Indeed, in Jesus' baptism, we come to realize that if we are seeking a God we can domesticate, we are not seeking God at all, or Jesus and the Holy Spirit for that matter. A Jesus we can handle is no Jesus at all, and a Spirit we can manipulate is no Holy Spirit, as the Spirit blows where it wills (John 3:8).
When the Holy Spirit descends upon Jesus in baptism, and when God calls out Jesus as Beloved, it is a new ball game, for here is a God who is in solidarity with us in the waters of the Jordan River, and whose own Son submits to baptism, a reminder to us that we too must submit to God in baptism and that we too must align our lives with him.
To be sure, it is a lifelong task to think about God with all the complexity that God is present to us in such moments, just as it was with God in a manger, or an upper room, or a cross. We all are human after all – all too human. In the course of our journeys of faith, we are always looking through what the apostle Paul says is a glass darkly; we don’t see the whole picture (1 Cor. 13:10). It is a stance that requires humility.
And yet, what we receive in our baptism is the full promise of Jesus’ divinity and humanity. We receive the message that we are God’s children, wherever we live, whoever we are. We are children of the Most High, coming up out of the waters of grace.
As we begin a new year, how might you receive the promises of God in your life? How is God calling you to a realignment with Christ? How is the Spirit wanting to remind you that you are a child of God?
Pastor Andy Kinsey