The baptism of our Lord Jesus Christ
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Valeriano Avila (The Freeman) - January 13, 2019 - 12:00am

Today is the Feast of the Baptism of our Lord Jesus and for you who have been reading the Bible, you would understand that earlier conversation between our Lord Jesus Christ and John the Baptist who told Jesus that he should be the one to baptize John, but the Lord told John that this was the will of God that things should happen according to his plan. So today’s gospel reading comes from Luke 3:15-16, 21-22. Actually, these are two verses placed in one gospel, but we will explain this to you. So here’s the gospel according to Luke.

 

“5 As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, 16 John answered all of them by saying, ‘I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

“21 Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, 22and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”

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The first part of Luke’s gospel teaches us that the many followers of John came to the wilderness to be baptized by him. Now, remember that Jews go to Jerusalem to worship God in the temple, especially before the Holy of Holies. Most of the devout Jews are expectant of the coming of the Messiah as prophesied by the prophet Isaiah. Hence when they learned that John was baptizing in the Jordan River, they all flocked to have themselves baptized and follow him.

So it was only natural for John’s followers to ask the obvious question whether he was the prophesied messiah come to save Israel. As we all know, the reply of John is what is written in today’s first part of the gospel when John said, “16 John answered all of them by saying, ‘I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

John’s followers where a bit disappointed, but they comforted themselves that John was honest enough to tell them who he really was, and that the expected messiah had already come in their time. It is a fact that John the beloved Disciple and Andrew, were identified as John’s followers who joined the group of our Lord Jesus Christ. Another possible disciple was Philip.

So now we go to the next verse in Luke 3:21-22 when everyone that day was already baptized by John and our Lord Jesus Christ too had been baptized by John when the Holy Spirit appeared in the form of a dove hovering over the head of Jesus then a voice from the heavens declared, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.” As we read in other gospels, certain people thought that it was thunder… but to certain holy men, they truly heard the voice of God and attest to it.

Mind you, the voice of God was heard mostly by prophets or holy men, like how God himself spoke to Moses. So in a way, this was a great and pleasant experience to those people who heard this voice telling them he was pleased with his son Jesus. In the New Testament, this is the first time that the voice of God is heard, the second time was when our Lord Jesus Christ was transfigured in Mt. Tabor and again the voice of God was heard, but our Lord was accompanied by his disciples Peter, James, and John.

So in a way, the Bible reveals to us that God’s voice appeared only twice in the New Testament. In effect, this is one clear-cut proof that our Lord Jesus Christ was truly the Son of God, as it is not himself making this proclamation; rather witnesses saw that God made this revelation himself!

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For email responses to this article, write to vsbobita@gmail.com. His columns can be accessed through www.philstar.com.

JESUS LORD
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