The Baptism of Jesus Christ – Mark 1:7-11 – Meaning and Commentary

1. Introductory prayer

I calm down and I feel the presence of God in me. I ask for the grace of the Holy Spirit to open the word of God, I accept it and allow it to fulfill my mission in me, in order to become more and more what I am in Holy Trinity. Then I ask God for this prayer, in my own words, or with those that are here…

Jesus sanctified the water with his “immersion.” With baptism, we were able to become children of God. Thus we are one with God and the life of God flows through us. Holy Spirit, let us maintain, please, a firm bond, a firm relationship that I may live from the life of God which nourishes me.

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2. Reading – Listening:  – The Baptism of Jesus Christ – Mark 1:7-11 – Meaning and Commentary

7 And this was his message: “After me comes the one more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. 8 I baptize you with[a] water, but he will baptize you with[b] the Holy Spirit.”

The Baptism and Testing of Jesus

9 At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

3. Thoughts on the Gospel – The Baptism of Jesus Christ – Mark 1:7-11 – Meaning and Commentary

Purification rites in water were quite common and also a common daily practice among the Jews at that time (Mark 7: 1-4). In the Greek translation of the Old Testament, the word baptize means immersion, which results in permanent change.

John the Baptist baptizing Jesus

John knew very well who the Messiah was and that Jesus was above him, yet he was called to prepare for his coming (Mark 1: 7-8). He knew very well that Jesus did not need baptism in the remission of sins, for he was without them. Therefore, he also defended him from being baptized (Lk 3: 3). Yet Jesus wants to accept baptism as if he were one of the sinners.

Thus he surrendered himself entirely to the plan of salvation for all mankind. Out of love, he accepted our sins to set us free and give us his filial life with his Father. The baptism of Jesus is the acceptance and beginning of his redemptive ministry, described by Isaiah in chapter 53, and the announcement of his redemptive “baptism” on the cross.

Baptism in the Spirit points to the eschatological baptism foretold by the prophets and is associated with the fire of judgment and sprinkling (Ezek. 36:25). Jesus receives baptism, which becomes the source and sacrament of all Christians. The Christian community is founded as a gift of the Holy Spirit.

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The open heavens were seen not only by Jesus but also by John, for it was not a personal revelation given only to him. The heavens literally opened as if the heavens had broken (Isa. 63: 19b). Thus, after the time of separation between God and humanity, a completely new period of the relationship between them begins.

When Jesus stepped out of the river, he immediately saw the heavens opening and the Holy Spirit descending on him. In this way, the evangelist Mark shows that Jesus is the Son of God and that the Holy Spirit dwells in him. From that moment on, the Holy Spirit is here. He opened a direct path that unites man with God.

With the coming of Jesus, a relationship is established between God and humanity. It is a direct relationship between the Father and the Son.

The evangelist Mark writes down the words of the Father that came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased..” In this way, he intentionally recalls passages from the Old Testament, thus emphasizing the importance of many aspects that the word of God has. Among other things, he recalls Isaiah 42: 1 “Behold, my servant, whom I uphold; I have laid my spirit upon him, and he will give justice to the nations. ”

The fact that the voice from heaven calls him “chosen” and “loved” further reinforces the unique relationship between the Father and the Son, which is so special that it overshadows all previous human relationships with God.

These words of the Father reveal his perfect affection for the Son, in whom he finds joy. In them, we can also see the joy of the Father over us, who, after baptism, we are “clothed” in Christ and became his sons/daughters in him. We are invited to enter into this joy of the Father in his only begotten Son and all his adopted sons and “stepdaughters,” to live him and to bring him to others.

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:

  • I go over the passage again and immerse myself in the water with Jesus. I observe Jesus and what is happening, me too.
  • When I immerse myself in Christ in baptism, I become a child of God. God rejoices in His children. If I allow God to rejoice over me, what view does that open up to me?

5. Personal Prayer

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In the next moments of silence, I talk about 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 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…

7. Action

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

Thank you for the baptism, good God. Thank you that I was able to become a daughter of God, a son of God. Thank you for being your beloved child! And thank you that this relationship of ours is alive and you are sending me so that I live and act inspired by this relationship.

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 about 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. With a 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

Text from the Bible – New International Version (KJV)

Let us remain close in the same prayer! May the Lord bless you abundantly!