The Launching of Jesus Messiah

PRAYER OF CONSECRATION

Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. 

Jesus, I belong to you.

I lift up my heart to you.
I set my mind on you.
I fix my eyes on you.
I offer my body  to you, as a living sacrifice

Jesus, I belong to you. 

Praying in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, amen. 

Luke 3:21–23 (NIV)

When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph,

CONSIDER THIS

We know not next to nothing but nothing at all about Jesus’s life between twelve and about thirty years old. Why is this? There have been all sorts of interlopers spinning up fanciful stories of the boy wonder Jesus that lacked what we call canonical credibility. (i.e., see the so-called Gospel of Thomas) We actually know nothing. My theory on why: there was nothing to report. Jesus’s life growing up was so utterly ordinary it didn’t merit reporting. Notice how today’s text opens up

When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too.

It was just another ordinary day. I suspect Jesus had no sense when he woke up it would be anything other than such. He was doing life as ordinary Jesus. He knew he was special, but it wasn’t by virtue of any track record. He knew he knew Abba Father in a special way and yet he had known that from an early age so he likely didn’t consider it unique. Who knew why he was at the Jordan River that day. Had he come out to see his cousin he had been hearing about? Was he ready to join the movement to spread scriptural holiness throughout the land? Was he invited by friends and seized by the message that day on the shores? We don’t know. Here’s what we do know.

When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too.

It was not a special ceremony for Jesus. Jesus was just like everyone else there entering the water for John’s baptism that day. We know nothing about anyone else’s baptism experience. We just get the sense a bunch of people were responding to the prophetic word of God ala Isaiah in John’s presence and preaching that day and had entered the water to be baptized. What happened next turned out to be one of the greatest moments in all of time and eternity. It was an epiphany moment; a revelation from heaven on earth; a literal opening or tearing or rending open of the heavens. See for yourself:

And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

More than any other biblical text and story, this one has shaped, changed, and transformed my life. For the past twenty years, every single morning—while I am in the shower no less—I immerse myself in these words. It’s part of my daily wake-up call. I speak them aloud as though coming straight from the mouth of God, the voice coming from heaven and winged by the Spirit straight into my mind and heart. 

I say, “Abba Father,” and he says,

“John David, you are my son, my beloved; with you I am well pleased.”

The miracle of the baptism of Jesus is how he transforms John’s ritual baptism of repentance into a relational baptism of complete affirmation, acceptance, and unconditional love. Jesus invites us to receive the blessing just as he did and does. God the Father gives Jesus the performance evaluation before the job even begins. Jesus shared his baptism with all who would follow him. This is the launch pad for the public purposes of God in our lives. A gifted identity opens the way for a gifted vocation in the world. It is the death of the striving life and the birth of the surrendered life; the beginning of the awakened life. 

Every morning is a fresh awakening into the full embrace of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as the word of God washes over us with our true identity, our true self in Christ and the invitation to step into our real life for another day. 

I invite you into this practice of the baptism of Jesus. 

THE PRAYER

Our Father, we keep praying that the eyes of our hearts may be enlightened in order that we may know you better, that I might become truly humble; which is to awaken to the person you imagined when you fashioned my inmost being and that I might rise up into the real life for which you created me. Forgetting what is past, I press on toward this high calling. But for today, let me find myself in the baptism line, right behind Jesus, because after Jesus those waters were never the same again. They are alive with the life of the Spirit. I want to live a consecrated life of simple obedience and extravagant love. Show me the next small thing. Come Holy Spirit, I am ready to move with you. Praying in Jesus’s name, amen.

THE QUESTION

Will you consider this practice of the baptism of Jesus? It is not particularly emotional and far from ecstatic. It is a matter of fact rendering and receiving of the word of God in living remembrance. Word and Spirit—this is how Jesus transforms us. Are you ready to grow deeper into a gifted identity rather than the endless slavery of self constructing it as you go? 

THE HYMN

The hymn today is “Glorify Thy Name” another simple one you will pick up fast if you don’t already know it. 

For the Awakening,
J. D. Walt

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WHAT IS THIS? Wake-Up Call is a daily encouragement to shake off the slumber of our busy lives and turn our eyes toward Jesus. Each morning our community gathers around a Scripture, a reflection, a prayer, and a few short questions, inviting us to reorient our lives around the love of Jesus that transforms our hearts, homes, churches, and cities.

Comments and Discussion

3 Responses

  1. I believe that Jesus’s baptism is the Biblical picture of what takes place in our own baptism. We know from Paul’s words in Philippians 2:6-8 that up to this point, that Jesus while without sin, exhibited no supernatural powers because he had emptied himself of his divine prerogatives. It was at his baptism that he was imbued with the power of the Holy Spirit to enable him to achieve his divine mission. I believe the same is true for us as well. His humility in preparation for the filling of the Holy Spirit is our example to follow.

  2. John the Baptist demonstrated the process of awakening from the striving life to the surrendered life. “He must increase, but I must decrease.”

    My life isn’t about who I am but about who my Creator, the great I AM, is. His identity has captivated me! May the great I AM glorify His name, not ours.

    Remembrance of Jesus from the past without remembering, experiencing, and surrendering to His presence in the present is to forget and abandon His Good News that “I am with you always.” To miss the dynamic now of Bible verses and settle instead for merely recalling their former events and proclamations is a tragedy. (I love how you bring them alive now, JD!)

  3. Good morning! When I read this passage, I think of the Jewish tradition of Mikvah- the bath of cleansing, which was often used when beginning a new calling or purpose. I feel Jesus was “led by the Holy Spirit”, as He was when He went into the wilderness to be tempted, to go to John for this “launching” of His ministry. He was showing us that to follow Him means to follow the Holy Spirit’s direction. So John, thinking of his baptism for repentance, was horrified when Jesus, Who needed no repenting, came up to him. But Jesus made it clear it was for God’s purpose, for righteousness, as in doing everything required. As always, tantalized by how much the Bible leaves OUT as it leaves IN! Have a blessed day in the Lord, Brother!

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