Friday, January 11, 2013


Dr. He Qi

Sunday ends the Liturgical Christmas season as celebrated in the Church. In the monastery we will take down the Christmas tree in the Chapel, thus ending another wondrous time of year, and beginning a new.

John the Baptist had devoted his life to preparing for the arrival of Jesus. He had focused all of his energy toward this moment.  Yet the very first thing Jesus asked him to do, John resisted. He felt unqualified. He felt unworthy even to unfasten the shoes of Jesus, yet Jesus said John was the greatest of all prophets (Luke 7:28).

Dr. He Qi
John preached a "baptism with water", not of forgiveness but of penance or repentance for the remission of sins (Luke 3), and declared himself a forerunner to one who would baptize 'with the Holy Spirit and with fire' . In so doing he was preparing the way for Jesus. Jesus came to the Jordan River where he was baptized by John. The baptismal scene includes the Heavens opening, the descent of the Holy Spirit, and a voice from Heaven saying, "This is my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased."
Lorenzo Scott- American Primitive

Why did Jesus ask to be baptized? It was obviously part of His mission in coming to earth. Jesus was also endorsing John's ministry of baptism. Jesus was identifying with those who were repenting. He was also setting an example for his followers. He was foreshadowing his death, burial and resurrection,  and He was announcing the beginning of his ministry on earth.

By baptizing Him, John was declaring to all that here was the One they had been waiting for, the Son of God, the One he had predicted would baptize “with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Matthew 3).

In addition, Jesus coming to John showed His approval of John's baptism, bearing witness to it, that it was from heaven and approved by God. This would be important in the future when others would begin to doubt John’s authority, particularly after his arrest by Herod (Matthew 14:3).

Sadao Watanabe-Japan

Daniel Bonnell

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