It seems to me that what Jesus’ baptism meant to Him was that when He found himself in trouble, He would never find himself alone. It meant that even when things went badly, Jesus would still have the Father’s blessing, and the Spirit’s presence. Isn’t that what Jesus’ baptism means to us, too? Isn’t that what our own baptisms mean? That we’re never alone even in the most desolate places? Doesn’t it mean that because God declared Jesus beloved, long before His ministry began, before one miracle took place, God’s love is unconditional? That, likewise, God’s love for us isn’t dependent on us, or on anything we do? That God’s grace doesn’t wash off? That it doesn’t depend on our ability to earn it? That anytime we find ourselves in a hole, Jesus—by the power of the Holy Spirit—is right there with us? Yes, that’s exactly what it means!!
1 But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. 2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. 3 For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in exchange for you. 4 Because you are precious in my sight, and honored, and I love you, I give people in return for you, nations in exchange for your life.
5 “Do not fear, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you; 6 I will say to the north, ‘Give them up,’ and to the south, ‘Do not withhold; bring my sons from far away and my daughters from the end of the earth—7 everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.’”
7 But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Bear fruit worthy of repentance. 9 Do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our ancestor’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. 10 Even now the ax is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 11 “I baptize you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and will gather his wheat into the granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”
13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him. 14 John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 15 But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. 16 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. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”