Mark 1:7-11

What is the most important day of your life? For some it is the day of marriage, for others it is the day when they found the person of their dreams, for others it is the day of birth, but undoubtedly for us as Christians it is the day of our Baptism.  From that day we are children of God and heirs of heaven.

The people throng to hear John, but he redirects their focus to the one who is coming. John identifies that one as more powerful than himself. John says that he is unworthy to untie the thong of the sandals of the one who is to follow, he is saying that the social distance between him and the one who is to come “is greater than that between a master and a slave”. The point is not John’s insignificance, but Jesus’ overwhelming significance. After centuries of prophet-less, spirit-less history, John promises that Jesus will baptize them with the Holy Spirit.

“Immediately coming up from the water” indicates that Jesus was down in the water. That fact, combined with the meaning of the Greek word, baptizo (dipped or immersed) suggests immersion baptism.

The purpose of Jesus’ baptism, in Mark, is to establish his identity as the Son of God. “Jesus saw the heavens parting, and the Spirit descending on him like a dove”. In Mark’s Gospel, only Jesus sees the vision of the torn-apart heavens and the Spirit, and presumably he is also the only one to hear the voice “You are my Son, the Beloved, with you I am well pleased.”

Isaiah’s prayer is “that you would tear open the heavens and come down” (Isaiah 64:1). at Jesus’ baptism, God answers Isaiah’s prayer. Then Jesus listens to his Father’s voice. In the first verse of Mark’s Gospel, we learned that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Now God confirms Jesus’ identity as Son—God’s beloved Son—a Son whose faithfulness has pleased the Father.

~Fr. ChescoBaptism of the Lord