By: Alan Harvey
Posted: January 27, 2015
Category: Daily Devotional
“And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.’” Matthew 3:17 (NRSV)
According to The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language we find these meanings of the word “identify.” Three of the five definitions given are “1) To establish the identity of, 2) To ascertain the origin, nature or definitive characteristics of and 3) To associate or affiliate (oneself) closely with a person or group.” In this story of Jesus’ baptism and the practice of baptism in the church we see all three of these definitions applying.
In Matthew chapter 3 verse 5-6a, we read, “Then the people of Jerusalem and all Judea were going out to him [John the Baptist], and all the region along the Jordan and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, ….” Then in Matthew 3:13, we read, Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him.” What Jesus does here is to identify himself with all those going out to be baptized by John. In effect, Jesus identifies with the whole human race. Jesus associates or affiliates himself with all people.
Jesus was baptized by John in the Jordan and when He came up out of the water, the heavens were opened, and the Spirit of God descended like a dove and rested upon Him. “And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” God has spoken! Such a proclamation was not made of the others who were baptized by John in the Jordan. God identifies Jesus by ascertaining the origin, nature and definitive characteristics of Him. Jesus is God’s Son and God is very pleased with what Jesus has done.
At our baptism in the church, whether we are baptized as very young children or later, as older children or adults after having made our own profession of faith, God establishes our identity as children of God and as Christ’s disciples. . God calls us and claims us as God’s own and we are given the name ‘Christian.” In Romans 6 verses 3-4, the Apostle Paul writes, “Do you not know that all of us have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.”
Blessed Lord, we thank You that Jesus identified Himself with the human race at His baptism, that You then identified Him as Your Beloved Son and that we are identified as Christians through the sacrament of baptism. We belong to You and have been called to follow and serve Jesus Christ, in whose name, we pray. Amen.