Sunday, January 11, 2009



This is what John proclaimed: “One mightier than I is coming after me. I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

It happened in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized in the Jordan by John. On coming up out of the water he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit, like a dove, descending upon him. And a voice came from the heavens, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”

The history of mankind up to Jesus Christ was mostly a sad sequence of sins and deeply rooted forms of moral perversion. It started with Adam and Eve. Then the situation became ever worse, to the point that God seemed to have no choice but to “purify” the earth through a devastating flood. (See Gn 6-9.)

But even that catastrophic event did not solve the problem, for the inclination to sin was deeply imbedded in the heart of every human being, as the behavior of the youngest son of Noah and the episode of the tower of Babel showed. (See Gn
9:22 and 11:1-4.)

So God ultimately planned to remedy that hopeless situation by establishing that a descendant of Abraham would be the obedient “Servant-Son” who would undo all the wrongs done by men through the centuries. Jesus of Nazareth, as God’s incarnate Son, was this long-awaited Savior.

But why did this sinless Messiah have to undergo the humiliating experience of queuing up with sinners in order to receive John’s “Baptism of Repentance”? Because this also was part and parcel of His mission as “Savior of the world.”

Jesus knew that His mission was to save all
sinners from the slavery of Satan and to reinstate them in the freedom of God’s children. He knew that God’s plan to save sinners required that He should take their sins upon Himself and carry such a crushing weight up to Calvary. Jesus knew all this. And he said “Yes.”

Such mission started in the stable of Bethlehem, but it was in the waters of the Jordan that Christ’s role as “Cross Bearer” of mankind was formally announced by the “Voice” who identified him with the Servant who was to deliver his people through his ignominious death. (See Is 53:12.)

It was on that occasion that Jesus, in the sight of everybody, joined the crowd of sinners who were receiving the Baptism of Repentance from John. It was also on that occasion that God (the “voice from heaven”) declared: “This is my beloved Son. My favor rests on him” (Mt 3:17). That was when his formal “investiture” as “Servant-Son” took place.

Jesus accepted all this in all freedom, with unwavering love, in humble obedience to the will of the Father. And that’s why the Father was well pleased with him. (See v. 17.) He will likewise be pleased with us if we, too, like Jesus, are totally dedicated and determined in fulfilling God’s plan for us.

Euchalette, 11 January 2009
MCPO Box 1820, Makati City 1258, Philippines