Epiphany week 2 : John the Baptizer and Jesus’ Baptism

John 1:32-34. John’s experience at Jesus’ Baptism

Our first thoughts on Jesus’ baptism involved his coronation based on the Father’s declaration from Psalms 2. Today we get to understand it from John the Baptizers experience of the event. John was told at some point either before or during the event by the Father ,” He, on who you see the Holy Spirit descend and remain, this is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.” John then says,” And I have seen and bore witness that he is the Son of God.” The Father witnessed to the son,(Matt.3:13-17, Mark 1: 9-11, Luke 3;21-22) and now John witnesses to Jesus. Remember, two witnesses were needed to confirm or reject an event or testimony.

Identity Confusion

John, before his witness said, that he himself didn’t know Jesus. What did he mean? They were cousins. He certainly knew that. I suspect he meant he didn’t know that Jesus was the Son of God as the text indicates by the fact that the Father tells him. Can you imagine the families as they grew up together, ” Your cousin Jesus is a little bit different but he is family.” Yeah, Son of God different!!

The Stumbling Block

Interesting to note is that the Baptizer of the Holy Spirit is John’s way of saying the Messiah, his kingdom and his age,(time of rule) is here. This time was called the Spirit age. For that reason when the Messiah came, the Spirit would be for all. That was understood by every good Jew. It was correlating the Messiah with the idea that he would be the Son of God that was the issue. The messiah would be from the lineage of David. However, he is NOT God. This was the scandalon,( stumbling block) that Jesus presented to the faithful Jew. Consequently, that claim would later cost him his life.

Collect of the Day

Father in heaven, who at the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan proclaimed him your beloved Son and anointed him with the Holy Spirit: Grant that all who are baptized into his Name may keep the covenant they have made, and boldly confess him as Lord and Savior; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

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