The Baptism of Jesus
1 The beginning of the Good News, of Jesus Christ the Son of God. As it is written in the prophet Isaiah: 2 “See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, Who will prepare your way; 3 The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the LORD Make his paths straight’.”
4 John the Baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 And the people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. 6 Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he at locusts and wild honey. 7 He proclaimed, “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. 8 I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” 9 In those days, Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. 11 And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”
Most of us can probably recite the story of Jesus’s baptism. As we come across it in the book of Mark, it truly feels like the exciting launching point of Jesus’s ministry. But there’s also that one small contradiction we can’t quite overlook.
John the Baptist proclaims to the crowd that he is not worthy enough even to untie Jesus’s sandals. And yet, not long after, Jesus comes to John to be baptized. John seems to do so without hesitation, without regard to his unworthiness, and the whole thing pleases God so much, He speaks from the heavens.
It’s a striking example of a sort of role switch, where he who is greater becomes less, and he who is less becomes greater, even if for a brief moment. It is not the last (or even the first) time that Jesus shows humility during his time on earth. So the baptism of Jesus not only starts his ministry, but it also demonstrates an example of his character. He is willing to step down, or step back, to accomplish things in order and to show us how we should act, too.
What other examples do we see in Jesus’s life and ministry where the roles are seemingly reversed? What examples do you see of this in everyday life? How can “switching roles” accomplish God’s purposes?
Author: Andrea Burton