baptism of Jesus by John

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The feast of the baptism of Jesus by John is a fitting conclusion to the celebration of  the Christmas  season as in Jesus ministry it is the beginning of his public teaching. The baptism is a turning point in both the liturgical year and in the life of Christ. In Johns life too it marks a turning point as it was John that said he must decrease so that the one who after him might increase. It is an epiphany as was the visit of the Magi where God reveals himself to man. The clouds part, the dove descends and the voice says “this is my beloved son who I am well pleased.” The clouds open signifying the opening of Heaven to earth. In this opening can one not also thinking of the tearing of the temple curtain at the crucifixion, that veil that separated the innermost portion of the temple? The dove descends, the holy spirit as the dove descends on the waters after the great flood telling Noah that the flood of destruction is over. Jesus is baptized in water, the water of ritual cleansing;  though here it is Jesus that cleanses the water making it holy.It is here that Jesus accepts our sins to make us clean. Water contains important symbolism to the ancients and to us. It is a necessity for life, it many times is an instrument of destruction. In the flood it destruction is the result of mans disobedience. In the red sea it destroys the enemies of Gods chosen people. Water signifies death,in our baptism it signifies our death to sin and our birth to a new life in Christ.Water has this duel role as an instrument both of cleansing and of rejuvenation. We can drown in it, yet will also die without it.After being plunged into water, the first thing we do is gasp for air to restore our life. After a long journey in a desert, what is more refreshing that a drink of water. Moses strike a rock and brings forth water that renews the Hebrews faith in God during their long journey.That same water that has the power to destroy us is an absolute necessity to us. Jesus calms those waters that can lead to our destruction, he too is “the living water” that brings everlasting life.In a sense for Christians this Baptism of Jesus by John is also a bit symbolic of our crossing of the Red Sea. Here we begin our journey; to not the promised land, but towards the Kingdom of God

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