Luke 3:15-17, 21-22
Jesus Is Baptized
By Dr. Carol J Miller
John the Baptizer was the one who was telling the grown ups what they needed to do to be ready for Jesus’ coming. Does anyone remember one of the things John said? [Feed poor, share coat, don’t cheat anyone, etc. Respect all answers]. John was Jesus’ cousin. John knew that Jesus had been sent by God. John also knew that by listening to what Jesus said and by watching how Jesus treated people, that we could see what God was like and how God feels about us. John had told the people that Jesus was a much better person and a much more important person than John was.
Now John had been preaching at the Jordan River, which is a very big river in Israel. How many of you have ever been in a river? [Acknowledge all answers. If you have been in a river, say something about it]. John was baptizing grown ups. They wanted to be baptized to show that they were sorry for the wrong things they had done and they were now ready to do things that made God happy. Baptizing people was a new thing then. John was one of the first people to baptize.
How many of you have been baptized [Have you been baptized]? If you’re not sure, look now at your mom or dad. If they are nodding, you have been. If they are shaking their heads, then you have not yet. Our baptism is not the same as what John was doing. When we are baptized, one thing we are doing is joining the Church that Jesus started. John’s baptism was just for grown ups who were sorry for some of the things they had done.
So John was probably shocked and very surprised when he saw Jesus coming to be baptized. Jesus had not done wrong things! Jesus was the one who showed us the right way to live! Then why would Jesus want to be baptized? [When I count to three, everyone show me what John’s face might have looked like when he saw Jesus coming: one, two, three.]
Jesus never said why he came to be baptized. But something very important and very amazing happened when Jesus was baptized. Listen to this! God—did you hear that?—God came to Jesus—like a dove, a beautiful white bird—and God’s voice said to Jesus, “You are my Son, the beloved; my favor rests on you.” Wow and wow! Jesus was extra special to God, extra specially loved, and God said so! And, when God called Jesus God’s “Son”, it meant that Jesus was like God. Now that is a special baptism!
So if we watch how Jesus acts, how Jesus treats people; and if we listen carefully to what Jesus says and ask God to help us do what Jesus says, why, it’s the same as hearing and doing what God wants. This is one thing the people in the Church know—that Jesus shows us God. And now you know it too!
Scripture quotations from the World English Bible
Copyright 2012, Richard Niell Donovan