9th January 2022: The Baptism of Jesus

Mark 1 John the Baptist Jesus Baptism

Reading : Verses from Mark, Chapter 1

Jesus Baptism

John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. He proclaimed, ‘The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.’

In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.’

(Church in Wales Lectionary, New Revised Standard Version)


The three Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) cover similar stories about the life of Jesus and all three mention the baptism of Jesus. John's Gospel is slightly different. There are some important things to note about Mark's account. First, he has no story about Jesus' birth, so this is the first we see of Jesus in his Gospel. Then we are told that Jesus comes from the somewhat despised village of Nazareth in north-east Galilee. This is seen as a fairly pagan area and for Mark indicates his humble beginnings for it might have been expected that the Messiah might have come from somewhere like Jerusalem. Finally we see him joining all the crowds of people who come to repent their sin and be baptised in the Jordan. It's also worth noting that this river is not the sacred river revered by Christians today. Indeed, the first written account of the Law of Moses says it is too polluted for use as a place to carry out religious purification rites.

Jesus comes to John to be baptised not because he is guilty of sin, but to identify himself with the people he has come to help, and to be adopted by God for his mission. Jesus has made the decision to take up God's work, but he also needs the power to do that work. The seal of approval is given through the words from on high, and the power is given through the Spirit which appears in the form of a dove. The 30 year old Jesus is now ready to carry out his Father's work of calling the people back to Himself.


Heavenly Father,
whose Son was baptised
by John in the river Jordan
to symbolise the beginning of His ministry
and His commitment to Your work,
may we remember our own baptism
and recommit ourselves to You
at the beginning of this New Year.

Follow Up Thoughts

Jesus was a Jew and we cannot understand Christianity without understanding Judaism, so if you're feeling keen you might like to look up this site for young people that gives a good picture of what is important to Jews about their faith:

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