The Baptism of Jesus – Matthew 3 13 17
1. Introductory prayer
God the Father, your love for me is the love of a father for his child. And you give me Jesus for my brother! Through Jesus, you give me dignity, but I am forgetting it and bow to those who cannot provide it, at most, they take it away. I ask, that together with Jesus I dive into your baptismal water, which purifies me and always gives me a new dignity.
2. Reading – Listening: The Gospel according to Matthew 3,13−17
Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”
But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.”
Then he consented. And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, »This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.«
3. Thoughts on the Gospel
” Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him.”
- The Baptism of Jesus. He went in the same line as all the sinners; he stepped into the water, which washed the human sin. Thus he became a part of our misery.
- He walked over to where the man is the lowest, in the mud. That he can pull us out, he went himself into it.
- He loved us so much, that he was not afraid of dirt.
- The Church Fathers were saying that God became a man so that we can become divine, and added that He could not free something, which has not been previously absorbed by Him. Jesus therefore had to go right to the bottom, in our dirt.
“And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him«
- As the curtain in the temple after Jesus’ death, so was the heaven torn apart. What was like a wall between God and man, it is now ruined, forever. Man can be now reunited with our Heavenly Father and live in his presence.
“And he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him”
- This is reminiscent of the time of the Great Flood, when the dove announced the salvation.
- It showed the earth, where life was again possible. All mankind from Adam to Jesus’ baptism, is similar to the Great Flood.
- Now the solution has arrived. Earth, tortured by thorns, suffering and damnation, infertile land, which fed man by suffering until his death. The earth, which threw the man into the world to kill him and let sink in his sins, this earth is now with the birth of Christ, a new heavenly womb, which will give birth for a new nation for God, peace and eternal life.
And behold, a voice from heaven said, »This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.«
- When we get dirty with our sins and the sins of others, we tend to feel less loved and accepted.
- With the Baptism of Jesus it was different. The moment he took the sins of the world, he heard that He is the Father’s beloved Son.
- He did not lose anything in solidarity with us in taking the evil on his shoulders.
Let us remain with one of the words from the Gospel: John would have prevented him, saying,
“I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.”
- When Jesus bent his head before John, he thus answered a big question: Who is the most righteous?
- Man in his heart always praises himself and has difficulty to praise the justice and goodness of another.
- In the baptism of Jesus is completely opposite.
- Christ, the most righteous, is placed before John, a sinner, and humbly bows his head to be baptized.
With this gesture, He gave the man the ability that previously did not have, the possibility of subordination to someone who is less righteous the himself.
This subordination is the beginning of new righteousness. In baptism, Jesus has given us the best medicine against a serious diseases – arrogance, pride, conceit, self-importance.
Man has a hard neck. Christ came to soften the hardness of our neck. His gesture is a divine oil, which we can put on our neck. True, He did not need this. But we need it.
Jesus revealed to us what is good for us. The baptism of Jesus is the beginning of his working. With a gesture of subordination He showed what should be the foundation of each of our actions.
Our dignity is in the fact that we give it to our neighbor. Here in Jordan, and later in the washing of the feet, the Lord bends, like a slave, under the hand of John the Baptist, in order to erase the sins of a man, who did not want to kneel under the hand of God.
4. Meditation – thinking
About everything I have read and what has touched me, I am thinking now. I let my thoughts also touch my heart. Think: ·
- With what kind of actions do I step with Jesus in the baptismal water? And then out of if?
- I let the the words of our God shine on me: “ This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.. / This is my beloved daughter, with whom I am well pleased..” You can take also this for meditation or even for a whole day.
- How can invite Jesus in my actions to keep the dignity of people with whom I meet?
5. Personal Prayer
In the next moments of silence, I talk about of this with Jesus. I tell him what I think, what I feel, what I want. I ask him for the grace that I need for … (make your conversation with God)
6. Contemplation – Quiet moment with God
Now I let silence to be in me. I am simply present in God, as He is quietly present in me.
Perhaps from this silence I hear God’s speech, which invites me perhaps in thanksgiving and worship, or to open myself and accept him in my path life and work, maybe He gives me the courage to continue searching for…
When I walk into a personal relationship with God, he changes me, makes me more loving and encourages me to the concrete action, which is….. (write down your insights for concrete action)
8. Prayer at the end
God the Father, in your love you accept me for who I am. However, my weakness keeps me away, so that I forget that I am yours. Follow me when I am taken away every day, so that I know how to get into your river and repeatedly hear your beloved voice that guides me.
9. Review of my prayer meditation or reflection
This is my view on what was happening in me at the time, I spent praying. In my reflection, I can help myself with the following questions:
- How was I feeling when I started praying?
- What happened during the prayer?
- What feelings and thoughts could I detect in myself?
- How did I feel at the revelations, which I had during my prayer?
- What did I learn about myself, about God, about his attitude towards me and others and me to him and others?
- How did I finish my prayer?
- What did I receive for my everyday life?
- In the end, I can write the lessons, findings and insights. I can write also, where I had problems, they may have great value in learning about my relationship and myself with God. They can also help to find a more appropriate way of prayer for me.
- Then I thank the Holy Trinity. If I pray with my family or in the community, friends, I can share with them what I felt in this prayer. By prayer for one another, you can support yourself throughout the week.
Lectio divina meditations are published and adapted with permission from the Jesuits home – ignacijevdom.si