Words Stuck in My Head

baptism of jesus

As I’m writing this in my office, I can hear our preschoolers in the room across the hall singing at the top of their lungs: “My God is so GREAT; My God is so MIGHTY; there’s NOTHING my God cannot DO, for YOU!” Yes, they are shouting the words that are in upper case. I love it.

This Sunday, we look at the baptism of our Lord, which is what this picture depicts beautifully. The Holy Spirit descends on Jesus and you can feel the energy emanating from the center where light has been poured down. It feels to me as if the dark blue surrounding the vibrant white is about to be penetrated and overcome. How could it not, with so much energy behind it? It is like the light is being “shouted” into the darkness: “My God is so GREAT; My God is so MIGHTY,” and soon a booming voice from heaven will say, “You are my son whom I love; with you I am well-pleased.”

But why does Jesus need to be baptized? After all, he has not sinned. This question has been wrestled with since the Gospels were written. Even John asks Jesus: “I need to be baptized by you, and yet you come to me?” (Matthew 3:14).

Perhaps the best explanation is that, in choosing to be baptized, Jesus shows us that he identifies fully with us. He doesn’t need forgiveness, but we do. Jesus publicly states that he will stand with those who feel alienated. He will wade into the waters of our messiness, our brokenness, our guilt. He will draw near to all who feel far from God. 

Just after Jesus was baptized, he started his ministry, and for the next three years, he publicly stood by and befriended sinners, scoundrels, and so-called “unworthy ones.” And eventually, he publicly died for them—for us—as well.  

The kids have stopped singing now and all has fallen quiet, but now the song is stuck in my head. I wonder the words of God that boomed over Jesus got stuck in his head as he went about doing his Father’s business. Words that told Jesus how proud his Dad was of him and reminded him that he wasn’t alone.

Being Human connection: God invites us to hear those same words as they are spoken over us. “You are my child whom I love….” I have a tag up on my bulletin board that says, “God is very fond of you.” It’s good to be reminded. I hope that gets stuck in my head all day.

Featured Image: Daniel Bonnell, The Baptism of the Christ with Dove, http://www.BonnellArt.com.

Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

-Luke 3:21-22