As the crowds gathered along the banks of the Jordan River, Jesus took his place among them. He stood shoulder to shoulder among sinners, tax collectors, prostitutes, adulterers, liars and thieves. All of had come to John to receive a baptism of repentance. As Jesus stepped into the waters, John objected. John knew himself to be a sinner. He too was in need of God’s grace. Jesus, however, came to the Jordan to be joined with humanity in the struggle against sin. Why? To fulfill all righteousness.
Jesus had no need to repent. Still, Jesus is the only one who could emerge from the waters of such a baptism and truly live a God pleasing life. All others, once they came forward out of the waters would again give in to temptation and sin.
Today, there is no longer a baptism for repentance. To be baptized is to receive the grace that comes through Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. Baptism is God’s action, not ours. Instead of Jesus taking is place among sinners, we sinner come to Christ for forgiveness. By the power of the Holy Spirit, the baptized are joined with Christ in his death and resurrection. Through baptism, God makes us his children. Through Baptism, we receive God’s mercy, grace and the promise of eternal life. Why? The answer remains, to fulfill all righteousness.
Prayer: Holy God, thank you for the gift of Holy Baptism, that we may be your children forever. Amen.