Main Text: Matthew 3:13-17 (Isaiah 42:1-9; Acts 10:34-43)
Baptism was not invented by the Christian Church. In fact, baptism was practiced well before John the Baptist entered the scene. Baptism was a ritual cleansing in which one generally descended seven steps into the water symbolizing leaving the brokenness of the world and returning to creation. Immersion was witnessed by a priest to ensure that even the hair was completely covered. Then, upon rising from the water, one was considered a new creation. John wanted Jesus to witness his immersion, rather than he witness for Jesus. It turns out that there was an even greater witness to Jesus baptism. As the heavens parted and a dove descended, God the Father witnessed to Jesus as a new creation. His life from that moment on confirmed and modeled that new life. This reading from Isaiah 42 comes after Israel’s failure and fall from grace. None the less, Israel is still chosen by God and invited to be whom God called them to be. God is offering to do new things. The reading from Acts reminds us that our call is not about who we are. Our call is to witness to who God is in and through our lives. God claims us also in baptism and invites us to follow Christ and mold our lives to this new thing God has done through Jesus. Consider your call. How are you witnessing to Jesus Christ in your life? Where would God say that God is well pleased with your life and where do you need to return to your baptism and reform into the creation God embodied in Jesus Christ?