Newsletter Article

January 8, 2017

The Power of Water

Dcn. Garry Salguero

Water is one of the most powerful elements on the face of the planet. The flow of water over the ground for an extended period of time will result in a riverbed and possibly, over a significant enough period of time, a river valley.

Humans can only survive approximately three days without water. We need it for life.

In the waters of baptism we are connected to God, to our community, and to all of salvation history. In the waters of baptism we are infused with the Spirit to do God’s will.

Jesus submitted himself to baptism, despite the fact that he was sinless (verse 15). We see that this is no ordinary baptism (verses 16-17).This baptism is different. In it we get a clear sense of Who Jesus is as the Father acknowledges Him from the heavens as “my Son” (verse 17). It is a profoundly important moment as Jesus is about to encounter the testing in the wilderness (4:1-11) and the beginning of his public ministry (4:12-17). We hear the affirmation of Jesus and witness the preparatory act for completing the tasks before him. And we also hear God saying to anyone being baptized, “I love you,” “You are mine,” and “I am pleased with you.” Such powerful affirmations to receive from our Creator!

Jesus submits to this baptism as a fulfillment of God’s righteousness (verse 15). Some believe this act was not only a modeling of submission and a consecration to his coming mission, it was also an act of being in “solidarity with sinners.” Standing in solidarity with those who often feel unworthy of God’s love and grace is a powerful act that is vividly portrayed in this text and throughout the ministry of Jesus.

Whatever the practice or mode, no matter how much water is used, and regardless of the location of the event -- the Spirit, like the dove descending on Jesus in Matthew, is present in the act of baptism and infusing the baptized with the possibilities of a new beginning to follow Jesus and do God’s will (verse 16). And that is more powerful than any flowing water on the face of the Earth.

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