Daily Office Readings for Wednesday of Proper 13: Year 2
“And John testified, ‘I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, “He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.” And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God.” (John 1: 32 – 34)
We have to go to the Gospel of Matthew to witness the baptism of Jesus by John. There was some back-and-forth about who should baptize who. But in the end, John baptized Jesus. (Matthew 3: 13 – 17)
I love the Spirituality of the Gospel of John. Perhaps the Spirit has descended on others before but it was temporary. However, on this man, Jesus, the Spirit remained. John the Baptist is not about building his own reputation, he is about letting the world know that the Savior of the world has come near.
John speaks the truth as best he knows it. He gives great detail explaining that the One who sent him to baptize with water, is the same One who informed him about how to identify the Messiah, the Anointed One, Jesus. He was told that the Spirit would descend on Him, and remain on Him.
We will learn that Jesus and John are cousins but apparently they did not know each other. Well, at least John did not know Jesus except for what God revealed to him. It is quite possible however that Jesus knew in fact who John was. We have no record of Jesus actually baptizing anyone. Yet He baptizes with the Holy Spirit. Perhaps his invitation to follow him, is indeed, the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
In the Service of Holy Baptism, the candidate is asked, “do you desire to be baptized?” Those too young to answer for themselves are presented, and answered for, by their parents and/or sponsors individually. New Christians are baptized in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. After which, they are sealed by the Holy Spirit and marked as Christ’s own FOREVER: The Spirit descends on them and remains, forever. (BCP 303 – 308)
Baptism is one of the many channels on our Christian cable network. Perhaps we don’t visit this channel enough. Our baptism contains a covenant that regulates our Christian life. As the Baptized, we are servants of Jesus, the Jesus we see in all persons, baptized or not. We are servants of the next person we face, in our homes, or on the street. Regardless of who baptized us, we are baptized into the household of God through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Baptism is responsibility, Baptism is enough, and Baptism is Salvation. What does your Baptism mean to you?
Let us hear what the Spirit is saying to and through the saints of God and then ponder anew what the Almighty can do. John