And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:16-17
John’s baptism of repentance calls people to a way of life that expresses commitment to God. This baptism occurs in the Jordan, the river that played an important role to the people of Israel, they entered into a new communal life to be shaped by God’s will instead of oppressive Egyptian power and punitive wilderness wanderings. Like other players in Biblical history, Jesus receives a call to repent, confesses sin, and commits to God’s will. However, we know that Jesus was without sin. This story of Jesus and his baptism instead focused on the exchange between Jesus and John, and then God’s declaration of Jesus’ identity, which takes center stage. This was a public event that commissioned the ministry of Jesus.
We too are commissioned into ministry through our Baptism and again we reaffirm that commitment during our Confirmation or Affirmation of Baptism.